Food trucks have combined two things that the modern world loves, food and flexibility.
These mobile businesses offer a reliable, convenient, and current change to the restaurant experience.
The cash register was a dependable cash collector for previous food trucks. Now, modern businesses need new financial transactions, and the POS, point of sale system offers just that.
Why Food Trucks Should Use POS Systems
Today’s customers appreciate smooth payment transactions and exceptional food. Food trucks deliver good food at a fast pace.
They need systems that process orders and payments, save time while managing daily operations in an organized program to boost the business’s success.
Types of POS Systems for Food Trucks
There are several POS systems available on the market, with special features to suit the services your food truck delivers. Most fall under one or several of the categories below.
Stationary or Counter-based
Think of cash registers that sit on counters and ding with each sale. Today’s version of cash registers usually has a PC or laptop with POS software, barcode scanners or card-readers, cash drawers and receipt printers.
This traditional POS is stationary and requires an outlet to remain plugged-in while in use. Some food trucks use a generator to power all electrical machines in the truck.
A surge protector or power strip would allow you to connect as many devices as needed to operate your food truck.
Square Mobile POS
Traditional POS systems will be around for a long time to come, but there is room for other methods to grow.
The mobile POS system offers flexibility and easy access for daily transactions with no need for wires. It can be used as an additional form of receiving payment or on its own. The decision is up to you.
This is most suited for food trucks that also provide catering services or are in an area that includes seating. You can do transactions in or out of the food truck or at an event.
Square is one example of a free mobile POS. It can be used on a phone, tablet or laptop. It comes with an app and a detachable card-reader so you can do transactions on the go. An internet connection is needed to process transactions, but Square and other mobile POS systems have an offline feature that stores transactions until the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi source. When connected, it will automatically or manually process those saved transactions.
Vend Online POS
With services such as CashApp, PayPal and other online banking service providers, it’s good for businesses to offer this to customers as well.
Food trucks are known to amass large followings through social media and use it to keep their customers up to date on their locations and menus for the day.
They can pair that with an online payment option that transfers cash from one account to another. Transaction details are well documented for business records. The main concern is to ensure that a cut-off is in place to decline payment for out-of-stock menu items.
Vend is an online POS system that allows you anywhere and anytime using its cloud-based software. It also offers advanced yet simple-to-use online tools so you can have full control of your business and take it to the next level.
Joint POS Systems
Combine stationary, mobile and online systems to one database for accurate inventory tracking. That way, all transactions will be stored in one place to manage stock levels and other data better.
Pros vs. Cons of a POS system
What are the positives and negatives of POS systems for food trucks?
- It keeps accurate records for detailed bookkeeping with correct records of daily sales, inventory, customer reports, and cash inflow.
- Quick and relatively to use so employees will require little training to operate it.
- The PC version of the POS system acts like a safe for payments collected during the day.
- It tracks daily sales so you will know the most popular and unpopular menu items. This will help with smart data-driven decisions for planning, purchases, and marketing for each item.
- It allows for multiple means of payment, which consumers will appreciate.
- Some POS apps offer collaborative opportunities with other businesses. Customers can reap benefits like discounts or earn cashback points/rewards for doing business with your food truck.
- It is a computer so it can be bulky to have in the truck space.
- If you fail to back-up the data and the system crashes, you risk losing all of the business’ records. These are important for tax audits, personal bookkeeping, and profit. (This can be remedied with an automatic back-up of all data on an external or cloud storage).
- POS systems have a shorter lifespan than cash registers. The parts are less durable and require changing more frequently than its predecessor.
- Updating software can be costly. You will always need to update the software to protect the system from digital attacks and viruses.
The point of sale machines includes hardware and software components. Employees can physically interact with the hardware parts of a POS system for transactional purposes, such as input data, manage sales, and carry out commands.
POS hardware includes:
- laptop or PC
- mobile phone
- card scanner
- receipt printer
- touchpad, etc.
POS software is the digital aspect containing all features of the system. It can either be an app or program that offers:
- Inventory management- keep stock of all ingredients and other food-related items (containers, utensils, straws, napkins, etc.)
- E-receipts- paperless receipt options for customers that saves time and is environmentally friendly
- Integration with other apps or platforms- this allows for business collaborations that benefit customers, such as discounts, cashback points for rewards, and increase customer appeal for the business.
- Customer rewards program- since the POS system tracks each transaction, you can offer special treats and rates for customers with a specific number of purchases or type of purchase. The conditions are flexible, so do what is best for you and your customers.
- Payments processing- customers like having options in their menu and payment options. POS systems allow customers to pay with cash, debit, or credit cards.
Evaluate the services your food truck currently or plan to provide, then choose a POS system within the budget to enhance them.