Our research suggests Zettle by PayPal is the best POS system for food trucks because it has strong analytics, offers plenty of features, includes top-tier support, and is the most affordable POS system we've reviewed – giving it a perfect price score of 5/5.
Square POS is a close runner-up, with its iPad-friendly set-up and equally low pricing, but Lightspeed is another top POS for food trucks thanks to its time-saving Quick Service mode and excellent customer loyalty tools, which can help a food truck cultivate devotees.
While the food truck industry is booming, mobile catering brings unique challenges, from high order volumes to storage limitations. Because of this, business owners need to opt for a POS system that saves time and maximizes efficiency, without bogging down vendors with unnecessary features.
We've tested and studied the best restaurant POS systems, keeping the food truck industry's unique needs in mind, and identified the best on the market. We've listed all the pros, cons, and prices you need to help you make a decision — and we can even get your business a custom-fitted quote to get you the best deal once you do.
Tech.co rating for restaurants
Score out of 5 for general restaurant suitability, based on Tech.co's independent market research.
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Retails a range of hardware solutions including card readers and cash registers.
Sold by Square, available separately or packaged with software.
Specialized hardware available. Not compatible with weighing scales.
Sells everything from full cash stations to mobile card readers.
Works with a range of of third-party periperals.
Sells an impressive line of its own products. All splash-proof.
Available through third-party vendors.
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A food truck is a fast-paced business, where just a few employees must track orders and collect payment seamlessly. The service needs a functional POS system to make sure the food truck doesn't run too low on inventory, can accept any form of payment, and will track every sale.
We've crunched the data to figure out which POS systems have the best features and pricing to support a food truck's needs. Here's our definitive list.
Pricing from: Free (but transaction fees apply)
Running a food truck requires you to wear many hats. Fortunately, Zettle by PayPal makes logging orders and taking payments as simple as possible, combining user-friendly software with every POS feature you need to get off the ground.
When we tested Zettle, we found that the POS isn't as feature-rich as many competitors, so we've only awarded the point-of-sale a restaurant score of 4.4/5 compared to Square's 4.8/5. However, it does include some advanced capabilities like robust data tracking and employee management. What's more, Zettle's stripped-back feature set may be a setback for full-scale restaurants, it actually makes the POS more suitable for food truck owners who can do without tools like sales forecasting or delivery options.
- No monthly fees
- Reasonable transaction fees
- Unlimited users
- No add-on features are available
- No CRM or offline mode
- Limited amount of integrations
Is Zettle right for your business?
While food trucks tend to have higher profit margins than restaurants, demand can vary tremendously — making it wise for owners to keep overheads as low as possible. If it's a budget POS you're after, Zettle takes the crown. With a perfect 5/5 research score for pricing Zettle's one plan comes with no monthly fee and the transaction fees undercut Square POS's similar pricing. Here's what you'll pay:
- 2.29% + 9 cents for each card-based sale
- 3.49% + 9 cents for each manual card entry transaction
- 2.29% + 9 cents for every QR transaction
Zettle sells card reading hardware as well: The first costs $29, though each additional reader will be $79. Food truck managers will appreciate the service's payment processing, as it takes all major debit and credit cards, plus Apple, Android, and Google Pay.
Just like Square, Zettle achieved a solid research score of 4/5 for its help and support options thanks to its knowledge center and live support via email, phone, and chat. Other top features include:
- Unlimited users
- Transactions: Supports discounts, deleting, voiding items, digital receipts
- Great inventory management
- Low stock alerts
- Bulk menu updates
- Custom reports
- Gift cards
- Ecommerce integrations: BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce
Downsides include limited add-ons, a lack of loyalty and CRM tools, and no training mode option, as well as no offline mode, a potential concern for highly mobile food trucks. Read full Zettle review for more information.
Pricing from: Free (but transaction fees apply)
There's a reason you see the Square POS everywhere: The system is streamlined and feature-rich, and no startup costs to hold even the smallest business back.
With 24/7 support, which received an impressive research score of 5/5, food trucks can rely on the POS to help them resolve issues quickly too. Due to the unpredictability that comes with switching locations regularly, this selling point is pretty major.
We've ranked Square highly for all food industry use, giving it a 4.8/5 score for industry features, 4/5 for customer service, 4.3/5 for customer satisfaction, and a 5/5 pricing score which ties with Zettle. These ratings are so impressive that our research suggests Square is the best POS for restaurants overall, even topping hospitality-first systems like Clover and TouchBistro.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 3.5% + 15¢ charge for keyed-in transactions
- Support options vary by plan
Is Square right for your business?
Square's transaction fees are a little higher than Zettle's, on average. Here's what you'll pay:
- 2.6% + 10 cents of each card-based sale
- 3.5% + 15 cents for each keyed-in transaction
- 2.9% + 30 cents for online sales
If the price and round-the-clock support options aren't enough for you, Square's restaurant features may win you over. You'll get easy menu management thanks to custom layouts and item grouping, which will help your food truck highlight top sellers. Other top features include a built-in self-serve QR code order functionality, offline mode, flexible payment processing that covers all major methods, and great kitchen management tools including prep time tracking and customer ticket timers. There's an offline mode, too, all of which helps Square earn our recommendation as the best mobile POS system.
Plus, you'll have access to features you don't need, including table management and integrations for pickup or delivery. These may prove useful if your food truck scales up into a permanent location.
You can read more about the software in our full Square POS review.
Pricing from: $69 per terminal, per month
Turning customers into long-term fans will help any food truck stay afloat, so Lightspeed's stellar business development features help set it apart from the POS system pack. You'll be able to create a rewards program and log customer insights, while adding promotions, coupons, and one-time deals when you need to. The loyalty tools are omnichannel, so customers will gain the same benefits online and in-person.
- Ideal for retail stores with barcoded inventory
- Straightforward pricing
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Harder to use for restaurants, florists and businesses without barcodes
- Doesn't integrate with weighing scales
Is Lightspeed right for your business?
When you're running a food truck, fast service is key. By switching to Lightspeed's Quick Service mode, vendors can speed up turnaround times by cutting down the steps involved with logging orders and processing payments. Thanks to this Quick Service mode, which was designed specifically with food trucks in mind, and a number of other slick ordering features, we gave Lightspeed a score of 4.5/5 for its till features, improving by almost a point since our last round of testing and beating Square and Talech to the punch.
Lightspeed's inventory tools are complex: They cover item variations, item bundling, inventory level tracking across multiple locations, bulk price changes, automated discounting, offline mode, and re-order notifications. Lightspeed offers a number of other useful restaurant features too, like flexible billing and take-out options, so we rated it 4.9/5 for restaurant features, tying it with Toast as the most feature-rich system on this list and putting it ahead of Square and Zettle in the category.
Plans start at $69 per month for the Basic plan, but this doesn't include loyalty, accounting, or ecommerce tools. You'll get expanded ecommerce options with the $99 per month Starter plan, and the impressive loyalty and analytics features with the Advanced plan, for a pricey $199 per month. Due to Lightspeed's relatively high entry price and lack of free tiers, however, we gave it a lackluster value score of 2.3/5.
Pricing from: $90 per month for hardware and software package
Clover offers a number of excellent hospitality features and delivers a consistently high customer experience, which is why we've given it an overall restaurant score of 4.5/5 — making it the second strongest restaurant POS we've researched behind Square.
The provider's Quick Service package is specifically designed for businesses like food trucks too, offering a number of useful ordering tools like omnichannel menu management, QR-code ordering, and item and order-level discounts.
However, while Clover's professional services packages start from $14.95 per month, its entry-level food business package is $90 per month for a hardware and software bundle. This entry price isn't super affordable for smaller vendors like food trucks, and lots of useful tools, like line busting, are reserved for even pricier tiers.
Support options are limited, too. Clover doesn't offer live chat options, which is why we've only given them a 3/5 score in the category. However, with a high customer satisfaction score of 4.2/5, thanks to the consistently positive customer reviews it receives, businesses don't seem to mind too much.
- Great for companies that started online but need a physical presense
- Good range of hardware options
- 30-day free trial
- Need pre-existing website unlike Shopify, for example
- Additional features cost extra and can become expensive
- No inter-store transactions
Is Clover right for your business?
Clover delivers on the basics, with inventory and order management, custom item variants, offline mode, a selection of third-party integrations, and one particularly cool functionality: Bluetooth-detection, which can notify a mobile customer of a promotion relevant to them. Loyalty features are also included, even if they don't come near Lightspeed: Clover lets users gather contact lists in order to offer promos or rewards.
Pricing from: $39 per terminal, per month
Epos Now is a hospitality-first POS system with a decent tool-kit and a level of customer satisfaction that rivals Square, which is why we've awarded it a customer score of 4.2/5, only a hear's breadth off Square's 4.3/5.
Epos Now offers a number of advanced restaurant features including rounding discounts and flexible payment options, which is why our team gave it a competitive score of 4.6/5 in the category. This makes the POS system makes a cost-effective choice for a large or growing fleet of food trucks too.
What's more, due to the provider's dedicated live chat, email, and phone support channels, we've given Epos Now a 4/5 score for support options in our wider research, putting it on par with both Zettle and Square.
- Quick and easy set up
- Simple interface makes it easy to train staff
- Widely compatible with barcode scanners and receipt printers
- Lacks complexity in reporting
- Paid customer support and no knowledgebase
- No kiosk option or CRM
Is Epos Now right for your business?
Price plans start at $39 per month, and are capped at $69 per month, though this price discounts each additional terminal after the first to just $45 per month for each one.
Other top features include stock level management, bulk import, offline mode, delivery support, and ecommerce integrations with BigCommerce and Shopify. The service offers a rugged line of hardware as well, including
Pricing from: $69 per terminal, per month
Toast is an Android-only POS that boasts the best restaurant features on this list, making it perfect for food trucks with specific or advanced needs.
The system offers an impressive training mode too, which supports a simulated practice run for new employees who need to test out different settings, and Toast is the best POS service for onboarding new workers. No other food truck POS system on this list even offers a training mode, let alone one as complex as Toast's.
Since food truck demands can be inconsistent, keeping tabs on your performance is vital. Toast offers detailed reports covering topics including sales, menu, employee performance, cost and loss, and payments. However, while Toast's reporting capabilities are strong, they aren't as granular as Lightspeed's or Square's.
- Great for Android users
- Strong menu customization
- Support for tableside ordering and payment
- Doesn't work on iOS devices
- No integrated payment processors
- Limited help & support offered
Is Toast right for your business?
Toast comes with two main plans, the $69 per month Point of Sale plan and the $165 per month Essentials plan.
The POS is pretty strong across the board but shines when it comes to payment processing — a major boon for food trucks where serving customers quickly is often a top priority.
When our research team tested the product, they found a number of other stand-out features including an inventory value report and food cost reports, menu engineering, offline mode, delivery, and unlimited users. However, any loyalty or CRM features must be added through third-party integrations.
Apple fans beware, however: The software is designed to run on Toast's own hardware or on other Android tablets — not iPads. In addition, the support options include some phone support but no email or live chat support, leading to us giving the POS a low score of just 1/5 for that category.
Interested? Get the full rundown in our in-depth Toast POS review.
Pricing from: $29 per month, for unlimited devices
Talech POS has an interface that's easy to navigate, and it offers tools that allow an employee to quickly offer customer exchanges or refunds, while managing sales and inventory in some depth. Plus, the tablet-based system is easy to use while on the go. As a result, we've ranked it as the top pick for a user-friendly POS system.
However, since Talch lacks a quick service and training mode, we only gave it a 3/5 for till features, which is over a point lower than it scored in our previous round of testing. This means that if you're after a versatile POS system, you'd be better off going for systems like Lightspeed and Shopify.
- Granular product settings
- Great support for customer exchanges and refunds
- Easy-to-use interface
- No ecommerce integration
- Feature set not as broad as competitors
- Low customer satisfaction score
Is Talech right for your business?
Price plans start at the $29 per month per device Starter plan, which is limited to 100 products. That's too few products for many businesses, but it might be a good fit for a food truck with a smaller, set menu. Other plans include Standard, for $69 per month for the first device and $29 per month for each additional device, and Premium, for $99 per month for the first device and $29 per month for each additional device.
Talech isn't bad in many of our research areas, but doesn't excel in them, either. It's good for small businesses (although Square is better), it has okay pricing (although Zettle, Square, and Clover beat it), and offers support 24/7 by phone, so we gave it a customer support score of 4/5 which is on par with Zettle, Square, and Epos Now. In other words, it's a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none. But hey, it's easy to use.
Any POS system must be able to track sales, inventory, and employees, and the best ones also manage analytics, reports, and marketing. When it comes to food trucks, however, a POS system must handle certain tasks:
- Remote menu updates — You'll need to change orders or deals at any time.
- Robust payment processing — You'll need to accept cash, card, tips, refunds, and more.
- Little upfront investment — Everyone wants to save money, and food trucks are no exception.
- Flexibility — A business that's always on the move needs software that's easy to use.
All the top POS systems we've reviewed for food trucks offer these core abilities. We've further ranked them across four main research areas to figure out which is best, looking at pricing, features, customer satisfaction, and support options.
Every business's POS system needs will vary, so don't take the one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, start with your business size, your budget, and any unique or essential features you need. For further research, read through our guide to POS system costs, to make sure that you know what price ranges to expect.
In the end, even our expert researchers can't say for sure which food truck POS system is right for you. In rare cases, it might not even be on this list: If you're hoping to scale up to a full fleet of trucks, the complex reporting tools may make TouchBistro the standout choice – read our TouchBistro POS review and see for yourself.
Our top pick for the best POS system for food trucks is Zettle by PayPal, thanks to relevant features, great analytics and employee management, and low pricing.
Other great choices include Square, which offers even more features, and Lightspeed, for its granular customer loyalty tools. Any of them will serve you well — and you can compare exact costs with our quote collection form today.
The Tech.co testing and research team chose four key research areas to determine the best POS system for mobile food trucks.
- Features — Does the POS offer the functionality a food truck needs, without excessive features like tableside service?
- Pricing — Is the cost fair, given the value provided?
- Customer satisfaction — What is the ratio of positive to negative customer reviews?
- Support — What support options does the vendor offer its customers?
Our researchers used a 5-star system to evaluate all the top restaurant POS services across these four categories. Then we merged each system's star ratings onto one overall 5-star score, giving us our verdict: Zettle by Paypal offers the features, support, customer approval, and pricing that will serve food truck owners and managers the best.
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