restaurant-management | 13 mins read

The Ultimate Guide to Food Truck POS- An Overview of the Software You Need

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Debdutta Bhattacharjee

By Debdutta Bhattacharjee

What is a Food Truck POS System?

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You've been sitting at your desk typing away on your keyboard, with no clue as to when lunch hour came and went. Lucky for you, a food truck in front of your office serves some of the most delicious dumplings in the neighborhood!

You run downstairs to catch a quick bite and after a hearty meal, you realize you've left your wallet in your workstation drawer. The food truck owner, however, isn't flustered. He calmly hands you a small card containing a QR code. You scan the code with your mobile phone, and voila! The payment is made via your mobile wallet. Completely cardless, cashless, and hassle-free. This is the new way of accepting payments. This is the new and advanced point of sale (POS) system.

A point of sale is a site where sellers of goods and services can accept payments from customers. A point of sale may be situated inside a physical store and can refer to the place at the sales counter where simple cash transactions take place between a buyer and a seller. Alternatively, POS systems can be smart, running on cutting-edge technology, involving fixed computer terminals and a host of hardware. They can be even smarter, involving systems that can be taken from one place to another for payment processing and involve minimal hardware.

In all its avatars, a POS system brings together several elements of a business, such as payment processing, customer relationship management, inventory management, reporting, sales forecasting, employee management, and so on.

Food truckswhich are essentially small mobile restaurant businesses run from modified vans and mini-trucksstand to gain immensely from sophisticated POS systems. A food truck business runs on a quick-service model, handling a high customer footfall. The entire business operates from a small physical space, that too on the go. Food truck POS systems, therefore, have to be powerful enough to take care of a frenetic pace of business.

What Good is a POS System to a Small Business?

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1. Efficient Inventory Management -
Compared to manual stock-taking, a POS system allows merchants to monitor stock levels in a more efficient and accurate manner. Stocks can simply be scanned when they are received and their quantities recorded. Similarly, stock levels can be updated based on what is being sold. When stock levels are low, the POS system sends an alert. A security interface may be included to prevent potential theft.

2. Quick payments-
After a customer selects a product, the food truck salesperson scans it and verifies the price. The POS system calculates the product's price, factoring in taxes and discounts, and then updates the inventory count to mark the item as sold. The customer makes the payment using a debit/credit card, gift cards, mobile wallets, or cash. This system makes sure the customer's wait time is greatly reduced.

3. In-depth reporting and analytics-
Restaurant POS solutions assist in the generation of thorough and automated reports on a variety of business aspects, including demand, sales, prices, inventories, menu management, employee management, and so on. These are far easier to prepare than handwritten reports, and they can be accessed 24X7, from any location. These reports provide a clear picture of the company's performance, allowing business procedures to be immediately modified if needed.

4. Improved customer management-
A POS system keeps track of customer information and allows business owners to see who their most loyal customers are. These customers can then be wooed through incentives and rewards. Businesses may send targeted promotions via email, phone calls, and other methods. Customer behavior reports supplied by the POS system allow restaurant owners to construct loyalty programs for frequent customers and generate repeat orders from one-time customers.

5. Quick and accurate operations-
The kitchen display system (KDS) connected with the restaurant POS is a good example of this. A kitchen display system is driven by cloud based POS technology and works remotely. It dispenses with the need for paper tickets and eliminates the chances of manual mistakes. Cooks can view the orders as soon as they are fed into the POS system, which enables them to provide quick customer service. Food trucks, however, are not in need of KDSes because the place where orders are taken and the place where food is prepared are not far from each other.

6. Efficient employee management-
Though food trucks don't employ large staff, the few employees they do have must be managed well. A food truck POS system integrated with basic scheduling software can be used to create shifts. The POS system can also provide vital data on employee punctuality and performance.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Food Truck POS Software Essentials

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Software powers all POS systems, allowing them to process orders, compute product costs and collect payments. POS software saves information and organizes it as part of a large database. It enables both brick-and-mortar and online merchants to handle the essentials of their enterprises on a virtual level.

For web-based POS systems, the software tends to handle a heavy workload. Web-based systems save data online on a cloud server. Traditional POS systems, however, can be only maintained at the site. They include large machines, function on a closed network, and can only be accessed through a limited range of associated devices. The use of cloud-based POS software eliminates the need for too many elaborate pieces of hardware.

The cloud server synchronizes with the principal device in real time, allowing the user to access data from any location and on any device. Crucially, the data is safely stored in the cloud server and can be restored even if a file gets misplaced, unintentionally deleted, or the POS program fails.

A merchant can synchronize accounts and inventories across offline and online stores using a cloud based solution. Another benefit of cloud based systems over on-premise systems is that they enable seamless interaction with third party apps and new modules, as well as easy customization to meet the unique needs of the organization.

Businesses benefit from cloud based systems because they lower initial costs, provide sophisticated POS tools, and make it easier to track and handle large sales. Small businesses can profit from these point of sale systems for as low as $50-250 per month. Businesses must, however, account for POS fees, which include fees for additional hardware, payment processing, and add-ons, among other things.

Owing to their small size and portability, web-based POS systems can be linked with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The widespread adoption of web-based POS software has resulted in the development of mobile POS and EPOS.

Food Truck POS Hardware Essentials

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1. Interface- A simple cash register for computing and processing transactions may be included as part of the POS interface. It might also consist of an iPad-based POS system or one that runs on an Android smartphone. A touchscreen, desktop, or laptop could all be used to run the system.

2. Card reader- This device enables customers to make secure payments using credit cards, debit cards, microchip cards (such as those issued by Europay, Visa, and Mastercard), mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, and magstripe cards. Customers making card payments need not carry cash. This makes transactions easier and faster. With individuals fearing cross-contamination as a result of the Covid epidemic, contactless payments have become even more critical. A Small Business can benefit greatly from mobile card readers. This POS system simply requires a smartphone or a tablet to be linked to an add-on card-reading device. Businesses may accept payments from anywhere with this portable device.

3. Cash drawer- Even in the case of businesses that primarily accept contactless payments, a cash drawer is an important feature of the POS framework. It enables the safe storage of cash, coupons, cheques and receipts. When a software system attached to the cash drawer is activated, it may monitor when the drawer is accessed, making fraud easier to detect.

4. Barcode scanner- This device reads product information such as name, category, price, and manufacturer so that it may be entered into the POS system. Scanning with the help of barcodes automatically updates the inventory of a business.

5. Receipt printer- This device prints receipts for customers and is also used to generate end-of-day reports.

6. Networking gadgets- These include Wifi hubs and modems that connect devices in the food truck to the internet.

How to Choose the Best POS System for Your Food Truck

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Here's what to look for in a POS system for food trucks-

1. Flexible payments-
Debit/credit cards, online ordering, tipping, gift cards, or divided group payments, a food truck business must be prepared for a variety of transactions. Customers who visit a food truck are almost always in a hurry, and getting trapped in card machine issues might make them impatient. Worse, it can drive them away. Food trucks may be visited by travelers from other countries who want to sample local cuisines. So the point of sale system for a food truck must also be able to accept major currencies.

2. Small size-
Food trucks operate in significantly smaller spaces than other commercial kitchens. Therefore, it's critical that the POS systems for food trucks don't take up too much space. Most food truck POS systems are compatible with tablets, smartphones, desktops, and laptops. This is especially handy for highly mobile and fast-paced small businesses.

3. Easy to use-
Point of sale systems for food businesses like food trucks mustn't be complicated, because food truck owners are already exhausted from managing orders quickly, changing locations frequently, standing for extended periods of time, and multi-tasking as cook, cashier, and business owner. Before installing a POS system, a business owner must request a demo and verify that the POS provider offers dependable customer support and online training guides.

4. Reporting and analytics-
The best food truck POS systems monitor consumer behavior and provide reports, allowing businesses to offer loyalty programs to their customers. They identify top-selling and slow-moving menu items and track sales by the hour and location. They even send out notifications when supplies are running low. These real time reports and analyses help food truck operators make data-driven decisions with the aim of increasing earnings, while reducing wastage of resources.

5. Connectivity without interruption-
Since food trucks frequently operate in remote regions with limited internet access, the POS system for food trucks should be able to work in offline mode. When the internet goes down, the owner of a food truck must be aware of alternate channels of connectivity, such as cellphone services.

6. Flexibility-
Due to stock fluctuations, Food Trucks would need to adjust menu items on the go. Pricing may alter during the day as the truck travels from one area to another to factor in variations in purchasing power and demand in different areas.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

5 Best POS Systems for Food Trucks

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1. Plum POS-
Small enterprises, such as food trucks, can benefit greatly from the Plum One plan. It includes a single POS register, a thermal receipt printer, a seventh-generation 2.3GHz dual-core order station base with a removable wireless order entry touchscreen, a cash drawer, and networking tools. This POS solution includes a mobile POS system, kitchen display system, POS app, self-service kiosk, and digital signage and is incredibly easy to use. The Plum One is priced at $1716. It's part of the Essential Station Bundle. This software solution is available on the Hubworks restaurant app store.

2. Square-
This iPad-based POS system is perfect for small businesses and would work well for food trucks. Its price and the absence of long-term contracts are two of Square's main advantages. Food trucks and other small businesses can take advantage of Square's free plan that offers the most basic functions. Simple reports can be used for menu management, order management, payment processing, and sales data analysis. The hardware price starts at $49 and comes with a contactless card reader, and goes up to $1,339 for a complete restaurant POS station kit.

3. TouchBistro-
This software solution is easy to use. It's a self-installable restaurant POS system that employs iPads as POS terminals, self-ordering kiosks, KDS screens, and portable devices. It possesses an iOS interface and functions like an iPhone. TouchBistro provides several payment processing options. The TouchBistro POS system costs $69 per terminal per month. Features can be added for a price. For instance, a gift card program comes for $25 per month, and online ordering for $50 per month.

4. Toast-
This hybrid POS system is backed by the cloud and also makes use of a local network, which gives it significant offline capabilities. It has contactless order placement and payment, customized reporting, a loyalty program platform, and staff scheduling add-on modules. Toast hardware is Ingress Protection (IP)-rated. This implies that it can survive dust and water penetration. Drops aren't a problem either. Therefore, Toast is well-suited for food trucks, where equipment is often under a lot of stress. Toast provides a starter plan, for which subscribers don't have to pay a fee.

5. Lightspeed-
This POS system needs no installation fee. Lightspeed restaurant POS supports an unlimited number of users, customer management capabilities, integrations, and reporting. Add-ons include accounting integration, loyalty program, and delivery integration. Lightspeed is an authorized Apple reseller, which means that customers can buy third party POS gear like iPads from Lightspeed. The cost of a Lightspeed restaurant POS system begins at $59 per month. Premium add-ons are available for a monthly fee of $39.

POS System FAQs

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Q. How does a POS system make counting stocks easy?

A. If the POS system is able to read information from a hand-held barcode scanner, inventory management can be done faster and more correctly than manual stock-taking. The equipment can be taken to the place where stocks are kept and products can be scanned and counted. Then, the data is sent to a computer.

Q. Can only a few restaurant formats benefit from a POS system?

A. No. Every restaurant can profit from a modern, user-friendly point of sale system. Whether you run a food truck business, a slow-brew coffee shop, or a fine dining restaurant, your customers will be served better with a help of a POS system that is also integrated with software solutions providing inventory management, employee management, online ordering and delivery, and so on.

Q. Does it take too long to enter a customer's name and address into the system?

A. It's possible, and, therefore, a business has to be sensitive towards the wishes of the customers. However, customer information is too valuable to be ignored. Personalized marketing is a cost-effective way of increasing sales. Advanced software systems offer a wide range of customer information and mailing capabilities with the help of which customers can be identified by their last purchase date, purchase history, birthday, and so on.

Q. Is it necessary to have an industry-specific point of sale system?

A. No. Several industry-specific software solutions don't have all the features of a general retail software system. Therefore, when choosing a Pos System, organizations must consider their specific needs.

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