Tags Posts tagged with "Square"


ORANGE COUNTY, CA – It was an early morning on the West Coast when I first spoke with Chef Piaggio.  The fog hanging over the road was slowing giving way to the California sun.

“I live for my business,” Chef Piaggio told me, as he drove his award-winning food truck through Orange County.  “I’m really into what I do. For me, it’s fun. I like what I do, like meeting people, and I like taking care of them.”


While Piaggio has been taking care of people with his uniquely crafted Argentine cuisine for nearly three decades, the manner by which his empanadas, tacos, chimichurri and other gourmet dishes are served has changed dramatically in recent years.

“Just before I entered the food truck business, I had a restaurant for seven years,” he said. “It was right downtown, full bar with 44 employees. We did really well from 2003-07, but then the economy started going down.

Finally, in 2009, I had to make one of the toughest decisions of my life.  On November 8, I decided to close my restaurant. Then, by November 21, I started my food truck.”

The vision born was Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels—Orange County, California’s first and only Argentine Food Truck. It would soon become one of the most successful food trucks in the United States.

“The main reason we had to close the restaurant was the overhead”, he explained. “We had $12,000 per month in rent, and with the volume we were doing, I couldn’t carry that cost any longer.

I entered the Food Truck Industry without knowing anything about it, but I was fortunate to meet with some friends who helped me figure things out quickly.”

Despite the challenges involved with the decision to close his restaurant, Piaggio says that he would not go back and change a thing even if he could.

“It’s been almost four years since we started and now I own two trucks. It’s probably been the most rewarding enterprise I’ve ever been involved with in all these years.

Operating my Food Truck allows me to do what I like, what I love, and what I know, with a much smaller team than I used to have. It’s less people for me to manage, and more of an opportunity to focus on my work in the kitchen.”

As opposed to the 44-person staff that Chef Piaggio was responsible for at his restaurant, for example, his team on-board the food truck now includes only a handful of people.

“I usually work with one or two cooks on a daily basis,” he explained. “My wife is running one of the trucks and I am running the other one. So I have a couple cooks on each truck, as well as a team of people who help at special events with large volume. On a regular day, though, we’re capable of doing a lot of work, a lot of orders, between the cooks and myself.”

Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels has developed a vibrant social media following as a result of their efforts over the years as well. Their Twitter Account, for example, @PiaggioOnWheels, has over four thousand followers.

“That is my wife on our Twitter,” he added. “She handles the marketing of the truck, the social media, tweeting out our schedule, letting people know where we will be on a given day. I do some of the Facebook posts, but she is the one who does the Tweeting.”

This article was written by Brendan Bowers

Find out more about Piaggio on Wheels and why they switched from Square to EMS+ <here>

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Square recently launched an update to its free point-of-sale system Square Register that makes it easy for food truck owners to run their businesses. The new features announced  include custom order modifiers and customizable kitchen tickets — will allow restaurants to increase accuracy, decrease wait times, and better serve their customers.

ipad-register square

Several months ago, Square launched a “Business in a Box” package for $249, including two card readers, an iPad stand, a cash drawer and an optional receipt printer, all wirelessly connected to the Square Register app.

“In an industry where speed, accuracy, and a great customer experience are essential to success, Square Register gives quick serve restaurants tools that are powerful, intuitive, and affordable,” said Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. “Square is focused on connecting businesses with customers and now, more than ever, merchants can concentrate on providing great food for their customers.”

“We need to be able to take orders and process credit cards as quickly as possible,” said Sara Jenkins owner of Porchetta. “Running a business is complex enough and Square Register simplifies the process and puts the focus back on the customer. For the first time, we have all the tools we need at a price we can afford.”

There are already tens of thousands of merchants in the food industry are increasingly adopting Square for its simple interface, smart analytics, continuous updates, and low processing fees. In the past year, the number of food-related businesses that use Square has almost tripled and the amount of money they process has more than quadrupled.

Square Register’s newest iPad features provide businesses of every size access to free tools that can help them optimize their experience at the counter.

  • Merchants can now quickly customize orders with order modifiers while the line keeps moving. Orders are recorded more accurately and communication with the kitchen is faster, creating a seamless experience on both sides of the counter.
  • Custom kitchen tickets enable merchants to attach a number or a customer’s name to an order, creating the right experience for each business.

SAN MATEO, CA – Square just got thousands of food truck owners into the holiday spirit.

Square Gift Cards

The mobile-payments company said it is now offering digital gift cards, so anyone can purchase a card from the 250,000 merchants that accept Square Wallet, an iOS and Android app that lets consumers pay automatically with their smartphones. The gift card recipient only requires an e-mail address.

The service could be a boon to mobile food vendors, many of whom shied away from offering gift cards because creating plastic cards is costly and cumbersome.

“Small businesses have never been able to offer gift cards before,” Square CEO Jack Dorsey told USA TODAY. “You can send a Square gift card to anyone with an e-mail address. If they don’t have a smartphone, they can print out a QR code.”

Dorsey, who created Twitter, made the announcement on Fox News’ Fox & Friends.

Square’s approach could upturn the estimated $100 billion gift-card market, says David Wolman, author of The End of Money, which chronicles the de-emphasis of cash amid an emergence of mobile-payment services.

“The gift card landscape was so dizzyingly crowded that I basically ignored it,” Wolman says. “Not anymore. My first impression is that this fills a real need.”

Doug Dalton, owner of Cask, a beverage vendor in San Francisco, says digital gift cards should spur sales for merchants and make it easier for consumers to buy holiday gifts for hard-to-please friends.

Square’s gift-card gambit is its latest stab at separating itself from a crowded field of competitors, including PayPal, Google, Intuit and Groupon.

Handicapping the mobile-payments race, each major player has carved out a niche, according to analysts. Square is ideal for small merchants such as coffee shops and food trucks. PayPal Here is positioned for businesses that have an online and offline presence. Groupon’s new service will appeal to businesses such as restaurants and spas with which it already works. Intuit’s GoPayment is designed for small and midsize businesses.

In October, Square got a major jolt from a partnership with Starbucks. That deal is likely to parlay into more deals with major retailers — many of whom follow the lead of Starbucks, an early adopter of technology.

You can sign up for your own Square account <here>


Square has done it again. The mobile app that allows food truck to accept credit card payments, has just released an update that adds several new features. Started by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2010, Square has seen steady growth and even recently announced that it does $11 million a day in mobile payments.

Food truck owners can now reward regular customers and it lets you define what makes a Card Case (Square’s companion wireless payment app) customer a regular. You then can add a discount on certain transactions, letting them know you appreciate their loyalty and repeat business.

Another big feature, one that food truck owners have been clamoring for, is the ability to use Square for cash transactions. Using your iPad you can wirelessly print receipts or open your cash drawer to make change. While the initial setup of this feature may look intimidating, Square walks you through connecting your drawer and receipt printer on their site.

Overall you get much more for your money with this multi-faceted update considering that the app and card reader are free. If you are just now hearing about Square, they change a flat 2.75 percent fee per swipe for all credit cards. To update, enter the App Store then at the bottom tap the update tab.

Earlier this month Mobile Cuisine Magazine put together a Food Truck/Cart Poll aimed at our readers who are owner/operators. The object of the poll was to find out if mobile food vendors accepted cash or credit from their customers.

Mobile Food Vendors: Do you accept credit cards from your customers?

  • No, cash is King for my business.
  • No, but we plan to in the near future.
  • Yes, accepting credit cards allows us serve customers without cash on hand.

Here are the results:


We have tabulated the results of this survey and have found that 72 percent of those responding only accepted cash for their transactions, however that number may change in the near future. 14 percent of those who responded to only accepting cash, have stated that they may be switching over to accepting credit cards if they find a source of low transaction fees which won’t cut into their bottom line. The biggest concern expressed to us in regard to those who only accept cash, is the cost involved in the equipment used to process a credit card transaction in addition to the fees charged per sale.

Of the 28 percent that answered yes, most commented that their primary motivation was to provide a means for those people who do not carry cash on hand to be able to purchase food from their trucks. Some of the responders mentioned that allowing people to use credit cards did get some of their customers to make larger purchases than those who use cash.

In our research we found that the lowest transaction fees come from a new product from Square which charges its users 2.75% + $0.15 for card-present transactions and 3.5% + $0.15 for card-not-present transactions, but provides free scanning equipment for scanning credit cards for their members. Although this product provides the lowest rates, for vendors who have transactions which average less than 5 dollars, even this small fee can cut into their already low profit margins.

We would like to thank all of those who responded to this poll, and hope you continue to assist us in gathering information for the mobile food industry.

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