Real-world ways Clover helps food & bev businesses run better, faster & more profitably [8 ways]

Editorial Team

15 min read
Merchants who use Clover to run their food and beverage businesses

In 2021, Clover was awarded the Restaurant Smart Terminal Provider of the Year for the second year in row–and for good reason. Clover POS provides comprehensive solutions for all restaurants, from cookie stores to chophouses.

See how Clover POS has helped these quick-serve and full-service restaurant owners manage their businesses, reach a broader audience, and take care of their employees and customers. 

1. Reach your digital audience with a convenient, uncomplicated online ordering platform

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most restaurants offer online ordering for pick-up and delivery. Many have even seen increased traffic and new customers after embracing online ordering platforms. The downside? Third-party services that facilitate food deliveries often take hefty commissions, undercutting a restaurant’s slim profit margins. 

This poses a conundrum for small F&B businesses wanting to establish greater visibility online without sharing profits with third-party apps. With Clover Online Ordering (COLO), you can take direct ownership of their online customer relations.

Restaurants already using Clover POS can set up Clover Online Ordering at no additional charge. Adding a mobile-optimized link to your website or Google Business Profile is as easy as pushing a button in the Clover Dashboard. 

Don’t have a website for your restaurant yet? COLO partners with BentoBox to create a beautifully designed website on your behalf, complete with brand-enhancing design, built-in marketing, and SEO optimization. For all F&B businesses–from fine dining restaurants to food trucks–COLO provides a seamless, intuitive online experience to every customer on any device.

Angelo Lonardo of Out the Dough in Concord, CA was an early adopter of COLO. 

“Once online ordering became available through our Clover POS, we immediately set it up,” Lonardo recalls. “We were attracted to the convenience of adding specific items available for shipping vs. those only in-store. Having an option for our guests to order online, ahead of time, has been a huge help for us.”

Roxanne Mein, Director of Catering, Brand Development, and Digital Ordering for Lulu’s Mexican Food, agrees.

“Finding Clover Online Ordering was great, because it was included in our POS,” Mein shares. “Before we were spending money on a separate service.”

Your new online ordering platform through Clover gives you the power to control the order and payment process from start to finish. Your existing menu automatically populates the online page along with your hours of operation and general business information. Orders placed online are sent directly to your kitchen, freeing up your phone lines.

“I think it’s been good for the restaurants,” explains Mein. “In terms of managing those orders, it makes things easier when they are coming in on their own. That’s been really helpful.” 

As an added benefit to restaurants using COLO, your business gets automatically listed in Clover’s mobile app where potential customers can discover your business, place an order, and collect rewards points.

COLO–free with any Clover POS–gives power back to the restaurateur. 

2. Manage/simplify table service operations

Profit margins are notoriously slim for restaurants, and inflation-driven cost increases make it exceedingly difficult to balance profit-and-loss statements. On top of that, some POS systems designed for restaurants can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Clover POS, with Clover Dining, enables full-service restaurants and quick-service restaurants to keep the front and back of house in sync, take orders and payments from anywhere on the floor, and deliver seamless service.

When choosing a POS system for his new restaurant venture, Jeremy Poon, owner of Sushi Lab, a rooftop destination for omakase in NYC’s Time Square, was looking for something that wouldn’t break the bank.

“We wanted something a lot more simple, a lot more clean, a lot more user friendly because this was a small operation,” explains Poon.

Clover Dining comes complete with the tools you need to manage communication between your wait staff, bar staff, and kitchen staff, including table mapping, contactless dining (scan-to-order and scan-to-pay), bill splitting, card pre-authorization to leave tabs open, and tableside order firing.

“I was able to set up a floor plan directly on the device and very easily create tables, name them, and assign them, which was a great help,” recalls Poon. “Tying it all together through the Clover system makes everything so much more fluid.” 

These technologies through Clover are scalable for larger operations as well. For Ben Bate, co-owner of Ludwig’s German Table in San Jose, CA, closing customers’ tabs on time can be challenging. 

“It’s a huge space that we’re trying to cover. Before, the server did a lot of running back and forth and that whole process was killing so much time,” Bate outlines. “You forget a pen and have to run back, or someone stops you as you pass. Customers used to get frustrated, and service quality was dropping. That was the key reason I wanted a mobile POS solution. With the Flex guests can check out at the table, which saves so much time.”

Clover helps you cater to your guests’ specific needs, allowing you to close tabs at server stations, behind the bar, at the table, on the patio, at catered events, at the counter or at another take out station.

“It’s very intuitive,” Bate says. “For a café the [Clover] Station terminals work fine, but for a bar where people are running tabs and some customers want to cash out early, we needed something more mobile.”

3. Manage inventory to optimize your menu

To run a restaurant means being aware of your inventory throughout the day. Without accurate counts, you may end up wasting food that becomes spoiled, or being forced to remove a menu item due to unavailable ingredients.

Mein remembers the uncertainty of the pandemic’s early days and how it incited some tough conversations about the menu at Lulu’s Mexican Food. 

“We did refine our menu. We took a lot of the ingredients that were honestly unavailable at the time,” Mein says. “Our vendors didn’t have all that they had before. So we took the items that required those ingredients that we couldn’t really get as easily, and we took them off our menu permanently.”

Clover Reports helps you make informed decisions on which items need to be restocked, which ones can be reduced because they aren’t selling, and even which ingredients are going to spoil first. What’s more, these insights can help reduce waste and save money.

Consulting her Clover POS for inventory counts has been a godsend for Gladys Harrison of Big Mama’s Kitchen in Omaha, NE.

“Being able to see in real time what we’re selling, how much we’re selling, and when we’re selling, helps us cut down on waste and gauge when to cook and how much to cook,” Harrison notes.

Fannie Gibson, owner of Fannie’s African and Tropical Cuisine, relies on the data from her Clover POS to understand which menu items are the most popular. And that’s a very helpful tool for this Kansas City restaurateur who serves dishes, like fufu and jollof, largely unfamiliar to American consumers.

“I have a lot of things on my menu that people love, and that they want fast and quick,” shares Gibson. “And since we got Clover, when I go to the machine, I can see the sales of those things, and they sell like crazy.”

4. Run reports to keep runaway costs under control

Restaurateurs need to keep tabs on more than just inventory and sales to expand their profit margins–they also need to understand their labor costs. Clover’s comprehensive reporting helps you leverage real-time data to get a clear view of all your costs.

Out the Dough’s Lonardo consistently consults his Clover POS software, accounting, and scheduling platforms for insights.

“We have found it super helpful to see the provided reports on a daily, weekly, and even yearly basis,” Lonardo stresses. “It’s an amazing asset to the company.” 

When taking the reins from an existing enterprise, finding ways to tighten the budget can be a tough reality check. As Sean Ham became the new owner of Iconik Coffee Roasters in Sante Fe, NM, his first order of business was to replace the shop’s former POS with Clover to help him take stock.

“Register-wise, the old POS was a mess and it was very difficult to use the system to see what was actually happening — not really knowing the cost of goods, overspending on labor costs, selling some items for less than what they were purchased for,” Ham explains. “But they didn’t have any way of seeing that easily or clearly on a day-to-day basis. Clover gives you the tools that you can rely on and follow to make sure that you’re controlling labor costs.”

While Ham brought ample business experience to his new venture, he still credits Clover as a supportive partner in helping him make sound business decisions. 

His advice to newcomers?

“Make sure that you’re not flying blind. Set up your system so that you can take care and manage all the nuts and bolts to make sure that you’re making financially responsible decisions,” Ham advises. “But,” he continues, “set it up in such a way that you’re able to focus on your customers, and not having to constantly fight the equipment that you’re working with. For us Clover has been great in that regard.”

5. Let your technology work for you to reduce administrative headaches

Small business owners wear many hats. Balancing the day-to-day administrative operations in the food and beverage sector is a lot of work for one person, especially for businesses with multiple locations. Along with a collaborative and well-trained staff, Clover POS solutions can help simplify and automate the administrative work to leave you more time to focus on the bigger picture.

Kathy Fives, Franchise Consultant for the Jambalaya Shoppe (locations across Southeast Louisiana) felt Clover was the natural choice to keep several restaurants operating on a single platform.

“Clover seems to me to be, from a restaurant standpoint, a user-friendly interface that gave us the back-office reporting that we needed to be able to run the franchise,” tells Fives. “And,” she adds, “it was an affordable option for the franchisees. It’s been a good situation since we started using Clover.”

Cole Carson, owner of Thrive Juice Lab, also found Clover POS intuitive for managing his expanding business. Carson recently opened a second location in Newport Beach, CA.

“It’s pretty seamless. It’s very easy to click through and identify transactions and customers,” shares Carson. “It’s nice to be able to toggle right there between the two stores as well.”

What’s even better, all important information inside your Clover is accessible from any device. Rather than staying tethered to your brick-and-mortar to manage operations, you can consult both your team and the numbers from anywhere.

“And it’s nice to have access to all that on our phones. I can always see the sales. I’m a big numbers person, so I’m always watching what’s selling, how much per hour everybody is selling, and what’s going out the door,” explains Lisa Paugh of Walrus Ice Cream in Fort Collins, CO. “Clover really is the center of the tech side of our store. Now that I’m talking about it, I’m realizing just how much it does.”

Harrison from Big Mama’s Kitchen couldn’t agree more.

“The ability to still manage the restaurant and I don’t have to be there — that was my biggest thing,” Harrison shares. “I just love that Clover literally allows me the ability to see what’s going on with my business, manage my business, and make changes for my business from anywhere.”

6. Set up and troubleshoot your POS with peace of mind

How about those small restaurant operations that are thinking of utilizing a POS system for the first time? Do you have the time and resources to take off a day, or a week, to get your new system up and running? Implementing a new POS system into your existing workflow without disrupting business is a masterful balancing act.

Clover POS comes with helpful 24/7 support, and syncs all the moving pieces of your operation to a single dashboard. 

“The service was really one of the biggest things that kept me wanting to work with Clover,” Bate from Ludwig’s German Table emphasizes. “That feeling of being taken care of, that my opinions are being taken into account — I like that a lot.” 

Even when she was a newcomer to small business, Aliska Walker of Aliska’s Amazing Pickles in St. Louis, MO, knew from the beginning Clover was the right fit for her business.

“The thing I like about the Clover is that they called and they helped me set it up,” Walker explains. “They didn’t just ship it to me and leave me to feign for myself. The person stayed on the phone with me to make sure that the device was up and running.”

Setting up a new payment processing system from scratch is one thing, but troubleshooting an issue with your POS in the middle of a busy lunchtime rush is another.

“It’s so simple to set up, it’s simple to edit, and we can do it all. We don’t need to contact Clover support every time we need to do something,” says Mein. “We’ve made edits to Lulu’s menu through Clover multiple times, and we were able to just do that all on our own. That has been really nice.”

7. Motivate your employees

High levels of employee turnover and burnout are rife, industry-wide. While many factors contribute to this reality, overly complicated workplace procedures certainly don’t help.

Clover’s robust third-party app market offers several useful integrations. Homebase, accessible from any POS hardware or mobile device, keeps all employee records in one place and allows for more seamless communication among your staff.

“We use Homebase for our entire team communication as well as scheduling,” shares Carson of Thrive Juice Lab. “All of our employees use it to clock in every day, to request time off, and to change shifts. It’s really nice that you can get a hold of anybody on the staff directly through the app.”

Streamlined communication about workplace policies and procedures can go a long way toward inspiring a happier, more productive staff. For a business as busy as Walrus Ice Cream on a hot, summer afternoon, communication mishaps are easily avoided with Clover and Homebase keeping everyone on the same page.

“Our employees clock in and out on the Clover. We communicate, manage our schedule, and run payroll through Homebase,” Paugh explains. “We used to have that old school phone list hanging in the office. ‘Here’s your coworkers’ phone numbers.’ We don’t do any of that anymore.”

Courtney Cowan, owner of Milk Jar Cookies in Los Angeles, CA, finds that her employees are drawn to Clover’s clean design and usability.

“The interface is nice and very intuitive, which allows for efficient transactions on the employee side as well as the customer side,” Cowan notes. “It helps our whole team keep online, phone, and in-person orders organized, and it helps us to process those efficiently.”

8. Motivate your customers

Customer retention is a concern for all business owners. The more loyal, repeat customers you drum up, the greater sales and word-of-mouth advertising potential you generate. 

Clover Customer Engagement (CCE)–free with your Clover POS–helps business owners maintain a customer database to send targeted rewards and promos, and creates a private forum for constructive feedback.

Fives enthusiastically uses all components of CCE–Rewards, Promos, Feedback, and Customers–for each location of the Jambalaya Shoppe.

“The Rewards program helps our customers see all the coupons we send out. The Feedback is also very handy because we get direct information straight from our customers on what they think of our food and service in real time, which is great,” says Five. “It allows us to have a very quick response. I can send a thank you to someone and give them a free dessert, which they can have right while they’re standing there.”

Paugh also finds that Clover Customer Engagement helps Walrus Ice Cream stand out to the locals in a heavily-touristed, college town.

“We just recently invested in an espresso machine, and we wanted the community to know that we upped our coffee game,” Paugh tells. “And so we sent out a promotion to everyone that was in our customer database — a discount on coffee so they would come check it out. We got a pretty good return on those coupons. It just goes to show that communicating with our customers through Clover really does work.”

Yes, it does. And what better way to return the gratitude to your most loyal fans?

“The rewards program is really a great way to say thanks for supporting us,” Paugh adds, “and people use those rewards all the time.”

Read more stories about how Clover is helping restaurants and QSRs run their businesses more efficiently.

Popular Topics

Recent Stories

Please share your contact information
to access our premium content.