Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen, which operates out of food trucks, is planning to become a sit-down restaurant within the next year and is relying on mobile point of sale technology to make the transition.

The two-year-old company has built a recognizable brand around its four lime-green trucks, which operate in the Atlanta area, specializing in local "farm to street" foods. Happy Belly started using NCR's Silver mobile point of sale system about two months ago for its trucks, and is using the system to manage its business in addition to processing payments.

"With a brick and mortar restaurant, it will be easier to have the flexibility from a single [app] to take payments and manage inventory, and also retain the remote capabilities so we can have consistency in different locations," said Joe Bruno, owner of Happy Belly.

Sales for the new brick and mortar locations can be processed, reported and organized alongside the food trucks in a single view. The mobile point of sale app also enables Happy Belly to break out sales by an event, such as a dinner or wedding, replacing an old process that required Bruno to manually add up all charges for an event, then log the total as part of Happy Belly's total business volume.

"It would take a lot of time to do that manually," he said.                                                      

Once the restaurant opens, Happy Belly plans to use its trucks for special events, such as weddings and festivals, and will use mobile point of sale technology to ensure consistency for record keeping.

"We won't have to worry about separate systems for the restaurants and the trucks," Bruno said. "We can pull up any information that we need."

Bruno anticipates using the sales reporting and inventory management features for forward-looking purposes such as stock, since food is ordered near the time it is sold.

Happy Belly also runs outreach programs to encourage healthy diets and donates 5% of its profits to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlanta to combat childhood obesity.

Happy Belly's example demonstrates the maturation of mobile point of sale technology as a tool that can help growing merchants manage data from payments and other business functions, said Justin Hotard, a general manager for NCR's small business unit.

"The real challenge for the small businesses connected to mobile payments and merchant services is data aggregation and the use of data, what we hear from customer is they want someone to do the heavy lifting for them," Hotard said.

NCR is one of many mobile point of sale providers that are adding services to attract small businesses as payments acceptance becomes commoditized.

Square recently began offering loans to merchants, and this week updated its software to allow merchants to select the time of day to close their books. Roam has added staff management tools, and PayPal has added easier integration tools for small businesses that are building their own mobile applications.

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