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Updated Jun 18, 2024

The Best POS Systems for Food Trucks

Square, CAKE and Clover are just a few of the leading POS systems that can streamline ordering and payments for your food truck.

Mike Berner
Mike Berner, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.
Best Overall Value
Clover POS
Clover company logo
  • Range of quality hardware options
  • Intuitive interface
  • Comprehensive business management
USALinks to Clover POS
Visit Site
  • Range of quality hardware options
  • Intuitive interface
  • Comprehensive business management
Best for Hardware
Toast
toast company logo
  • Durable hardware built to last
  • Sleek hardware design
  • Contactless payment options
USALinks to Toast
Visit Site
  • Durable hardware built to last
  • Sleek hardware design
  • Contactless payment options
Best for Multiple Locations
TouchBistro
TouchBistro company logo
  • Includes features for restaurants
  • Integrates with various apps
  • Provides personalized onboarding
USALinks to TouchBistro
Visit Site
  • Includes features for restaurants
  • Integrates with various apps
  • Provides personalized onboarding
Best for New Food Trucks
Square POS
Square company logo
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop functions
  • Guest experience features
  • Streamlined training process
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop functions
  • Guest experience features
  • Streamlined training process
Best for Customer Experience
CAKE
Cake by Mad Mobile logo
  • In-person and online transactions
  • Centralized dashboard
  • Transparent processing fees
USALinks to CAKE
Visit Site
  • In-person and online transactions
  • Centralized dashboard
  • Transparent processing fees

Table of Contents

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Point-of-sale (POS) systems are a critical tool for any business in the food service industry. Food trucks, in particular, need specialized POS software and hardware to take orders and process transactions in a small space. The best POS solutions for food truck owners are affordable and provide features that facilitate sales on the move. To help food truck owners choose a POS system, we studied dozens of options. Our rankings focused on features that food truck owners need, including easily portable hardware, user-friendly software and the ability to accept mobile orders.

Business News Daily is committed to independently evaluating business software and services to identify the best solutions for various business types. We consider industry-specific features, pricing and contract terms, hardware options and software integrations. Following in-depth research and hands-on testing, each review is assessed to ensure it meets our standards for accuracy and fairness.

When deciding the best POS systems for food trucks, we looked for solutions that afforded extensive mobility without sacrificing feature quality. We compared each vendor’s portable hardware and the specific tools offered that would streamline service and make ordering and payment processing more efficient for food truck patrons. We preferred systems with reasonable contract terms and rates that boasted customization options and valuable integration possibilities. Learn more about our methodology.

Compare Our Best Picks

BND Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2024
Clover POS
TouchBistro
Square POS
Rating8.9/109.3/109.4/109.3/108.9/10
Best use case

Overall Value

Hardware

Multiple Locations

New Food Trucks

Customer Experience

Free trial

30 days

No

No

30 days

No

Starting price

$14.95 per month

Free plan available

$69 per month

Free plan available

$69 per month

Third-party integrations

Yes (100+)

Yes (65+)

Yes (20+)

Yes (200+)

Yes

Third-party payment processor compatibility

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Customer service

Phone and email

Phone, email and live chat

Phone and email

Phone, email, social media and live chat

Phone, text, email and live chat

Review Link
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Our Reviews

Clover company logo
  • Clover offers a wide variety of POS hardware and software.
  • The company is well known for its all-in-one solution and numerous payment options.
  • Clover’s added costs include an application fee.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
Visit Site

Clover is the go-to choice for a total POS solution for many food service businesses. The company’s hardware is resold by numerous payment processors, which we see as a testament to product quality. The software goes beyond essential POS features and includes tools for sales and payments, inventory management, staffing and credit card processing as well as integrations with over 500 third-party apps, making it an excellent overall value for food truck owners.

We appreciate that some of Clover’s restaurant-specific features will also come in handy for food trucks, including online ordering, takeout and curbside pickup. You can even integrate Clover POS with DoorDash, helping your food truck reach a much broader customer base. Mobile POS devices produced by Clover include the handheld Flex terminal and the Go device. We appreciate the numerous benefits of mobile POS devices like these for food truck owners, including the ability to accept payments in areas with limited space while boosting speed and efficiency. We also like that the Go connects with a smartphone for contactless payments and invoicing.

toast company logo
  • Toast’s POS hardware and software are built specifically with restaurants in mind.
  • The company offers mobile solutions, including fast payment options, online ordering and more.
  • Toast’s fees and charges for credit card payments are on the high side.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10
Visit Site

Toast has established itself as one of the foremost technology players in the restaurant industry. We were impressed by how Toast builds tools for different types of food service businesses and by the fact that it has an entire section of its website devoted to food trucks.

During our research, we found that many small restaurant and food truck owners praised the software’s usability. We like that Toast’s hardware is designed for durability. Its POS devices, including the handheld Toast Go device, are spill-proof and heat-resistant. Unlike competitors that build devices for light indoor usage, we believe Toast’s products will hold up well in a rough-and-tumble food truck environment. Toast can accept orders quickly and supports mobile ordering and payments without the need for Wi-Fi.

Beyond hardware, we also like that Toast POS offers some low-priced deals for entrepreneurs starting a food truck. Food truck owners often seek to keep overhead expenses low and Toast’s starter plan comes with zero upfront costs. Instead, food truck operators can choose to pay for Toast’s hardware and services through a 3.09 percent credit card processing fee.

TouchBistro company logo
  • TouchBistro’s restaurant-focused software stands out for its user-friendliness.
  • The company’s software runs on various third-party devices.
  • Customer service reviews for TouchBistro are mixed.
Editor's Rating: 9.4/10
Visit Site

TouchBistro is another POS provider that markets directly to food service businesses. Like a few other companies on our list, TouchBistro outlines a service plan specifically for food trucks. A few highlights for food truck owners include the ability to accept payments without Wi-Fi and a mobile-first approach. TouchBistro’s equipment is also optimized for speed and efficiency — two factors critical to food truck success.

TouchBistro’s easy POS system setup impressed us as a standout feature. During our research, we learned that many users praise TouchBistro for its user-friendly interface, which means that you and your staff won’t face a steep learning curve. TouchBistro’s software is designed primarily for Apple products, particularly the iPad. In our view, using an iPad as a POS system is particularly helpful for food truck owners and staff who are already familiar with these devices.

Another great feature is TouchBistro’s multilocation setup. This allows owners of multiple food trucks to manage several different menus and consolidate performance data in one central location.

Square company logo
  • Square does not charge a monthly fee for basic service.
  • The company is well-known for its sleek, user-friendly hardware.
  • Square lacks some restaurant-specific features sought by food truck owners.
Editor's Rating: 9.3/10

Square remains one of the most popular POS services among small businesses because of its user-friendly software and hardware. The company ensures that almost any business can apply for easily and gain approval for credit card processing. Its full suite of POS features is affordable, making the platform an excellent choice for new food trucks.

We like that new Square users receive a free Square card reader and free digital gift cards. The software integrates with hundreds of third-party apps, a helpful feature for businesses that rely on other software tools. Square’s POS software includes restaurant-specific features that food truck owners will appreciate, including takeout, delivery and inventory management.

In our view, one of Square’s strongest positives is that it is free to use on its most basic tier. Subscription plans with more advanced features range from $29 to $69 per month.

Cake by Mad Mobile logo
  • CAKE offers several customer-focused features that food truck patrons will appreciate.
  • CAKE’s customer loyalty program functions can encourage repeat business.
  • The platform’s user interface can feel dated at times.
Editor's Rating: 8.9/10
Visit Site

As with some other providers on our list, CAKE focuses primarily on food service businesses. During our testing, we found CAKE’s POS products to be customer-centric. A few features that food truck customers should find useful include online reservations, tableside ordering, waitlists and real-time status updates for queued-up guests. The best feature, in our view, is CAKE’s check-splitting tool. Many other POS providers we reviewed don’t include this feature or make it difficult to split bills, making CAKE stand out.

Food truck owners will also appreciate that CAKE’s offline capabilities will allow them to accept payments without an active Wi-Fi connection. CAKE also provides a free terminal when you sign up for a monthly plan and offers a guided walkthrough for easy setup. We particularly like the platform’s built-in customer loyalty feature, which helps ensure you get repeat customers — a crucial consideration for many food trucks that cater to the lunch crowd.

Costs of POS Systems for Food Trucks

Food truck owners face three types of POS costs: hardware costs, software costs and payment processing fees:

  • Hardware: Food trucks typically opt for smaller, more portable POS hardware to minimize costs. Some POS systems provide free hardware as part of a multiyear contract. Depending on the number of accessories, buying equipment outright may cost under $100 or more than $1,500.
  • Software: POS software is usually sold on a monthly subscription basis. Some POS providers offer free software while more feature-packed programs may exceed $150 per month. Higher-priced options are likely necessary for users with a fleet of food trucks, multiple employees and inventory tracking needs.
  • Payment processing: Transaction fees are another POS cost for food truck owners. These fees typically range from 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent of every transaction, with slight variations based on whether the transaction occurs in person or online.

Features of POS Systems for Food Trucks

To help you better understand and use POS systems with exceptional food truck functionality, here are notable POS system features to consider and prioritize:

Compact Hardware

The best POS systems for food trucks are designed with mobility in mind. Full-service registers are a nonstarter for food truck operators due to their fragility and space requirements. In contrast, compact hardware options like tablets or handheld devices work well in food trucks. These devices are durable and able to withstand the rigors of a mobile environment.

Order Management

POS software for food trucks can help you take and manage orders and accommodate customizations, modifiers and special requests. Specialized software can also support quick order entry, which helps you keep up with fast-paced service.

Payment Processing

The ability to accept multiple payment types is critical for a food truck owner. Many consumers today expect to use fast mobile payment methods, including near-field communication (NFC) mobile payments — especially at the point of sale for a busy food truck. POS software integrates with mobile payment processors and supports various payment methods, including credit and debit cards and mobile wallets.

Inventory Management

POS software for food trucks typically offers basic inventory management functions. Some vendors include more robust POS inventory management features to track individual ingredients. This feature helps you track food inventory and ensures you never run out of popular items during busy times.

Customer Management

Food trucks often rely on repeat customers, which is why customer management is crucial. POS systems offer advanced features such as generating customer relationship management metrics and creating detailed customer profiles with contact info, purchase histories, preferences, birthdays and notes. Knowing about your customers can help you build a customer loyalty program to reward your best patrons.

Reporting

Every POS system can produce POS reports, but their capabilities vary. While some offer basic functionality with preconfigured reports, others are more advanced, providing numerous reporting options and filters for in-depth analysis of sales, inventory, customers and staff data.

Top-tier POS systems feature real-time reporting accessible from any device via a browser or mobile app. Before investing in a POS system, ensure that it provides the specific reports necessary for efficiently managing your food truck operations.

Did You Know?Did you know
Businesses can learn much from POS sales reports, including what their best-selling items are and which products to deemphasize. They can also help businesses with multiple locations compare sales and make informed decisions.

Choosing a Food Truck POS System

Choosing the best POS system for your food truck depends on your specific requirements. Here are three steps to guide you through the evaluation process.

1. Research the market.

Start by exploring the available POS products on the market. Utilize online resources and guides to compare different options. Additionally, read user reviews and comments on third-party review platforms and the Better Business Bureau website.

2. Request demos from vendors.

After narrowing down your options, contact each vendor to request a software product demo. If free trials are available, take advantage of them. Additionally, ensure that the POS system’s setup process is user-friendly and that the vendor offers generous implementation support.

While evaluating platforms and demos, keep in mind your food truck’s unique needs. For instance, the best POS system for food trucks will differ from the best POS systems for retail businesses, so consider how the software will impact your daily operations.

3. Evaluate pricing

Following the demos, discuss your requirements with each company and obtain quotes. Compare each vendor’s offerings, packages and pricing and determine which product is the best value for your investment.

Advantages of POS Systems for Food Trucks

  • Increased efficiency: POS systems automate order-taking and payment processing, reducing human error and expediting transactions. Staff can input orders, modify items and process payments quickly, leading to shorter wait times and improved throughput during peak hours.
  • Mobility: POS systems for food trucks are compact and lightweight, allowing operators to easily move around the truck or set up temporary stations at events. Whether serving customers curbside or at outdoor festivals, the portability of these systems ensures seamless transactions regardless of location.
  • Inventory management: The best POS systems provide real-time tracking of inventory levels, enabling food truck owners to monitor ingredient usage, track stock levels and set automated alerts for low inventory items. This helps minimize waste and optimize purchasing decisions to maintain efficient operations.
  • Insights: POS systems generate detailed reports on sales performance, including insights into revenue trends, popular menu items and peak hours. Analyzing this data allows food truck operators to identify opportunities for menu optimization, adjust pricing strategies and forecast future sales to maximize profitability.
  • Customer engagement: POS systems with customer management features capture valuable customer data, including contact information, purchase history and preferences. Food truck operators can leverage this information to personalize marketing efforts, implement loyalty programs and engage with customers through targeted promotions and discounts.
  • Integration capabilities: Modern POS systems offer seamless integrations with other business tools, including accounting software, inventory management systems and online ordering platforms. These integrations provide a cohesive system for managing all aspects of the food truck business.
TipTip
Before opening a food truck business, ensure your truck is mechanically sound and arrange for a preventive maintenance schedule. Remember that if it goes down, you’ll lose business and have to pay for repairs.

Food Truck POS System FAQs

One advantage of POS systems for food truck operators is that many offer offline transaction capabilities, where information is saved until you reconnect to the internet.

A POS system for a restaurant often takes up more space in terms of hardware and includes more features to manage extensive inventory and staff. POS systems for food trucks are more geared toward small spaces, durability and fewer staff members.

POS systems for food trucks usually support a range of payment processing options, including credit and debit cards, mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, contactless payments via NFC technology, cash transactions, gift cards, online payments and quick response code payments.

Food truck owners should encrypt sensitive data, use secure networks and regularly update software. Implementing access controls, adhering to Payment Card industry compliance standards and minimizing data storage help mitigate risks. Additionally, training staff on security protocols and having an incident response plan in place further strengthen data protection measures and build customer trust.

Yes. Many POS systems integrate with the best accounting software solutions. For example, Clover and Square are POS systems that integrate with QuickBooks. Integrating your POS system with your existing accounting software allows for seamless transfer of sales, inventory and financial data between the two systems. This streamlines bookkeeping processes and improves overall efficiency.

Mike Berner
Mike Berner, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Mike Berner is a finance expert who spent more than half a decade serving as an economic analyst for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is experienced in conducting quantitative analysis and research to guide clients and companies through changes in the financial markets. With a bachelor's degree in economics and a bachelor of business administration in finance, Mike is adept at breaking down the complex financial topics that affect business owners, from business loans and accounting to payroll and credit card processing. He also tests and analyzes the latest financial software solutions and enjoys giving tips on matters ranging from tax forms to sales strategies to investing through platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Substack.
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