Foodtrux POS Application

Creating a POS for Foodtrux

Introduction

Foodtrux is a point-of-sale (POS) system designed for food truck owners and operators, whose needs are often overlooked by more conventional POS systems targeting retail or foodservice.

Problem

Foodtrux began as an app intended to bolster sales to local trucks, but the app released just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, which forced a massive shift from indoor dining to take-out and food trucks. Almost overnight, food trucks consistently had more order volume than they could possibly keep up with, without the need of any external help.

Adapting to the situation, Foodtrux pivoted their business model to enter the POS space, leveraging their own team’s familiarity with the payment processing industry to offer lower transaction costs and payment plans that avoid up-front costs and monthly subscription fees—all while providing software designed to cater to the specific needs of food trucks.

Approach

We spoke to food truck owners to understand their workflows and learn which features of their current POS systems are essential to their operations (and which annoyances with their current platforms bothered them the most). Even within this niche of the foodservice market, there are meaningful differences in size and scale of operations: some interviewees own and operate a single truck with a spouse, and others manage a fleet of trucks spanning state lines with varying state and municipal tax rates.

Interviewees felt that their tools are esoteric and complicated. Common POS platforms attempt to support huge swaths of the market, accommodating as many use cases as possible without specializing in any one. Since our team is two or three orders of magnitude smaller than the competitors, designing a condensed feature set as a minimum viable product (MVP) was already a necessity, but this restriction wound up being an inherent advantage in our case! Even better, designing something purpose-built for food trucks allowed us to prioritize features missing from competitors, like associating transactions with a location for more meaningful reporting data.

Our conversations also helped us identify common features we thought might be important, but weren’t often used in practice. Kitchen display systems, for example, were universally not used by our interviewees, who favored tried-and-true paper ticket printing, which could be annotated with a sharpie to add names or pager numbers.

We also made considerations for the future of the existing consumer and vendor applications. Instead of deprecating them, we identified areas for ways for these disparate branches to grow together, and mindfully left a foundation in our POS project architecture to better support a roadmap of potential future features like online ordering.

Solution

We created a prototype of our proposed point-of-sale experience, including administrative controls to onboard customers, and also presented potential changes to the existing vendor and consumer apps. Foodtrux not only approved the work, but enthusiastically proposed a very tight schedule to launch for the summer.

In order to realistically accommodate this timeline, we collaborated with some friends at another agency to add an extra developer to our team, as well as a designer who created the high-fidelity visual design assets from our UX prototype and technical documentation.

Building software is always a difficult process, and managing hardware support, merchant transactions, and a tight timeline all compounded to make this an especially complex project—but one that demonstrates what’s possible with a lean, talented, multidisciplinary production team, seamless collaboration, and a clear product direction.