Last updated on November 11th, 2019 at 03:30 am
The best POS systems for food trucks will normally include solid inventory tracking, a reliable payment processing center, menu management, and analytics.
Why Get A POS System For Your Food Truck?
If you’re a food service entrepreneur with a tight budget, a food truck may be the perfect startup.
Food trucks carry a lot less cost than brick and mortar restaurants.
However, a lot of the same principles that you need to know when running a restaurant also apply to food trucks.
Choosing a POS system that’s right for your business is especially important for food trucks. The right system will keep you organized and ahead of the competition with data analytics, real-time menu updates, and fast ordering and payment processing.
The wrong system may just have you wasting valuable time and money on overly expansive features.
The 6 Best Food Truck POS Systems Reviewed
Square POS can be set up and used immediately. Plus, it has no monthly fee. It comes with a free card reader, so all your truck needs to start taking orders is an iPad. Square is accepts offline payments, making it the best point of sale system for small or startup food trucks.
Square is one of the few food truck POS systems with free software. Beyond that, there is 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction flat-rate payment processing with no minimums. Basically, you’ll only be paying for what you use.
This system also comes with a free magnetic stripe card reader so your truck can start accepting payments right away. Additional readers are $10 each.
Hardware requirements to use Square are minimal. All you need is an iPad, iPhone, or Android Smartphone. A new iPad costs less than $400 if you find a good deal.
Other than that, chip readers are available for $49, iPad stands for $119 – $129, and several types of receipt printers for $300 to $400. You can opt for a full POS hardware kit with an iPad mini, stand, receipt printer, and contactless card reader.
Square has all the most important features food truck businesses need, like the option to take orders and payment online, at your window, or in-line. Trucks can create custom menu items and receipts and set taxing and tipping options.
Square can take payments offline too. Add-on software like loyalty programs, email marketing, and payroll is available to you because you will have access to the large library of Square features.
Dinerware POS is a bit better for bigger trucks, full-service restaurants, and independent dealers. This system features EMV compliance and tablet POS. It is designed for food trucks and tableside ordering.
This Microsoft-based POS system was started in 2000. In 2015, it was acquired by Heartland Payment Systems. Features include sales reporting, menu building, and table management.
Dinerware also offers different pricing structures, but most clients monthly support plans and the option to purchase or lease hardware.
Admittedly, Dinerware is costlier than tablet-based systems, but not as much as most legacy POS systems. It is compatible with a variety of processors including Heartland, First Data, Chase Paymentech, and HarborTouch.
Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide more specific information about pricing because the company doesn’t publish their plans online. POS systems in this category cost from $30 to $300 per month for the software.
This POS features robust guest management, data analysis, customizable menus and pricing, and automatic report emailing.
Dinerware helps expedite the payment transactions through a mobile POS feature that enables people to take payments anywhere. This also adds a much appreciated security layer. Clients can see and verify credit card transactions.
Last but not least, Dinerware POS integrates with Clover, 7shifts, bLoyal, WavePOS, and more.
Aldelo Express iPad POS gives food trucks a competitive edge. Why? It’s cloud based iPad POS system is ideal for both mobile and stationary point of sale operations. The system is simple, user-friendly, and quite rich in features. It takes less than 8 mins to set up.
You don’t need any special technical skills. Aldelo supports not only food trucks, but also restaurants, bars, and retailers. It is the system that will grow with your business.
Aldelo POS is free to download with Aldelo Pay. This merchant service charges you a percentage of each sale you make using this system. If you have a small truck, this will work well for you.
If you don’t want to use Aldelo Pay, the service will cost you $99 per month per device. You are prevented from adding extra iPads through the device access limit imposed.
The Aldelo Express POS is available on mobile and desktop. Users can operate it using their existing POS hardware as long as the latter meets Aldelo’s system requirements.
Top Food Truck POS System Compared
|POS System||Ease of use||Pricing||Best Feature||User rating|
|Square POS||5/5||No monthly fee, 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction flat-rate payment processing||Can be set up and used immediately||5/5|
|Dinerware POS||4/5||Not published online||Menu building, tablet POS and sales reporting||3.5/5|
|Aldelo POS||4/5||Free with merchant processor Aldelo Pay, $99 per month without it||Simple and intuitive||4/5|
4. TouchBistro – Easy To Use Food Truck POS
TouchBistro is the number one food app sold in the Apple Store, and for good reason.
It’s easy to use and set up, and while it’s not the cheapest POS system you can get, TouchBistro remains at a reasonable price point.
TouchBistro is also designed with food service in mind. There are enough features to satisfy any food truck business that’s just starting out.
TouchBistro is one of the few apps out there designed with specifically food service in mind.
Rich with industry-specific features and easy to use, TouchBistro is ideal for food trucks.
TouchBistro isn’t the cheapest option out there, but is still reasonably priced at $69 a month. With this plan, you get 24/7 live customer support and product updates at no cost.
You can use TouchBistro’s POS system to process pretty much any kind of payment transaction, from cash to cards to mobile payments. So if you want to keep your payment options flexible, with no add-ons, you can’t go wrong with TouchBistro.
As TouchBistro is based on the iPad, you can even take your iPad with you when lines are long and take down customers’ orders as they wait in line.
TouchBistro’s system is also completely customizable. You can easily add modifiers and new menu items on the fly and customize promotional items by day and time. You can even organize the menu how you want to see it.
Locally-based POS System
Additionally, TouchBistro is a locally-based POS system. That way, even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection, you’ll still be able to access data collected in the system.
You can even still process payments with a disconnected TouchBistro app. But TouchBistro does save reporting data to the cloud.
Allowing you to access this data anywhere, in or outside the food truck. You get extensive data on menu sales and busiest times of the day, so you can analyze and evaluate accordingly.
Award-Winning Customer support
TouchBistro was named a Stevie Winner in 2016 for customer service, thus earning the title of support department of the year.
If you feel like you might need some of the extra support that a good customer service team provides, you may be in good hands with TouchBistro.
Inventory Capabilities Lacking
TouchBistro doesn’t have the most extensive inventory capabilities. You can add and edit modifier groups as you please.
But you can’t manage inventory beyond UPS codes for each item. You will, however, be notified if any inventory item is low in stock.
Tailored For The Food Industry
TouchBistro was designed specifically for the food service industry, making it quick and easy to set up and use the app. Just about every food truck would find TouchBistro a good investment.
5.ShopKeep – Affordable Food Truck POS System
ShopKeep is an affordable POS system that would work well with any food truck.
While it’s not designed specifically for foodservice, ShopKeep’s inventory features enable you to keep track of each raw ingredient.
It’s hybrid platform also gives you the flexibility to analyze your data anytime, anywhere.
ShopKeep has been around since 2010 and has maintained a focus on small businesses.
This POS system offers limited but targeted features, keeping prices within a reasonable range for new business owners.
As a food truck operator, you probably consider price as an important factor. At $69 a month, ShopKeep is one of the cheapest all-around POS systems out there.
While not specifically designed for the foodservice industry, ShopKeep has all the basic POS features covered.
Additionally, they have gift card integration, digital and traditional tip options, and the ability to print and email receipts. So your food truck enterprise is easily covered with ShopKeep’s features.
ShopKeep’s design is simple and intuitive, making it easy to set up and navigate the system. You also get QuickBooks, AppCard, and MailChimp integration, making it easy to expand ShopKeep’s functionality.
ShopKeep runs even without internet access, so you’re able to stay open for business no matter where your truck is parked.
On the other hand, reporting, which tracks everything from inventory to top-selling menu items to the busiest hours, is actually cloud-based. So you can analyze your data anywhere.
ShopKeep also allows real-time menu management. You can change up menu items and pricing during business hours, responding to customer demand as it changes.
If there’s one thing that ShopKeep’s POS system can do, it’s keep track of inventory.
With their raw goods tool, you can keep of track of every ingredient in your truck. By tracking each raw good as it comes, you can keep ingredients well-stocked and avoid food waste.
Not Features Heavy
ShopKeep’s customers are generally satisfied with ShopKeep’s features and customer support. But ShopKeep doesn’t boast nearly as many features as POS systems like Revel, such as multiple sales tax rates.
Overal Good Value
When it comes to pricing, ShopKeep proves to be a good value for the money. And while it doesn’t have a whole lot of features, it offers enough to help start-up any food truck business.
6.Lightspeed HQ – For Large or Small Food Trucks
Lightspeed HQ’s Restaurant POS system was developed with food service in mind.
The company has become renowned for providing “big-company” functionality to small businesses. Their POS system balances a wealth of features with a simple interface.
For food trucks just starting out, Lightspeed may be at just the right price point.
With all the features Lightspeed offers, they come at a much more affordable price than similar big POS systems such as Revel.
For one register you only pay $69 per month, with customer support and data analytics included.
Lightspeed Restaurant’s features allow all the functionality you need to quickly take orders and process payments.
You can easily manage your menu, with the ability to add menu items and modifiers on the fly. You can also create a record of all raw ingredients to better keep track of stock.
As food trucks are mobile, business can change from day to day. Lightspeed also has a “timed events” feature, where you can set promotions to run on certain days or times of the day.
With Lightspeed Restaurant, tracking your data is made easy. You can check revenue and receipts by units as large as the month or as small as by the hour.
Lightspeed is also in the process of rolling out a self-order menu. Customers will be able to order food themselves.
As you can only have so many staff work a food truck at one time, this frees up staff to make and serve the food. It also eliminates long lines.
Live customer support is available 24/7. However, it is not available on observed holidays.
Not a big deal, perhaps, if your food truck caters to the lunch crowd. But if you’re open on holidays, you may end up hoping you won’t need tech support.
All Lightspeed software is based entirely on the web and in the app. However, you don’t need a connection to run the software. You just won’t be able to process payments in the event of an internet outage.
Some may complain about the lack of features, such as a reservations tool, or email marketing integration. For food trucks, some social media integration would certainly be a perk.
But for most food trucks, Lightspeed Restaurant will do just fine. It has enough features and comes at an attractive enough price point that any shortcomings can be easily overlooked.
7.Revel Systems – Advanced Food Truck POS
Revel Systems is the largest, most complex POS system on this list.
For all the features that Revel Systems offers, it doesn’t come cheap. For one register, you’ll have to pay $119 a month to run Revel Systems for your truck.
With this plan, you get 24/7 live support and unlimited data storage, software updates, and QuickBooks integration. Looking at all the stuff you get with Revel Systems, $119 a month doesn’t look so bad after all.
Even with all the features, you get with Revel Systems, you don’t get locked in big time. You don’t have to sign a contract with Revel Systems, nor do they charge a cancellation fee. However, you will have to give 30 days’ notice before canceling your subscription.
Social media can be critical to the success of a growing food truck enterprise.
Revel Systems offers integration with Twitter. With Revel, you can tweet out your location to followers and track feeds right from your iPad.
Revel Systems also comes with extensive employee management and inventory tracking features. While a one-truck operation may not see much of a need for such features, data generated from these features can come in handy later.
With Revel Systems, you can also adjust taxes based on location and generate different tax groups. So if your operation travels between cities or even states, you can keep on top of your taxes way ahead of tax time.
Revel University Vs. Customer Service
It can get complicated and time-consuming to set up all of Revel’s POS features. So Revel helps make it easy with Revel University.
A site that includes all the tips and tutorials you need to set up your system. And if you really need it, you can request onsite tech support – for an additional fee.
Revel’s POS system is run locally through your device, and it syncs all data to the cloud.
The “always on” mode ensures that everything will still run smoothly even if there’s an internet outage. No matter what hardware you end up using, Revel Systems will likely run just fine on it.
Even if your cash drawer or printer is an older model, Revel’s POS System likely is compatible. You can also easily integrate third-party apps with Revel Systems, including mobile payments and gift cards.
For Larger Businesses
If you’re just getting into the food truck business, you may find that Revel Systems has too many bells and whistles to contend with. Their POS system works best with more established, larger businesses.
Good Value But Still Pricey
Revel Systems proves to be a good value for all the features it offers. But its price may not be worth it for single food truck operations. It may be one to look into if you want to expand your food truck fleet.
8.Shopify – Good Alternative
All-in-one POS system that while not specifically designed for food trucks, can work for them just fine.
As a POS system, Shopify is incredibly affordable, as well. Their most basic plan costs only $29 a month, and includes unlimited products and devices, 24/7 support, and social media sales channels.
A pro plan, which costs $50 more, gives you more features, including gift cards and professional reports.
Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial period, with no credit card information necessary. Nor do you need to sign a contract or pay any cancellation fees. So Shopify remains as flexible as your food truck business.
Shopify is easy to use and set up. The software was initially set up for retail establishments, but food trucks can use Shopify, as well.
Shopify has all the features that you’d want from a POS system.
Even their most basic plan allows you to track inventory and process debit and credit card payments. With a pro plan, you get detailed reports and analytics to see what sells best when.
Integration With Online Ordering
Shopify is a hybrid system, with online stores and inventory stored in the cloud, but most of your sales and inventory data is stored locally on the tablet.
You can also operate cash transactions without an internet connection. Credit card transactions, however, need a Wi-Fi connection to process.
There are other downsides to Shopify’s cloud functionality. You can’t access the system if you lose the connection before you login.
If you log out before the connection returns, you’ll lose any data you collected during the outage.
Out-of-Pocket Add On
Shopify is a basic POS system that can work well for a business that’s just starting out.
But if you want greater functionality – and fewer out-of-pocket add-ons – Shopify may not be the POS system for you.
Buyers Guide: What Features To Look For in a Food Truck POS?
The most important quality for a food truck POS is mobility. You should be able to operate it via tablet or phone because a food truck is always moving.
Other important considerations include the price, features like menu management, analytics, and inventory tracking.
Mobility and Price
When shopping for a POS, consider how functional it would be in a mobile food truck environment and evaluate it by setup fees, hardware costs, payment processing fees, and monthly software fees.
Ease of use and Payment Processing
Look at easy to use systems because a mobile business has to process orders quickly. Do not consider POS systems that can’t take orders and process payments securely.
Menu and Order Management
Your POS of choice should let you input menu items, allow for customized orders and substitution, handle in-person orders well, and let customers order ahead of time.
Inventory management and Reports
Make sure the software can track your inventory levels on ingredient or at least item level. It would be good if the software can provide insight into best-selling items, worst-selling ones, and overall sales.
Customer feedback is important. A system with 24/7 customer service is indispensible because occasional problems are bound to arise with any POS. You need this so you can get back to selling ASAP.
Analytics will show you if you are keeping the right inventory on hand. You always know what’s selling and what’s not. Save space for your most popular items and get rid of the dusty stock that’s just taking up room.
Speed is crucial. Read reviews and stay away when you learn about buggy software that freezes and resets. In addition, you need at least a basic reporting and analytics feature that gives you insights about your sales and customers.
Multi-truck setups will benefit from multi-location support. The ability to change your menu, manage all of your inventory, and see your sales data in one place is crucial.
Also, go for a POS system that supports a kitchen display system if you’d rather not use a kitchen printer.
What Hardware Do you Need in Your Food Truck POS?
Indispensible features include a touchscreen, kitchen video units to verify orders, an iPad or another portable terminal to pre-order items outside of the truck, and a bump bar.
A rotating screen will enable easy customer input, while an iPad can cut the line from 30-40 minutes of wait time down to 15-20 minutes.
Nobody likes waiting in long lines. If the line is too long, your customers might get frustrated and leave.
A reliable POS will ensure a faster checkout process and allow you to make the most of the checkout experience to make sure your customers leave with a good impression of your business.
The option to pre-order outside can be a convenient addition to your food truck, reducing lines and putting your business out there. Customers can place their order ahead of time with an ordering app, then go straight to your pickup window.
A bump bar is ideal for self-service and register-based establishments. It makes sure you never miss an order even if the kitchen has an issue and expedites orders. A kitchen can get really busy with cooks, servers, managers, and other people all in there.
If you want to get the orders from the cooks to the servers, you’ll benefit from a bump bar, which presents the perfect display and intuitiveness to turn orders around faster, minimize wait time, and get your delicious food out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our final section will answer common questions about food trucks and/or POS systems.
Can a food truck accept debit cards using a POS system?
Yes, it can. Square and Intuit GoPayment are two favorites in the food truck industry that will let you accept debit cards.
How much does a food truck POS cost?
It can range from no monthly fee to $300 a month.
What is best mobile POS system for food trucks?
Apart from these three, there are Toast POS, TouchBistro, Upserve, and Revel Systems POS.
Lightspeed A Clear Winner
You can’t go wrong with any of these POS systems for your food truck business. Most offer similar features such as menu management, promotions, real-time reporting, and payment processing integration.
What you really need to consider when choosing a POS system for your food truck is price and usability. Revel Systems is a great choice if you’re opening a second or third food truck, and could use the greater range of features available to you.
Or you can go with Lightspeed Restaurant, which also features a wide range of food service-friendly features for a more affordable price. For the smaller businesses that are just starting out, TouchBistro, Shopify, or Shopkeep may be the way to go.
Whether you want an easy to use interface or thorough inventory management, TouchBistro or ShopKeep may be the choice for you. If you prefer a no-frills option, Shopify will work just fine.
We hope our guide helped your choose the right POS system for your business. Furthermore, most vendors offer no obligation trial period.
Getting a POS system for your food business doesn’t have to break the bank. And no matter your size or budget, the right POS system is out there.