National News: A guide to leveraging technology for food trucks

Photo courtesy of NCR Corp.

By Mildred Delgado  |  Food Truck Operator


Food trucks are a great business today, but every owner knows the demands of managing one are challenging, to say the least. Fortunately, there are numerous ways technology can make the job more efficient.

Event management software

Whether your food truck is going to be at a festival or catering to a company gathering, event management tools allow you to digitize the process and simplify your job. With an event management software option, especially a cloud-based one, you can manage your growth and expansion even while staying organized.

You can respond to questions and concerns more quickly, especially for event catering, streamline the process for booking, and use analytics to see how you’re doing overall.

For example, Eventbrite’s event management software lets you use built-in tools for event promotion and social sharing, letting you get started much more quickly with a mobile-optimized event page.

Point-of-sale for mobile

You obviously need a POS system that’s specialized for food trucks. The key is getting something that’s mobile, like a handheld iPad that can manage your inventory, run credit cards and put orders through. That’s perfect for fitting into your small food truck space and help you streamline everything. Another bonus is that the touchscreen and ease of use means your new employees won’t need much training to use it.

A mobile POS system, in addition to cost, space and ease benefits, is also great for customizing your menu, sending orders quickly to the chef, processing quick payments, pulling up sales reports on the go, and more.

Vend’s POS lets you use an iPad to take orders from anywhere, even outside your food truck, but Square offers a free POS with offline payments, ideal for small food trucks that are starting out.

Digital menus

You can make a great impression on your customers by using a digital display for your menu. You can pick the right layout and background that works with the theme of your food truck, work with different screens and font sizes, and even have a video background playing the best and most appealing shots of your food.

When you work on a digital menu display, you want to make sure it will appeal to visitors and make people walking by want to come to have a taste of your menu. Make sure your images are large enough to see at a distance. You can also easily switch between menus if you have multiple ones or you ran out of a certain ingredient.

Lavu offers digital menu boards with the option for videos and with existing templates. You can also change the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the boards work completely offline.

Location tracking

The success of a food truck depends a lot on a variety of locations. For example, studies have shown that food trucks who returned to the same location two days back to back had a negative financial impact. As a food truck, your goal is to be discovered by new clients or returning ones. There are several food truck location apps that let customers know where your truck is at all times, so you can rest easy knowing that your customers are aware of how to find you, and you also don’t have to be constantly updating your location.

These location apps let you share your latest location on a city map, and it helps your existing customers find you as well as new customers discover your food truck. You can also simply share your location across all channels instead of spending time posting on all your social media channels.

The app Food Fiesta, as well as showing the location of many many food trucks, hosts regular “Truckeroos” where several trucks from the nearby area park together for customers to find them easily. These types of events have previously turned out very successful for all involved.

Safety apps work

There is a lot to think about when you run a food truck to make sure your food is staying safe. That includes accessing clean water, keeping the water tank full, disposing of wastewater, connecting to a power source, and keeping your food at the right temperature. Food trucks also experience a lot of safety checks that are impromptu. That’s why getting a food safety app is great to automate manual tasks like calibrating thermometers, cleaning and training lists, and having temperature logs for quality control.

One highly recommended solution is Gocanvas, a highly specialized mobile form app with many forms especially for food trucks already put together.

Technology continues to evolve, and developers are always looking for new ways to make businesses more efficient. It is important for food truck operators to keep abreast of new tools coming on the market.