Whether you’re an established fast casual restaurant looking to expand, or an entrepreneur hoping to bring your unique cuisine to the masses, rolling a food truck can be a smart play. Not only are startup costs considerably lower than opening a traditional restaurant, but food trucks are also en vogue. Customers love the affordable choices, quick service, and different fares that food trucks offer.
While the restaurant industry overall has experienced low single-digit growth, the food truck industry is booming. In fact, according to Emergent Research, the market has grown from $650 million in 2013 to a projected $2.7 billion last year. So what’s holding you back?
Apart from buying a truck and creating a killer menu, you’ll also need the right point of sale (POS) system to manage your mobile business. What works in traditional restaurants won’t work as the backbone of your food truck. As you evaluate POS solutions, keep these factors in mind.
- Fast — It’s difficult to get more “fast casual” than a food truck. Customers expect great food quickly. While the kitchen can be a noticeable bottleneck, a slow POS system with cumbersome menus and slow credit card processing can also prevent lines from moving rapidly and lead to dissatisfied customers.
- Small form factor — Food truck interiors are focused on the kitchen. Often, there is limited counter space dedicated to a POS system. It’s essential that your POS system is small, lightweight, and uses as few cables as possible to make the best use of the limited space available.
- Reporting — If you want to take control of your food truck business, you’ll need access to data and reports. Not only can you track inventory and sales by day and time, but you can track which locations are most profitable.
- Loyalty — Many food trucks develop raving fans who love sharing their discoveries on social media. A POS with a loyalty component can enable you to monetize customer loyalty and increase sales. Additionally, if tied to a CRM component, you can develop a marketing list to share your next location, new menu choices, and more.
- Offline capability — In the event you lose Internet connectivity, it’s important the POS system and payment processing can still perform in an offline mode. Ask about this functionality and investigate what connectivity redundancies you might have as an option.
- Customizable — Food trucks have unique workflows so it’s vital that your POS menus and options can be adjusted to keep the operation running smoothly.
- Optional: Self-service kiosk mode — One way to keep lines moving is to provide customers with a self-service kiosk into which they can place their orders and even pay by credit card.
- Optional: Mobile — If long lines are a problem, consider a POS solution that offers a secondary mobile POS that employees can use outside the truck to take orders.
Of course, these are just a handful of the most common features to look for. Depending on your needs and budget, you might require additional features. With a truck, killer cuisine, and the right POS system, you’ll be on your way to success.