April 4, 2024

5 Best Food Truck POS Systems 2024

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Food truck point-of-sale (POS) systems are hardware and software tools that help food trucks process sales and payments. The best food truck POS systems include tools like detailed reporting, marketing, and menu management, which help food trucks grow their business and increase profitability. We compared several POS systems for food trucks to find the best systems for 2024. 

Based on our food-truck-focused scoring criteria, these are the best food truck POS systems for 2024: 

  Square for Restaurants Toast Table Needs Clover TouchBistro
Monthly Software Fees $0–$60+ per location $0–$69+ per location $99–$339 per location $0–$130+ per month $69 per POS device
Hardware Costs $49–$1,349 or use your own hardware $799–$1,024.20 Included in monthly fees, or use your own hardware $49–$2,398 upfront (Monthly leases are available)  Custom-quoted 
Payment Processing Fees In-person: 2.5%–2.6% + 10 cents
Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
In-person: 2.49%–3.29% + 15 cents
Online: 3.5%–3.89% + 15 cents
In-person: 2.69% + 10 cents
Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
In-person: 2.60% + 10 cents
Online: 3.5% + 10 cents
Custom-quoted
Learn More Visit Square Visit Toast Visit Table Needs Visit Clover Visit TouchBistro

Square for Restaurants: Best free food truck POS


Pros

  • Free baseline software subscription
  • Runs on hardware you already own
  • Operates with Wi-Fi or cellular networks
  • No long-term contract

Cons

  • Can be hard to reach live customer support
  • Ingredient-level inventory requires third-party integration
Square logo.

Our Rating: 4.39/5

Square for Restaurants has three subscription tiers. The entry-level subscription is free, and none of the subscriptions require a long-term contract. 

Free Plus Square Restaurant Essentials Bundle
Monthly Software Fees $0 $60 for a single device $40 per additional device $153
Payment Processing Rates* In-person: 2.5%–2.6% + 10 cents Online: 2.9% + 30 cents

*Custom processing rates available for trucks that process more than $250,000 annually

The baseline Free subscription comes with software for unlimited devices, but is limited to only a single user login. So all of your employees would have access to the same functions. This might be fine for a small owner-operated truck, but larger trucks will likely want customizable user permissions by employee.   This is available with a Plus subscription. 

Plus-level subscriptions only include software for a single device, additional devices require an additional $40 per month per device. Square also offers a software bundle called Restaurant Essentials Bundle, which includes the Plus-level POS functions (like custom floor plans and multiple user logins) alongside the Plus-level POS features like custom floor plans and multiple user permissions.  

You can operate Square for Restaurants on iPads and smartphones that you already own or purchase hardware directly from the Square website. Prices range from $149 for a Square Stand with built-in card readers ($478 with an iPad included), up to $1,349 for a complete POS kit with a cash drawer, receipt Square will send new users their first swipe reader for free; additional readers start at $49. 

Read more: POS hardware

Free baseline POS

Square’s Free baseline subscription is basic. It doesn’t include customizable floor plans or multiple user logins. But most beginning food trucks don’t need those tools. So, Square for Restaurants’ Free version is ideal for beginner trucks with a small footprint. 

No long-term contracts

You can use Square for Restaurants as long as it serves your business, and stop using it with no penalties if your needs change. Trucks that operate seasonally can use Square for the months they operate and pause their accounts when they go dark. 

Free online ordering

Every Square for Restaurants POS subscription comes with a free Square Online ordering site. You can use this site to accept commission-free online orders or connect it to a QR code to support customer self-ordering from smartphones. 

Pay-as-you-go marketing

Square for Restaurants makes it easy to reach your customers via email or text message. Square’s marketing add-ons include message templates that give your truck the appearance of a much larger business. Best of all, you only pay for what you use. Marketing packages start as low as $15 per month for 500 email sends. 

  • Pricing: 4.82
  • Hardware: 5.00
  • Software features: 3.75
  • Support & reliability: 3.75
  • User experience: 4.38
  • Average user review scores: 4.63

Square for Restaurants is enormously popular with food trucks, and we can see why. Users can operate with hardware they already own or opt for more durable, Square-built POS devices. With free and pay-as-you-go options for most software, the smallest trucks only pay for the tools they actually use and are not tied to a bloated software bundle that doesn’t meet their needs. The short-term contracts are great for trucks that operate seasonally or are just getting started. Plus, Square offers a lot of tools and third-party integrations to help food trucks grow. 

For users concerned about needing robust internal inventory management without investing in additional software, we recommend Toast. While an additional fee is associated with it, inventory management is integrated within the platform, and it’s still cheaper than investing in additional software.

Square for Restaurants is the most popular food truck POS on the market. Whenever you visit a food truck, there’s a better than 50% chance you’ll see a Square POS system operating on an iPad, smartphone, or Square POS device. Square can be self-installed on hardware you already own. You can get started for free in a single day. 

Toast: Best For high-volume trucks & fleets


Pros

  • Built for food businesses
  • Durable hardware
  • $0 upfront packages available

Cons

  • $0 upfront packages available
  • Processing fees can get high
  • Inventory requires additional fees
Toast logo.

Our Rating: 4.38/5

Toast’s POS is available at three subscription levels. Like Square, Toast offers a free baseline POS subscription. Unlike Square, Toast also offers a $0 upfront option for hardware purchases. Toast users who opt for Pay-as-You-Go hardware purchases will pay higher card processing fees to cover the costs of their hardware. 

Cost Starter Kit  Point of Sale Build Your Own
Monthly software fee $0 $69 Custom-quoted
In-person payment processing fee
  • 2.49% + 15 cents without hardware
  • 3.09% + 15 cents with Pay-as-you-go hardware
Custom-quoted Custom-quoted

Toast users can extend the utility of their Toast POS by adding the Restaurant Basics Package for $60 plus $9 per employee monthly. This software bundle includes entry-level versions of Toast’s payroll and scheduling software, along with restaurant-specific insurance, and employee benefit tools like Toast Pay Card and 401(k) offerings. This might not be a fit for the smallest truck operations, but it is great for quickly growing food trucks and fleets that manage a lot of employees. 

If you choose to pay upfront for your Toast hardware, you’ll find handheld Toast Go 2 devices for $799.20 and countertop, and touch-screen POS stations for $1,024. 

Durable hardware

Food truck POS devices can take a beating. Toast’s hardware is spill-resistant, steam-proof, and drop-tested. If your truck is high-volume or if you run multiple trucks for various events, you’ll need hardware that is more robust than an iPad. 

$0 upfront starter kits

Toast users can get hardware and software for up to two POS stations for $0 upfront and $0 per month; all you pay are payment processing fees. 

Automated SMS texts

If you opt for the Toast kitchen display system (KDS) screen to communicate orders to your truck’s cook, your Toast system will automatically text customers when you mark their order as ready. This simple, insightful feature saves you time and ensures customers get their food while it’s hot. 

  • Pricing: 3.39
  • Hardware: 4.17
  • Software features: 4.58
  • Support & reliability: 5.00
  • User experience: 5.00
  • Average user review scores: 4.13

Toast is an established and growing POS brand specifically built to support food and beverage businesses. With a $0 starter subscription that includes durable hardware, Toast is too affordable and useful for food trucks to ignore. Toast’s responsive customer support team and excellent training documents can help novice truck operators get their business on track from the beginning. 

For anyone concerned about the length of the contract, particularly for a new business, we recommend trying Square. The absence of a long-term contract combined with the platform’s general ease of use makes it a strong alternative.

Small truck operations might not use all of Toast’s available tools, but if your truck business is growing, Toast is worth a look. 

Read more: Best restaurant POS systems

Toast is a flexible POS designed specifically for restaurants. It operates on durable, Toast-designed hardware, and you’ll need a robust hot spot configuration or an LTE-enabled router to make it work for your food truck. But Toast also has some of the best customer support services available for its POS customers, and you’ll get lots of help troubleshooting your installation to ensure it works. New Toast customers have the option to pay higher payment processing fees to get hardware and software for up to two POS devices for $0 per month. But you will have to agree to a standard two-year contract. 

Table Needs: Best for mobility


Pros

  • Excellent installation assistance
  • Operates on hardware you already own
  • Specifically designed for food trucks

Cons

  • Pricier than competitors
  • No free baseline subscription
  • Processing fees are not publicly listed
The logo of Table Needs

Our Rating: 3.96/5

Table Needs is the priciest food truck POS on this list. Currently, Table Needs offers its software at three subscription tiers. Payment processing is also built into the system, but users with processing fees starting at 2.69% + 10 cents for in-person payments.  

Software Only Snack-sized Balanced Lunch Full Entree
Monthly Software Fee $99

$139
(Includes lease for hardware up to $2,500 in value) 
$239 (Includes lease for hardware up to $5,000 in value)  $339 (Includes lease for hardware up to $10,000 in value) 
Payment processing fees
  • In-person: 2.69% + 10 cents
  • Online: 2.9% + 30 cents

The Snack-sized, Balanced Lunch, and Full Entree subscriptions all include hardware leases at no additional cost. If you use hardware you already own, you can get a software-only license for $99 per month. Table Needs operates on iOS devices and some Android devices; you’ll need to contact Table Needs directly for a complete list of compatible hardware. 

Mobile management app

Table Needs includes a smartphone app for your POS management dashboard. You can easily add menu items, update pricing, view reports, and more from your smartphone. The Table Needs management app is the most comprehensive management app of any of the systems on this list. 

Flexible hardware

Table Needs POS and KDS both run on iPhones, so if you have two iPhones, you can run a food truck with Table Needs. If one of those iPhones is an iPhone XS or later, you can download Apple’s free Tap to Pay app, and you won’t even need to connect a peripheral card reader. Alternatively, you can lease hardware from Table Needs; it includes hardware in three of its four subscription packages. 

One-on-One assistance

If you are just opening your food truck business, Table Needs offers one-on-one assistance to configure your POS, online ordering, reporting, menus, and more. Users get a free 30-minute consultation with a Table Needs specialist who can even help you obtain the correct permits and licenses for your area. Considering how widely food truck regulations can vary from place to place, this service can be invaluable for new truck owners. 

Sales tax automation

Via an integration with Davos, your Table Needs POS will automatically calculate and collect the sales tax you owe to local municipalities. It can also file and pay the sales tax you owe directly to the appropriate authority, saving you administrative time and ensuring you don’t forget to pay your sales tax. 

  • Pricing: 4.11
  • Hardware: 4.67
  • Software features: 4.17
  • Support & reliability: 4.58
  • User experience: 3.75
  • Average user review scores: 5.00

Table Needs is a relative newcomer, but it is founded by food and beverage experts who operate their own food businesses. As larger POS brands like SpotOn have moved away from truck businesses, it’s exciting to see new brands stepping in with right-size solutions for truck businesses.

If you find Table Needs cost-prohibitive, try Toast. It has similar features but a considerably lower price tag.

Table Needs fills a unique niche for food trucks, offering individualized services up to assisting with securing permits and licenses. For new food truck businesses, Table Needs’ one-on-one personal support can be the difference between success and failure in your first year of business.

Table Needs was founded in 2019 by a group of restaurant industry workers. This recent industry experience is demonstrated by the Table Needs team’s insightful solutions for mobile food and beverage businesses. More than any other system on this list, Table Needs provides comprehensive services, including personalized assistance in securing the necessary permits to run your business. 

Clover: Best for flexible hardware


Pros

  • Cellular- and Wi-Fi-enabled hardware
  • Free loyalty tools included
  • Durable hardware

Cons

  • Customer service terms can vary 
  • Reporting is not as detailed as competitors
  • Pricing can get complicated
Clover logo.

Our Rating: 3.85/5

Clover’s software prices vary based on your preferred hardware selection. Each hardware comes with the upfront cost for the hardware itself plus monthly software fees. The software fees vary for each hardware device based on the number of employee profiles you need and how detailed you want your reports to be. Food trucks can expect to pay anywhere from $0 (for using a basic Clover Go reader) to more than $130 per month (for using a Clover Mini device with advanced reporting). We’ve listed the most popular Clover hardware for food trucks to give you an idea of what to expect. 

Clover Mini Clover Flex Clover Go
Hardware
Upfront price $799 $599 $49
Monthly software fee From $90–$130 $35–$85 $0–$14.95
Payment processing fees
In-person: 2.60% + 10 cents
Online: 3.5% + 10 cents

Clover also offers options for monthly fees to cover both a hardware lease and a software license. And once you reach a certain level of monthly fees, your business may be eligible for lower processing rates. Clover’s pricing is flexible, but it can also be confusing for beginning truck owners. The contract terms will vary based on where you purchase your Clover POS. To get a firm idea of what you might spend on a Clover POS, it is best to contact Clover or a Clover reseller for a custom quote. 

User-friendly loyalty

All Clover subscriptions come with Clover’s excellent loyalty program, so trucks can surprise and delight repeat customers with reward points or the occasional freebie. Many competing systems charge extra for loyalty programs. 

Excellent mobility

Most Clover hardware can connect to cellular or Wi-Fi data networks. The hardware also includes insightful details like built-in card readers and receipt printers that save space in the tight quarters of a food truck. Clover’s handheld POS devices are also compact and industry-grade. 

Built-in invoice tools 

Clover invoicing tools are great for managing special events like weddings and off-site catering. You can email invoices and receive payments online, so you’re never waiting on a check at the end of a busy night. 

  • Pricing: 3.39
  • Hardware: 3.96
  • Software features: 3.75
  • Support & reliability: 3.75
  • User experience: 4.38
  • Average user review scores: 3.90

Like Square, Clover is popular with food trucks. The robust hardware and multiple connectivity options make Clover an excellent choice for many trucks. Clover includes loyalty tools in most baseline POS subscriptions, which can be key to turning first-time truck customers into long-term regular customers who keep trucks in business.

While Clover is a solid solution for a food truck POS, its reporting is somewhat lacking. If you need robust reporting to better understand your business’s ins and outs, we recommend trying Square. Its reporting tools are quite thorough and available without any additional fees. 

Read more: Best retail POS systems

Clover is a mobile-first POS that operates on Clover’s excellent, industry-grade hardware. Clover is owned by the payment processor Fiserv, which licenses the POS to several merchant service providers that operate on the Fiserv network. Clover users are as likely to purchase their Clover system from their local bank as they are to purchase directly from the Clover website. Where you purchase this system matters; the contract length and customer support hours can vary based on your reseller. 

TouchBistro: Best for ease of use


Pros

  • Incredibly user-friendly
  • Multiple mobile configurations
  • Strong offline mode

Cons

  • No free baseline subscription
  • Hardware requires a custom quote
  • TouchBistro Payments
Logo of TouchBistro

Our Rating: 3.71/5

TouchBistro pricing starts at $69 per station monthly for software for a single POS. If you need more than a single POS device, TouchBistro will give you a custom quote. Add-on modules are available for loyalty ($99), marketing ($99), online ordering ($50), and more. 

Contracts are typically a year, and new users must commit to using TouchBistro Payments. Unlike the other competitors on this list, TouchBistro Payments is custom-quoted, unlike the others, which publicly list their baseline rates. 

Multiple mobile configuration options

You can self-install TouchBistro using one of its detailed configuration guides. The system operates on iPads that can be networked together in single—or multi-station configurations, with optional kitchen display screens and customer-facing displays. 

Operates on local network

TouchBistro operates on a local network inside your truck. Once your system is installed, your POS devices will communicate with one another to process sales without an internet connection. 

Incredibly user-friendly

TouchBistro can be run entirely from the POS device. You can add ingredients to your inventory from the POS device, use your POS as a time clock, and view reports on the screen. You don’t need to commit to sitting in a back office to manage menu items, modifiers, or employee time cards. 

  • Pricing: 2.50
  • Hardware: 3.42
  • Software features: 4.17
  • Support & reliability: 3.75
  • User experience: 4.38
  • Average user review scores: 4.03

New users can learn TouchBistro in record time and you can manage your whole operation from a single iPad. The user-friendliness of this POS can simply not be overstated. It is great for beginning truck owners who want a POS that is easy to use and configure. With strong offline mode, you won’t lose sales if you lose an internet connection. 

TouchBistro is an iPad-based cloud POS designed specifically for food and beverage businesses. This system more closely matches an iOS operating system than any other on this list, which dramatically reduces staff training time. Anyone who has used an iPhone can learn TouchBistro in no time. All of the TouchBistro POS devices are locally networked to one another, which gives you full functionality when you lose internet connectivity. 

Key features of a food truck POS system

A POS system for food trucks helps truckers streamline and grow their business in several ways. A POS can help you market your truck, grow sales, and even manage staff. 

A strong food truck POS should have most of these features:

  • Strong mobility: Food trucks operate on city streets and rural party locations. A food truck POS should have cellular and Wi-Fi capabilities so you never lose the ability to process payments. 
  • Offline mode: When you lose a cellular or Wi-Fi signal, your food truck POS should have a robust offline mode that vaults card information to run once you regain connectivity. 
  • Speedy payment processing: Payment processing is one of the main benefits of a food truck POS system. Customers who pay with cards or digital wallets tend to spend more, and they will remember how convenient it was to buy from your truck. 
  • User-friendly interface: Food trucks can get incredibly busy. Your food truck POS needs to be easy to read and use accurately to reduce order errors and keep orders flowing. 
  • Menu management: Food truck menus tend to be streamlined, but your POS should also support easy modifications like burger cook temps or combo meals. 
  • Detailed reporting: Reports from your food truck POS can show you what sells when sales happen, and lists of your most frequent customers. They also help you identify high-performing staff members. The reports provide data that can help you streamline and grow your food truck at a faster rate than trucks without a POS system. 
  • Customer relationship management: Logging customer information like purchase history and contact details can help you refine your menu and feed your marketing efforts. 
  • Marketing: Marketing is a must-do task for successful food trucks. The best food truck POS systems include built-in email and text marketing tools that turn your customer data into filterable email lists so you can target customers based on location or preferences. 
  • Online ordering: Increasingly food trucks bolster business by welcoming online sales. This can help you arrange pre-ordering before your truck opens for the day, or drive business during inclement weather. 
  • Inventory management: A food truck POS can track the quantity of each dish you sell in a certain shift, even automatically disabling order buttons when you sell out. Advanced food truck POS systems will track ingredients as you sell and prompt you to place re-supply orders when stock runs low. 
  • Employee management: Most food truck POS systems act as your time clock, logging employee hours worked for payroll. Many will also track tips and help you manage tip sharing and tip pools. Some include scheduling tools so you can build your staff schedule directly in your POS back office dashboard. 
  • Self-ordering tools: Whether via QR codes or streamlined kiosk software, most food truck POS systems offer some form of self-ordering for customers. This can help food trucks boost sales through business rushes (and staff shortages). 

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing food business technology. In the near future, we expect to see food truck POS systems develop AI tools for voice ordering and even more detailed self-ordering, marketing, and reporting tools. 

Read more: Types of POS systems

Choosing the right POS for your business

The best POS systems for food trucks are affordable for small trucks and able to scale for successful trucks that grow into fleets or brick-and-mortar restaurants. Costs vary—as little as $0 or up to $200 per month—based on your needs and the type of hardware you choose. The expense can be well worth it;  food truck POS enables you to accept the digital payments customers like to use and helps you grow your business through streamlining orders and expanding into revenue centers like online ordering. 

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FAQs

Food truck POS systems can cost as little as $0 per month for software, up to more than $200, depending on the software tools a truck needs. Many cloud-based food truck POS systems only users processing fees for card and digital payments. Typically, there are no processing fees for cash sales. 

Most food truck POS systems run on consumer-grade hardware like iPads and smartphones, which can further reduce costs. If you purchase industry-grade hardware for your food truck, you can expect to pay from $200 to $1,000 for a touch-screen POS device with a card reader.

A food truck POS system is a combination of hardware and software that rings in sales and processes payments. It is like a cloud-based, high-functioning cash register that includes reporting and analysis tools to help food trucks optimize their business. 

A food truck POS system keeps orders organized and makes it easy to process the digital payments that customers prefer to use. It typically also improves order accuracy and reduces theft. Through reporting, a food truck POS can also show you opportunities to improve your menu, hours of operation, or staffing levels. Some food truck POS systems can also help you track inventory and prepare vendor orders. 


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