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How Clover Mobile keeps this New York coffee shop hopping

October 19, 2016

At Cafe Grind in New York City, the focus is always on the customer. “If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business,” says Cathal O’Brien, the owner. O’Brien knows that keeping customers happy means managing their entire experience, from the minute they walk in the door. It means keeping the shop clean and inviting, keeping up with the latest technology so that the payment process is quick and easy, and stocking the kinds of health-conscious options customers crave.

Most of all, it means speed. “In the morning, in a coffee shop, you really only have five minutes to get your coffee and get out, jump in a taxi, go to work,” O’Brien says. Cafe Grind serves anywhere from 350 to 700 people a day. And because the shop is located right next to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, the crowds get even crazier during New York’s ComicCon. “For five days, you have superhero after superhero,” O’Brien says.

When the crowds get crazy at Cafe Grind, the Clover system, and particularly the Clover Mobile, help O’Brien keep things moving smoothly. Here are four ways Clover Mobile helps keep customers happy at New York’s Cafe Grind:

It keeps the lines moving.

Cafe Grind is a small shop, and the line can get long in the mornings as the 9-to-5-ers queue up for their morning coffee. “Clover Mobile is a line-buster,” O’Brien says. When it’s busy, staff will go through the line with the Clover Mobile, taking and processing orders, so that the customer’s order is ready when they get to the counter. “They feel they’re getting taken care of faster, more efficiently,” O’Brien says.

It can go on the road.

Cafe Grind has a substantial catering and delivery business. When staffers are out on deliveries, they can bring the Clover Mobile with them and securely process payments online. “It’s more secure for the customer because they’re swiping a credit card versus you writing the credit card number down,” O’Brien says.

It’s easy for staff to use.

“Being in this business for 27 or 28 years, I’ve used many point-of-sale systems,” O’Brien says. “They’re all too many steps, very difficult, very hard to train the staff.” A Clover system is easy to set up—you can take a new unit out of the box and have it ready to go in less than 15 minutes—and easy to train staff to use, O’Brien says. And staff can use the Clover Mobile to clock in and clock out, snapping pictures of themselves each time.

It saves the boss’ time.

The Clover Mobile system lets O’Brien manage business logistics on the go. With the Bills Sync app, O’Brien can scan his bills to upload them to his system and then automatically pay them from his phone. He can view analytics remotely, easily seeing how many customers have come in that day, how long it’s taken to serve each person, and what items are selling. “It takes about 5 to 10 hours a week away from what you’d be doing” in terms of managing logistics,” O’Brien says. “It lets you focus on the customers versus sitting in an office writing checks or counting inventory,” he says. With that extra time, “you can be on the floor taking care of your customers, making sure they’re OK, giving them better service.”


Time is at a premium in a business like O’Brien’s. The customer’s time is crucial—and O’Brien’s time is critical, too. O’Brien says he loves the Clover system, particularly the Clover Mobile, because it helps him stay focused on the customer. “No matter what you do, business is the same,” O’Brien says. “Be it restaurant, bar, hotel, coffee shop or clothing store, you’ve got to give the customer what they want, when they want it, in the best possible way, and at the best possible value.”