The best point-of-sale (POS) system for a food truck is one that helps you run your truck efficiently and affordably. I’ve used many POS for food trucks over the years, and have seen an increase in functionality going hand in hand with decreasing prices—so now is a good time to look for a food truck POS. Though there is a big challenge to finding the best POS for food trucks; a lot of big POS brands have stopped supporting food trucks.
I evaluated dozens of popular POS systems based on my experience working on food trucks. I also sought input from my colleagues with food truck experience to get their takes. According to our evaluations, the four best food truck POS systems are:
- Square: Best overall food truck POS and best for beginners
- TouchBistro: Best for easy staff training
- Toast: Best for catering trucks and fleets
- Clover: Best for mobility and trucks operating via cellular networks
Top Food Truck POS Systems Compared
Minimum Monthly Software Fees
Marketing and Loyalty
Ease of Use
From 2.6% + 10 cents
Excellent (Pay as you go)
From 2.49% + 15 cents
From 2.30% + 10 cents
Square for Restaurants: Best Overall Food Truck POS & Best for Beginners
- Square is the only payment processor
- Ingredient-level inventory requires a third-party integration
- Free POS only supports one set of user permissions
What We Like
Square’s POS system has long been a popular choice for food trucks—largely thanks to its smartphone-compatible card reader that makes accepting card payments incredibly easy. More than half of the food truck operators I know currently rely on Square. Food truck beginners can set up their Square POS in a single day and start processing sales right away.
Square offers built-in processing, works on Wi-Fi or cellular signals, and best of all, works on hardware you already own. You can also get pay-as-you-go invoicing and marketing tools to enhance and grow your food truck business. If you are a high-volume food truck, Square also supports excellent handheld terminals and kitchen display system (KDS) screens.
Square’s POS system earned 4.28 out of 5 on our food truck POS scoring criteria. There’s really nothing Square can’t do for a food truck. But if you run a truck fleet or run your truck as an extension of your catering company or restaurant business, you might prefer Toast. Trucks with high turnover might prefer the extremely user-friendly TouchBistro to speed training new staff. But truly, you can rarely go wrong with Square.
- Three subscription tiers:
- Free: $0
- Pro: $60
- Premium: Custom quote
- Hardware costs: From $59 for a contactless and chip card reader to $1,389 for a full restaurant POS station Kit with iPad stand, cash drawer, card reader, Square Terminal, receipt printer, and kitchen printer
- One-time Installation fees: $0; Square is self-installed, but you can request on-site installation assistance starting at $600.
- Processing fees: 2.6% + 10 cents for in-person transactions, 2.9% + 30 cents for online payments, 3.3% + 30 cents for invoice transactions, and 3.5% + 15 cents per transaction for manually keying in a customer’s credit card
@Rest Stand for iPad Mini Kit
Square Stand Kit
iPad Mini case, attachable Tap and Dip card reader, and mobile thermal printer
Tap and Dip enabled iPad Stand, cash drawer
Add a thermal receipt printer for $89
Handheld touch-screen order and payment device with integrated receipt printer
Contactless and Chip Card Reader
- Free POS
The baseline Square for Restaurants point-of-sale subscription (which is all most food trucks will need) has no monthly software fees. All you pay are transaction fees on digital payments; there are no fees for cash sales.
- No long-term contracts
Unlike Toast, TouchBistro, or Clover, Square does not require a long-term contract. This is an excellent fit for seasonal trucks or trucks that operate only on weekends or holidays.
- Pay-as-you-go marketing
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. 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. You only pay for what you use.
- Food Truck Pub integration
Square offers free-to-access mobile and web management order software for food truck owners. The cost of the service is a $1 convenience fee per order. This integration does more than process online orders; it also shows your truck location on a map, so nearby foodies can find you.
- Square Invoices
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.
- 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 hotspot or an LTE-enabled mobile router from your cellular provider.
Toast: Best for Catering & Truck Fleets
- Locked into Toast Payments
- May be more tools than small trucks need
- Requires two-year contract
What We Like
Toast is a hybrid POS system built exclusively for restaurants. Like Clover, Toast operates on industry-grade touch-screen tablets and handheld devices. Toast’s hardware is IP-rated to withstand drops, heat, and water penetration—making it ideal for busy trucks where your hardware can take a beating.
Toast also includes built-in invoicing tools to allow catering and event-heavy trucks to bill customers accurately. I’ve loved using Toast in several restaurants, and have seen their recently added catering tools in action. I am constantly impressed by the Toast team. Their food industry expertise shows in all their tools, including their excellent user knowledge base that includes a catalog of videos and guides to help new food truck owners learn new skills from managing food costs to marketing.
Toast earned a 4.18 out of 5 on our food truck POS scoring system. It earned a perfect score for niche food truck functions, like kitchen display system (KDS) options and robust marketing tools. It lost some points for requiring a two-year contract and only supporting a single payment processor (Toast Payments). The built-in processing supports Toast’s Pay-as-You-Go options, which allow you to get started for $0 upfront by paying higher processing fees. If lowering your processing fees is your primary concern, though, you may prefer Clover.
- Monthly Software subscription fee:
- Quick Start Bundle/Pay-As-You-Go – $0
- Core – $69
- Growth – $165
- Build Your Own- Custom Quote Needed
- Hardware costs: $0 for the Pay-as-You-Go Starter kits; pay-upfront options available
- One-time Installation fees: $0 for self-installation; $250 for guided installation
- Processing fees:
- Standard – 2.49% + 15 cents per in-person transaction
- Pay-As-You-Go – 2.99% + 15 cents per in-person transaction
- Pay-As-You-Go with Marketing tools – 3.39% + 15 cents per in-person transaction
Toast Go 2 Handheld Kit
Guest Self-Service Kit
Toast Flex for Kitchen
Upfront price: $627*
Pay-as-You-Go: $0, add additional 0.50% to your processing fees
Upfront price: $875
Pay-as-You-Go: $0, add additional 0.50% to your processing fees
Pay-as-You-Go: $0, add additional 0.50% to your processing fees
Upfront price*: $499
Mobile handheld POS terminal, wireless access point
POS terminal that can flip and adjust in multiple positions
POS terminal that can adjust into multiple positions with guest-facing terminal
Swivel-stand orders system for food truck kitchens to use during operation
*No Pay-as-You-Go option available
- Industry-grade hardware
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 Quick Start Bundle subscription 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.
- 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. It’s great for busting long food truck lines and keeping orders flowing during a rush.
- Invoicing tools
Toast includes invoicing tools built into the POS. So if you handle catering orders or cater private events with your truck, you can create invoices in your Toast POS and track large order payments from initial deposit to final balance.
- Marketing and loyalty
Toast’s add-on loyalty and marketing modules support custom email messages and a traditional loyalty points program. Starter Kit subscribers can add these features—along with online ordering and gift cards—for an additional 0.40% per transaction.
- Inventory by xtraChef
In 2021, Toast purchased the restaurant inventory tool xtraChef. This comprehensive inventory software logs recipes, manages vendors, tracks food cost and supply usage in real time, and syncs with your accounts payable system to ensure you never miss an invoice. It also includes scan-to-enter invoice management and a smartphone app for taking physical inventory counts. This is an excellent tool for fleets and trucks that run as part of a larger catering operation.
TouchBistro: Best for Easy Staff Training
- Locked into TouchBistro Payments
- Higher baseline price than others on the list
- Hardware pricing and payment processing rates require a custom quote
- Built-in ingredient-level inventory requires administrative time to update
What We Like
TouchBistro is a cloud-based iPad restaurant POS that offers an incredibly intuitive iOS-based user interface similar to an iPhone. Anyone who has used an iPhone can pick up TouchBistro. Several reviews specifically mention that new employees learned to use this POS in a single afternoon. I’ve had staff take longer to memorize the restaurant phone number than learn how to use TouchBistro.
The system is self-installable, with several options for mobile configurations using LTE-enabled routers. TouchBistro includes detailed installation instructions on its online knowledge base.
TouchBistro earned a 3.99 out of 5 on our food truck POS criteria, excelling in mobility and ease of use. It lost some points for a slightly clunky ingredient-level inventory system (if you want world-class inventory tools, you’ll need to pay extra) and its upfront price. At $69 per terminal monthly, TouchBistro doesn’t break the bank, but it’s hard to compete with systems like Toast and Square that offer free baseline subscriptions.
Since Our Last Update:
As of July 2023, TouchBistro no longer supports third-party payment processors and will exclusively work with its own payment processor (TouchBistro Payments Powered by Chase) for new POS customers.
- Software subscription fee: $69 per terminal monthly
- Hardware costs: Custom-quoted
- One-time Installation fees: $0; this system is self-installed
- Processing fees: Custom-quoted rates
Kitchen Display System
Customer Display System
TouchBistro’s standard POS system for operation and order functionality. An iPad is used for this terminal.
KDS for back of house operations, can be used for operations organization in food trucks
Customer facing display for efficient and easy ordering
- Flexible hardware
With TouchBistro, it is easy to format iPads as POS terminals, KDS screens, or handheld order and payment devices. Some configurations come with additional monthly fees; you’ll need to check with TouchBistro for full pricing.
- Menu management
TouchBistro’s menu building interface is extremely user-friendly and cloud-based, so you can build a new menu screen on the go. The system also offers color-coded menu items to help your staff quickly navigate order screens. You can even add staff-facing detailed menu descriptors that allow your staff to tell the full story behind a dish.
- High mobility
TouchBistro includes multiple configurations for food trucks that operate with a single terminal up to trucks that need several terminals plus a KDS. Most configurations can use a cellular signal via an LTE-enabled router to run the whole system. TouchBistro offers some of the clearest self-installation instructions I’ve seen from a food truck POS.
- Self-installable & easy to use
The ability to install this on your own speaks to how easy a set-up with TouchBistro is. A lot of their features are designed in a user-friendly way, making this POS software great for those who want an easy experience for their team and for operating their business. The iOS-style design makes this software super friendly to anyone who has used an iPhone before.
Clover: Best for Mobility
- Reporting has limitations
- Inventory requires third-party integration
- Customer support varies depending on where you purchase your system
What We Like
Clover is an incredibly popular POS for food trucks; it is the second most common system you’ll see on food trucks after Square. That’s because Clover’s hardware can be configured with a merchant account by multiple businesses, such as your local bank. So it’s easy to find a Clover system offered by a seller you trust. Most Clover hardware is as happy to operate on a cellular network as on WiFi, and can spool payments offline when you lose any connection. So the system is both industry-grade and incredibly mobile, making a great fit for trucks that operate in rural areas.
Clover earned a 3.70 out of 5 on our food truck POS scoring criteria. It earned high marks for mobility and payments—Clover offers lower baseline processing fees than any system on this list. We also love that includes invoicing and loyalty in the baseline POS. But Clover suffers a bit when it comes to granular details like customer support. The quality of the support you receive and the overall fees you pay vary widely depending on where you purchase your Clover system. If robust customer support is your primary concern, Toast or TouchBistro will be better fits.
Clover pricing can be tricky to navigate. The monthly software fees tend to be tied to the hardware you choose to use. And you can purchase hardware with a monthly subscription or pay for the hardware upfront for a higher one-time fee and lower rates for software. If you opt for monthly payments, you will pay one combined fee for both your hardware and software.
Complicating things further, Clover offers two to three different service tiers that vary slightly from device to device. So your software fees will vary depending on whether you need Payments, Essentials, or Register functions.
Check out our guide to Clover POS pricing to learn more. But to get an accurate sense of your costs, contact a Clover sales representative. Know what hardware you need before you begin to get the most accurate estimate.
Upfront price*: $49 + $0 to $14.95 per month
Upfront price: $599 + $0 to $49.95 per month
Monthly price: $35 to $85
Upfront price: $799 + $44.95 to $84.95 per month
Monthly price: $90 to $130 per month
iOS and Android-compatible mobile card reader
Wifi & LTE compatible handheld POS order and payment device
Wifi & LTE compatible POS register with built-in thermal receipt printer
*No monthly price available
- Wide Availability
Clover is available directly from the Clover website, or through various Clover resellers. Resellers include banks and credit card processors that operate on the Fiserv network (Clover is owned by Fiserv). Resellers sell the Clover hardware with their merchant services pre-configured. This makes setting up your Clover system incredibly easy; in most cases, you can simply plug in your hardware and start processing payments.
But if you purchase through a reseller—like the bank where you do your business banking—check the fine print about customer service hours. The terms and conditions of your Clover POS account will vary depending on where you purchase your system.
- Strong Mobility
Nearly all of Clover’s industry-grade hardware can run on either Wi-Fi or cellular networks. The hardware is also industry-grade and low-profile, making it a great fit for food trucks. The hardware is incredibly mobile, doesn’t take up much room on a crowded truck, and can withstand high-volume use.
- Free Loyalty
Encouraging customer loyalty is not just for brick-and-mortar restaurants. Giving customers an incentive to follow and purchase from your truck can keep your bottom steady throughout the year. Clover includes free points-based loyalty tools so you can keep customers coming back (and retain their contact information for future marketing and promotions).
If you use your food truck for catering and special events, you’ll need invoicing tools. Clover includes invoicing through its virtual terminal. You can try the virtual terminal free for 30 days, then it’s just $14.95 per month thereafter. Processing fees for invoices paid online are 3.5% + 10 cents (though you can also choose to accept checks or in-person payments to reduce those fees).
Methodology: How We Evaluated Food Truck POS Systems
My colleagues and I scored dozens of the most popular mobile POS systems based on food truck priorities. We included cost, ease of use, and food truck-specific functions, like robust handheld hardware and invoicing tools. We also considered our restaurant and POS experts’ personal experiences using each system.
Click through the tabs below for our in-depth evaluation criteria:
20% 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
Food trucks are always on the move, so we looked for systems that operate on Wi-Fi and cellular networks. We awarded points to cloud-based systems that you can manage from any computer and looked for offline functionality and contactless payment options. We also looked for systems that support handheld order and payment devices to help bust through long truck lines and save precious truck real estate.
20% 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.
30% of Overall Score
Our readers told us that ease of use was a major deciding factor in their food truck POS selection process, so we scored what installation and customer support each system offers. We also considered whether systems are self-installable or include in-person installation. We rewarded systems with 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and web chat.
10% of Overall Score
Finally, we considered any standout features of each system and whether the software and hardware options offer a good overall value for its price. Since real-life users are the real experts, we noted each system’s user ratings on popular review sites. We also awarded points based on our personal experience interacting with the software and the company’s customer support.
Why You Can Trust Us
My colleagues and I update the ranking of the best POS systems for food trucks several times a year. So every food truck POS ranking builds on the expertise and first hand experience from all of us. Learn more about our direct experience with POS and food trucks below.
Mary King has worked in every type of food service business, from coffee shops and food trucks to full-service fine dining restaurants. With over 14 years of industry experience, she has used many POS systems in real-world food service businesses, including individual food trucks and truck fleets.
Ray Delucci has 10 years of food industry experience and has managed full-service restaurants, large events, and managed prep for food trucks in the Napa Valley. His experience in supplying food to different food trucks helps him to understand the flow needed for inventory and efficient customer transactions in a very competitive market.
Katie-Jay Simmons has over 10 years of experience in retail and hospitality settings, gaining valuable insights into customer service, operations, and management. In addition to her hands-on expertise, she has been reviewing retail and restaurant software for 2+ years.
Meaghan Brophy has 10-plus years of retail experience, during which she has operated a variety of cash registers and POS systems in different settings and applications. Since working in retail, Meaghan has 8-plus years of experience writing for retailers and 5-plus years of experience evaluating POS systems.
How to Choose a Food Truck POS System
Choosing the right food truck POS for your business is crucial for smooth operations and a positive customer experience. Follow these steps to find the best system for your food truck.
Step 1: Assess Your Needs
Start by assessing your specific needs as a food truck operator as well as the needs of your staff. Consider the list of features below to determine which functions are most important for your business and which you could do without. Think about your unique operational requirements, customer demands, market trends, and plans for future growth.
Step 2: Set a Budget
Establish a budget based on your financial capabilities. Consider both one-time expenses (hardware and installation) and ongoing costs (monthly software fees). Ensure the POS system you choose aligns with your budget and offers a pricing structure that fits your business model.
Step 3: Schedule Demos
With your needs and budget requirements in mind, schedule demos with several POS providers to get firsthand experience with their systems. Pay attention to each system’s ease of use, functionality, and speed, but also evaluate the quality of customer support offered by the provider. Be sure to ask questions about budget fit, included features, integrations, scalability, fees, and installation timelines.
Step 4: Compare Estimates
After the demos, the POS providers will typically send you an itemized estimate detailing the expected costs for software, hardware, and payment processing (if applicable). Carefully review the estimates, comparing not only the monthly costs but also contract terms, installation fees, and any other relevant conditions. Ensure there are no hidden fees or unexpected obligations.
Step 5: Finalize Your POS Decision
Once you’ve compared estimates and made your final decision, contact your chosen POS provider to begin the implementation process. It’s courteous to inform the other providers you considered of your decision, saving you time and preventing unnecessary follow-up calls and emails.
Features to Look for in a Food Truck POS
When choosing a food truck POS, look for a system that’s affordable, flexible, and user-friendly. Here are the key features to consider:
- Payment Processing: Ensure your POS system offers diverse and efficient payment options—including chip cards, mobile, and contactless methods—at affordable rates. Some systems only support their own payment processors, while others integrate with multiple processors for flexibility.
- Mobility: Ensure your food truck POS system offers an offline mode for orders and payments without an internet connection. Consider peripheral connections (for hardware like printers) and convenient access to your POS account for seamless operations on the go.
- Menu Management: Look for a food truck POS with robust menu customization options, allowing you to easily create, organize, and edit different item types, categories, and modifiers. Ensure it accommodates your specific menu needs for a seamless ordering experience.
- Order Management: The best food truck POS systems seamlessly merge orders from the different channels you use (i.e., dine-in, online, or phone-in) into a single, easy-to-manage platform.
- Inventory Management: Automatic tracking of ingredients used per order and real-time inventory updates are essential features. Some advanced systems even allow ingredient reordering directly from the app.
- Loyalty Program Integration: Look for a POS system that supports marketing and loyalty programs, rewarding customers with points leading to perks and incentives.
- Reporting and Analytics: The best food truck POS systems provide comprehensive reporting and analytics, allowing you to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and make informed decisions based on sales data, inventory levels, and customer behavior insights.
- Customer Support: Opt for a provider that offers comprehensive customer support options— including phone, live chat, and email assistance. Also, look for training assistance and self-service resources like tutorials, FAQs, and community forums.
- Hardware Options: Look for a POS that is compatible with the hardware you prefer to use, whether it’s tablets, smartphones, or handheld devices. If you already have hardware, seek out a provider that allows you to bring your own.
- Manageable Pricing and Terms: Consider the pricing structure and contract terms of the POS system. Look for a solution that fits your budget and aligns with your future plans for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few common questions I get about food truck POS systems.
A POS in a food truck is the point of sale, or a combination of hardware and software that manages sales for the truck.
A POS can help a food truck process digital payments and keep track of sales, inventory, and employee hours. Many POS systems also include tools for employee scheduling, tip pool management, invoicing, and online ordering.
You can find food truck POS systems for as little as $0 per month up to more than $100 per month. Your costs will depend entirely on the tools you need and the system you choose. If you need online ordering or invoicing, for example, you may need to pay an additional monthly fee. Most food trucks can expect to get all the tools they need in a baseline cloud POS subscription, which ballparks for $0 to $60 per month.
We recommend POS systems for food trucks for a lot of reasons. The most important reason is that a POS allows you to easily accept the card and digital wallet payments that customers prefer. A POS also helps you keep track of sales and inventory, which saves you administrative time and can help you identify theft. Trucks operate with tight margins, so it is tempting to avoid the cost of a POS system, but in my experience, a POS for a food truck will save you time and money while helping you increase sales.
Food truck service differs from restaurant service due to the speed, limited space, and randomness of location that operators may encounter. You need a POS system that is flexible, easy to use, and inexpensive to get the most from it. That is why we chose Square for the best food truck POS.
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.