Aspiring restaurateurs are finding that the best way to break into the industry is by taking their culinary skills on the road. And since food trucks have been becoming more popular and profitable in recent years, it may be time to think outside the box of starting a traditional restaurant.
- IBISWorld reports that the number of U.S. food trucks has increased by 12.1% per year on average since 2016 to a total of 32,287 such businesses in 2021.
- The food truck segment of the U.S. hospitality industry will record an estimated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2021.
- The U.S. food truck market is expected to grow by 4.7% in 2021 after recording average per-year growth of 6.6% between 2016 and 2020.
Getting a food truck operation off the ground entails the same detailed planning as starting any other food establishment. Considerations include plans for inventory, equipment, staffing and permits. Cloud-based point of sale (POS) systems are a great match for food trucks because they integrate all aspects of managing a mobile restaurant. In addition, mobile POS systems are available at prices that meet every budget.
In particular, a modern POS solution keeps your customers’ food orders flowing and the line moving outside your truck. Serving your customers quickly and accurately is the best way to ensure positive word-of-mouth advertising and happy customers that come back.
How a ticket system helps food trucks operate more efficiently
While many of the aspects of starting a food truck are the same as opening a restaurant, others are unique:
- Many of the startup costs will be the same –– creating a business plan, arranging funding, applying for licenses and obtaining permits and insurance.
- As with any eatery, the success of a food truck depends on a unique and inviting menu that attracts clientele.
- Food truck vendors need to recruit employees and devise a marketing strategy that helps patrons discover the business.
Other components of a food truck startup plan are unique to selling meals on the road:
- Finding the right size and type of truck to house your restaurant.
- Fitting all the necessary appliances and kitchen fixtures in a very confined space.
- Moving the truck, locating prime areas, determining the best operating hours and securing an off-hours parking spot.
Logistics become more important as the space available to run the restaurant shrinks. A food truck ticket system connected to the mobile POS helps make the most of the space available. For example, a mobile POS solution shows all pending orders and clearly indicates changes that diners requested for their orders. This is clearly better than having to hand off paper tickets on which orders are scribbled in haste.
- The food truck’s custom mobile app runs on a range of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
- It automatically tracks inventory as orders are processed and can send alerts when items in inventory reach preset levels.
- The mobile POS software integrates orders received in person and online, and it supports orders received via QR codes.
- The app calculates tax rates for various locations, which is especially handy as the truck moves from location to location.
- The system works even without an internet connection, automatically synching data when the connection is reestablished.
Aspects to consider when choosing a food truck POS system with automated order processing
The most valuable feature of cloud-based mobile POS is the ability to manage mobile operations via smartphones and mobile devices.
- Menu options and employee schedules can be changed on the fly and published immediately.
- Sales and other financial information is updated automatically and accessible from any location.
- The systems maintain a record of customers’ past purchases and can include their contact information. This allows the food truck to personalize its services by offering returning customers discounts and other special promotions.
- As orders are taken, the mobile POS terminal can prompt employees to suggest items to complement the order, such as beverages and sides.
Most importantly, mobile POS equipment lets customers pay in advance via phone mobile app or online. Click and collect continues to gain in popularity, driven initially as a way for diners to accommodate COVID-related restrictions.
Food truck ticket systems increase productivity and profits
With orders flying in and kitchens running at peak capacity, getting orders right makes the difference between success and disaster. A mobile POS system reduces waste by making sure that orders are completed accurately and on time.
- The food tickets generated by the systems are clear, unambiguous, and complete which reduces the need for staff to ask for clarifications.
- The systems are easy for staff to learn and use, and they don’t require any big expenditures on hardware.
- The apps integrate seamlessly with popular kitchen display systems (KDS) to make filling orders even easier.
- The sales reports generated by the system let you know which menu items are most and least popular so you can adjust your lineup and prices accordingly.
When you’re ready for a mobile POS system, you need a vendor with a background in custom-tailored POS solutions. Partnering with talech allows you to implement a cloud-based POS system that’s scalable, affordable, and a custom fit for your operation. Sign up for a free demo to see first-hand how automated ticket processing can benefit your food truck business.
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