The U.S. has gone mobile - 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, based on Pew Research Center polling. Americans are also going mobile for food, obtaining it from restaurants on wheels.
"The food truck industry is worth nearly $3 billion."
Food trucks are everywhere, and growing more ubiquitous by the day. In 2017, the food truck industry reached a valuation of $2.7 billion, according to figures crunched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That's up from $650 million in 2014 - a 300 percent revenue increase over three years.
From pizza to pretzels, French fries to frankenfurters, the offerings that food trucks specialize in run the proverbial gamut, appealing to the taste sensations of diners' increasingly discerning palettes. And for the most part, customers have liked what they've tried, with more than 90 percent of diners ranking the quality of fare from food trucks as "excellent," Mobile Cuisine reported from polling done by Emergent Research.
While food truck operators appear to have the flavor profile of their dishes down to a science, there's more to running a successful food truck business than satisfying their patrons' hunger pangs. They also must do it in a timely manner, as food trucks are known for providing great food in a prompt fashion. One way of effectively going about this is with POS system software that hits all the right notes.
PointOfSale.com put together a compilation of POS system attributes that food trucks can't afford to do without. Here are a few of them:
1. Offline capability
Even though WiFi has become increasingly reliable - with connection speeds in a seemingly constant state of improvement - outages persist, and can last from mere minutes to hours or days. Given that food truck operators don't always know where they'll be next, internet access may not always be available. Before selecting a POS software type, inquire about what types of utilities, tools and services can be used when offline.
Food trucks may not necessarily qualify as "fast food," but they're almost uniformly an industry that serves its food in a fast manner. The same standard ought to apply to POS. Ensure that the POS system you select aligns with what customers expect fast food trucks to deliver - their orders in short order. Instant device compatibility helps to make greater swiftness possible in terms of processing.
In addition to great food served up fast, food truck vendors are as popular as they are because menu items aren't written in stone. In other words, if a customer wants to hold the onions or wants the dressing on the side, preparers accommodate. Customization is key to POS systems as well, so see to it that the software you use can be adjusted to the process that employees prefer, which may change depending on turnover and experience, among other factors.
4. Self-serve mode
The automation era isn't the wave of the future; it's the stuff of the present. This is especially evident among restaurants as more locations are taking advantage of artificial intelligence to make better use of their employees and reducing operational expenses. As it is, over 85 percent of Americans regularly use at least one of six key programs or services that feature AI aspects in their everyday lives, according to Gallup polling.
If you find that your workflow is better off by allowing customers to check themselves out, your POS system should have this capability. Check with your vendor to see if the mobile POS has a self-service kiosk mode, which can speed up the transaction process and render long lines during lunch hour far shorter.
The term "too many cooks in the kitchen" most certainly applies in the food truck world, as space constraints force crews to be both light and efficient, with only so much room to work with. Limited counter space means POS software can't make for cramped quarters. Ideally, your POS system should be small, lightweight and feature cordless or Bluetooth technology.