This article is part of a larger series on POS Systems.
Food trucks need software that works in an internet dead zone and hardware that can withstand the rigors of the road. The best food truck POS systems allow you to update your menu remotely, market your truck to new customers, and track your sales and costs. You don’t have to break the bank to get a food truck POS. The systems on this list range in starting price from $0 to $69 per month.
Based on our evaluations, the five best food truck POS systems are:
- Square for Restaurants: Best overall food truck POS
- SpotOn: Best for customizable software
- Toast: Best for high-volume trucks and multi-truck fleets
- TouchBistro: Best for ease of use
- Rezku: Best for free marketing and loyalty
Can you run a food truck without a POS? If you don’t plan to grow your business much, sure. But if you want to accept the credit, contactless, and mobile payments that customers prefer, increase your speed of service, streamline your marketing efforts, and bust through lines quickly, a POS is a must.
Top Food Truck POS Compared
Minimum monthly fee
Handheld terminal options
Available payment processors
SpotOn and undisclosed third-party processors
TouchBistro Payments, TSYS, Square
In-person processing fee
2.6% + 10 cents
1.99% + 20 cents; 2.99% + 20 cents for AMEX and corporate cards
2.49% + 15 cents
Varies based on processor
Interchange + 0.20% + 15 cents
How We Evaluated Food Truck POS Systems
We compared over a dozen of the most popular POS systems based on what’s important to food truck operators, including price, mobility, offline functionality, general point-of-sale functions, and ease of use. We also considered our retail and restaurant experts’ evaluations of each software to arrive at a total score.
Square for Restaurants is the best food truck POS based on our scoring criteria. According to our grading system for food truck software, Square earned a score of 4.63 out of 5. Based on our personal experience testing different POS software and working in and with food trucks, Square is also one of the top POS software that we personally recommend for food trucks. This cost-effective system also frequently appears on our lists of the best restaurant POS systems.
Click through the tabs below for our in-depth evaluation criteria:
30% of Overall Score
First, we looked at whether or not each software offers a free plan, free trial, and a plan option under $75 monthly. Food truck menus tend to be priced to sell, which means tight operating margins. We considered whether the system operates on readily available hardware like iPads or requires purchasing proprietary tablets.
20% of Overall Score
30% of Overall Score
Successful food trucks are all about marketing. So we looked for systems that include built-in customer management, email marketing, and social media integration tools. We considered available order streams from in-person to online and contactless ordering, and looked for integrated kitchen display systems that can save printer paper.
20% of Overall Score
Square for Restaurants: Best Overall Food Truck POS
Square for Restaurants is an iPad POS designed to support food and beverage businesses. This POS operates on the incredibly popular Square Payments platform and does not require long-term contracts. Square for Restaurants offers three subscription tiers, including a Free tier that is optimized for microbusinesses like food trucks. The Free subscription has only what trucks need—no fussy table layouts, course numbers, or credit card pre-authorizations. The system lets you create a menu, ring in orders, process payments, and track your sales data with easy-to-use reports. With Square for Restaurants, truck owners won’t pay for tools they don’t use.
Square for Restaurants is also incredibly easy to set up. If you have an iPad and card reader (which Square will send you for free), you can get started taking orders and payments in a single afternoon. All you need to do is create a Square account, connect a bank account, and download the POS app from the Apple App Store.
Square for Restaurants earned a 4.63 out of 5 on our food truck POS scoring criteria. This system was the only system that earned a perfect score for price. Beyond its Free subscription, it also offers a 30-day free trial of higher subscription tiers and allows you to bring your own hardware. It also earned a perfect score from our experts, scoring well from our in-house team and earning high marks from users. Square only lost points because some features—like marketing tools—require extra fees, and it only supports a single payment processor. If you want some options for payment processing, you’ll prefer TouchBistro.
Square for Restaurants Standout Features
Square for Restaurants excels as a POS for small operations. It includes all the tools you absolutely need while hosting a wealth of integrated features you can opt in to. For example, if you need marketing support, staff management, and scheduling tools; invoicing for event clients; contactless ordering tools; or an online ordering site, Square has you covered. Some modules (like team management) require additional monthly fees, while others (like email marketing) are priced based on use volume.
Square for Restaurants’ standout features include:
- No long-term contracts: Unlike the other systems on this list, Square does not require a long-term contract from POS users. This is an excellent fit for seasonal trucks or growing truck operations that need to move to a higher subscription tier or a different POS system.
- Use on unlimited devices: Square for Restaurant’s Free subscription allows you to operate the POS on an unlimited number of devices. Square is currently the only restaurant POS brand we’ve encountered that allows this. So you can operate with a single iPad on slow days or add another three devices if business picks up.
- Cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity: Your Square POS can communicate through any Wi-Fi network with an internet speed of 25 megabytes per second. If you are out of Wi-Fi range, you can get these speeds through a mobile hot spot or an LTE-enabled mobile router from your cellular provider.
- Integrated invoices for catering trucks: Many food trucks do major business in private events like weddings. Square Invoices—which integrates with Square’s POS products—keeps your catering deposits organized and processes payments for large events. Square says that over 75% of Square invoices are paid within 24 hours. Square Invoices is free to use; the only cost is a slightly higher payment processing rate of 2.9% + 30 cents for invoices paid online. Square is the only system on this list that includes built-in invoicing tools.
- Text and email marketing: New food trucks need to make a splash when they open, and established trucks need a loyal fan base to survive. Square’s Email Marketing and Text Marketing tools allow you to easily collect customer contact information and send email or text promotions to capture their attention. Built-in message templates give your emails polish and speed the marketing process. The system also tracks the sales associated with each campaign so you can see which messages bring in the most business. Pricing is based on the number of messages you send, ranging from $15 to $25 per month for Email Marketing and $10 to $125 per month for Text Marketing.
- Free online ordering site: All Square accounts come with a free Square Online Store. You can use this to collect online orders (with or without delivery) or support a contactless QR code ordering system that allows customers to place orders and pay directly through their smartphones.
- Handheld Square Terminal: Square supports a pocket-sized payment device called Square Terminal that allows you to process payments and print paper receipts from the palm of your hand. Food trucks with limited menus can also use the Terminal to process simple orders. However, if your menu is large or highly modified, you’ll be better off using an iPad in a mobile case as your handheld device.
Take a deeper dive into this system by reading our full Square for Restaurants POS review.
SpotOn: Best for Software Customization
SpotOn is a cloud-based POS that operates on Windows-based touch-screen tablets and SpotOn’s proprietary Sidekick handhelds. This user-friendly system requires a bit of lead time to set up because every screen is customized to your needs. You can choose everything from the format of speed order screens to how your SpotOn system splits checks, handles tips, and lists and charges for modifiers. SpotOn also allows you to set different prices for each item when it is paid by cash or credit card. So you can recoup credit card fees by building them into your baseline prices and offering a discount for cash payments.
This level of customization requires the SpotOn team to arrange your initial menu screens and POS configuration; unlike with Square or TouchBistro, you cannot self-install this system. On the other hand, this level of support is incredibly welcome if you lack the bandwidth for a DIY job and would rather have someone else set up your POS order screens and modifiers.
SpotOn earned a 4.28 out of 5 on our food truck ranking. The system earned high marks for its mobility and payments processing; the cellular-enabled SideKick device definitely scored some points. This system is also incredibly well-reviewed by its users. SpotOn lost some points for its less robust inventory tools (if you need robust built-in inventory, try Toast) and because full pricing, including hardware and installation, requires a custom quote.
SpotOn Standout Features
SpotOn is not exactly a new POS—it has been supporting food and beverage businesses since 2018 when it bought EmaginePOS. Its popularity has grown immensely since 2020, and it grew its industry presence by leap and bounds with its November 2021 purchase of Appetize POS. Users rate this system favorably across the board, with nearly every review mentioning the extremely knowledgeable and accessible SpotOn support team. If you are a little technophobic or lack the bandwidth to do a lot of back-office tinkering, SpotOn will be a perfect fit.
SpotOn’s standout features include:
- Cellular-enabled terminals: SpotOn’s food truck POS operates on its cellular-enabled Sidekick handheld terminals. These terminals include a built-in receipt printer and card reader and they communicate to Bluetooth kitchen printers on your truck. You can use the Sidekicks on the truck itself, or use them outside your truck to line bust. Because they are cellular-enabled, you can accept orders and payments anywhere you get a cell signal.
- Marketing and loyalty: Like Square, SpotOn has robust marketing and loyalty tools. You can track customers’ order histories and award loyalty points. Built-in email templates allow you to send polished promotional messages. You can send marketing emails directly from any internet-enabled device, even a smartphone. SpotOn’s marketing tools are included in the baseline POS; loyalty incurs an additional fee of $45 per month.
- Reputation management: With a food truck, your reputation is everything. SpotOn’s reputation management tools track your customer ratings and reviews on sites from Yelp to TripAdvisor. You can respond to reviews directly from your SpotOn dashboard.
- Integrated online ordering: Like Square, SpotOn includes a fully integrated online ordering site. You can throttle the pace on your online ordering site so you receive fewer online orders during busy times. You can also use this site to organize pre-orders for pickup or offer orders and payments via a QR code.
- Cash discount setting: You can set separate prices for each menu item that cover your credit card processing fees. When a customer chooses to pay with cash, their check will automatically be discounted by your processing amount. You need to enter the percentage difference in one place, and SpotOn will automatically apply the discount. This helps small trucks offset the expense of accepting credit card payments. SpotOn is one of two systems on this list that offer a Cash Discount option; Rezku is the other.
Toast: Best for High-volume Trucks & Multi-truck Fleets
Toast is a hybrid POS system built exclusively for restaurants. Like SpotOn, Toast operates on industry-grade touch-screen tablets and handheld devices. Toast’s hardware is IP-rated to withstand drops, heat, and water penetration. This is ideal for busy trucks where your hardware can take a beating. Toast also offers Pay-as-You-Go options for software fees and hardware purchases, so smaller trucks can get started for no upfront costs and add tools as they grow.
If your truck grows to a multi-truck fleet, Toast also has you covered. The system includes integrated ingredient-level inventory tracking with vendor management to help keep your trucks supplied. Built-in team management makes it a breeze to schedule crews for various trucks. Deep reporting and analytics identify top-performing (and low-performing) menu items so you can adjust in real time and keep growing your bottom line.
Toast earned a 4.15 out of 5 on our food truck POS scoring system. It earned a perfect score for niche food truck functions like ingredient level inventory tracking, included kitchen display system (KDS) options and robust marketing tools. It lost some points for requiring a two-year contract and for only supporting a single payment processor—Toast Payments—but it is the built-in processing that supports Toast’s Pay-as-You-Go options. If you need a robust POS for low to no upfront costs, you can opt to pay higher processing rates to get the necessary tools.
Toast Standout Features
Toast offers POS software at three subscription tiers to support trucks of all sizes. Small truck operations will likely start with the Pay-as-You-Go software package for $0 per month. The only cost for the Starter software is Toast’s payment processing fees, which start at 2.49% + 15 cents for in-person transactions. This rate is comparable to Square, which charges a higher percentage rate, but a lower flat rate of 2.6% + 10 cents per in person transaction. This package only supports up to two terminals, however. So as your truck fleet grows, you’ll want to look at the Essentials ($165 per month) or Growth ($272 per month) plans.
Unlike Square, however, Toast subscribers can add up to two Pay-as-You-Go stationary Toast Flex terminals and pay for them with credit card fees. Customers that would rather pay upfront for their hardware can get the Starter Kit terminal for $799. If you want marketing tools but aren’t yet ready to make the leap to a Growth subscription, you can add marketing and loyalty tools for an additional 0.40% in payment processing fees.
In addition to accessible hardware, Toast’s standout features include:
- Industry-grade hardware: It might be a bummer to hear that you can’t use an iPad to run Toast on your food truck. But high-volume truck operations will be glad to know that Toast’s hardware is designed to withstand heavy use in hot (and spill-prone) kitchen environments. Toast is the only system on this list that publicizes its hardware’s Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Toast’s terminals have an IP-54 rating, meaning they can withstand dust and steam penetration and operate at temperatures from 40 to 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Apple does not list an IP rating for iPads and recommends operating between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pay-as-You-Go options: Toast users that only need one to two terminals can use Toast’s Pay-as-You-Go POS with no monthly software fees. You can also roll in a complete Toast stationary terminal with a terminal, cash drawer, card reader, and router for a higher processing fee. If you want to add Toast’s marketing, loyalty, and digital ordering tools to a pay-as-you-go plan, they are available for an additional 0.40% in card processing fees.
- Dynamic handheld terminals: Toast’s Toast Go 2 handheld is one of the most comprehensive handheld POS terminals available. The large touch screen is easy to read and navigate. It can take orders; process swiped, dipped, and tapped payments; and alert your staff when orders are ready. The Toast Go 2 has a 24-hour battery life and is water-resistant and drop-proof.
- Food and beverage-focused software: Toast was developed with food and beverage businesses in mind, so everything from the sales reporting to ingredient tracking fits food trucks. You can track tips by employee and inventory by ingredient level, and see which menu items make you the most money at a glance.
- Toast Order and Pay: Toast Order and Pay is a QR-code-based digital ordering tool. This feature allows customers to scan a QR code to place an order and pay directly from their personal smartphones for a fully contactless experience. This is an excellent solution for staff-strapped trucks.
- Marketing and loyalty: Toast’s add-on loyalty and marketing modules allow food truck operators to email customers with customized promotions like birthday offers in addition to a traditional loyalty points program. Pay-as-you-go Starter subscribers can add these features, along with online ordering and gift cards for an additional 0.40% per transaction.
Explore more Toast features by reading our full Toast POS review.
TouchBistro: Best for Ease of Use
TouchBistro is a cloud-based iPad restaurant POS. This self-installable system uses iPads as POS terminals, KDS screens, self-ordering kiosks, and handheld devices. So a few iPads give you a wealth of hardware options. TouchBistro’s user interface is built in the iOS operating system and operates with the same expandable menu format as an iPhone. So anyone who has used an iPhone can learn TouchBistro quickly. Several reviews specifically mention that new employees learned to use this POS in a single afternoon.
This incredibly user-friendly system also offers several options for payment processing. Users can choose to rely on the built-in TouchBistro Payments, TSYS, or Square. You set up TouchBistro yourself, following one of TouchBistro’s detailed tutorials. The system has several options for mobile configurations using LTE-enabled routers.
TouchBistro scored a 4.08 out of 5 on our food truck POS criteria. It earned a perfect score on mobility and payments (like competitor SpotOn). TouchBistro supports multiple payment processors, alongside high-functioning cellular-enabled hardware configurations. It lost some points for a slightly clunky inventory system (if you want world-class inventory tools, see Toast) and its upfront price. At $69 per terminal per month, TouchBistro doesn’t break the bank, but it’s hard to compete with systems like Toast and Square that offer free baseline subscriptions.
TouchBistro Standout Features
If you want a system that your team will learn in a snap, TouchBistro is a great fit. The system uses iPads to their full capacity, as POS terminals, handheld order and payment devices, KDS screens, and self-ordering kiosks. The only hardware peripheral TouchBistro misses is a pocket-sized handheld device like Square’s Terminal, Toast’s Toast Go 2, or SpotOn’s Sidekick. A handheld iPad is heavier and less drop-resistant than a purpose-built handheld. But it gives you more screen room for menu buttons, which can speed orders. So it all depends on your personal preferences.
TouchBistro’s standout features include:
- Flexible hardware: With TouchBistro, it is easy to format iPads as POS terminals, KDS screens, tableside order and payment devices, or self-ordering kiosks. Some configurations come with additional monthly fees; self-service kiosks are an additional $69 per month. Though tableside ordering functions are included in the baseline price, KDS screens only cost the price of the necessary hardware. You can also add integrated digital menu screens for $20 per month, though these are less appealing to trucks that travel and require generators for electricity.
- Upsell prompts: Your TouchBistro POS will generate popular upsell combinations as cashiers ring in orders. So you’ll never miss a chance to sell a side of guacamole or fries when it will improve your customer experience.
- Comprehensive training resources: TouchBistro offers 24/7 customer support via phone, webchat, or email and also maintains a detailed online database of training materials. Whether you need a detailed installation diagram to guide you through activating a new printer or a basic rundown of how to process end-of-day reports, TouchBistro has you covered.
- Familiar user interface: TouchBistro’s user interface is incredibly intuitive. The POS designers did not stray from a standard iOS format unless absolutely necessary. So anyone who has ever used an iPhone will easily pick up TouchBistro.
Take a closer look at this system by reading our full TouchBistro POS review.
Rezku: Best for Free Marketing & Loyalty
Rezku is a cloud-based POS that operates on iPads and iPad minis. Unlike the other systems on this list, Rezku includes marketing, loyalty, and gift cards in the baseline POS. Even small truck operations can offer a points-based loyalty program at no extra cost. Like Square, Rezku also includes online ordering for free. Like SpotOn, Rezku has a cash discount setting that allows you to pass credit card fees onto customers to offset your costs.
Rezku earned a 4 out of 5 on our food truck POS scoring criteria. It earned points for the sheer volume of tools included in the baseline POS. Coupons, loyalty, online ordering, gift cards, and more are included in the Rezku system with no extra fees. Rezku lost some points because it doesn’t offer a free baseline plan or free trial, and like all the systems other than TouchBistro and SpotOn, Rezku only offers one payment processing option.
Rezku Standout Features
Rezku POS works via mobile hot spots and mobile data-enabled iPads, so the system works even when you don’t have a great Wi-Fi signal. If you need it, the system also has a robust offline mode. Credit card transactions received in offline mode are saved for up to three days and will automatically process once you regain a strong internet or LTE connection. The basic Rezku system does not require installation fees, and it includes several functions like online ordering and customer loyalty that other platforms charge for. You can purchase Rezku hardware with iPads, or you can bring your own compatible iOS devices.
Rezku’s standout features include:
- Cash discount option: Like SpotOn, Rezku supports a unique function called Cash Discount. This feature automatically applies a 3%-4% discount to checks that are paid in cash. Customers that pay with credit, debit, or mobile wallets do not receive the discount, which essentially passes the credit card processing fees on to the customer check. If processing fees are a hurdle for your truck, this feature can offset some of your costs.
- Contactless ordering: Like Square, Rezku includes a custom-branded online ordering site in the basic POS subscription, so you can toggle on digital orders if foot traffic is low. You can also use the online ordering tools to support contactless QR code orders and payments.
- Marketing and loyalty: Rezku includes rewards points tracking, personalized email campaigns, and text reminders to prompt your customers to become superfans. Rezku also includes branded digital and physical gift cards in the Basic POS, unlike any other competitor on this list. Rezku’s marketing and loyalty features are the most robust free tools available in an affordable food truck POS.
See what else this system has to offer by reading our full Rezku POS review.
Square for Restaurants received the highest score across our food truck POS grading system for its affordability, flexibility, and mobility features. With invoicing, text and email marketing, and a variety of hardware, you can configure this POS to fit any food truck style. Square can also grow with your business as it expands or your needs change. The lack of a long-term contract makes Square for Restaurants a low-risk option for new or seasonal food trucks. To see if Square is a fit for your food truck, visit Square to get started taking orders and payments for free.