Breno Donatti fell in love with the restaurant business when he moved to the U.S. from Brazil at 18 and landed a gig washing dishes at a legendary Connecticut pizza joint. Now, Donatti runs Winfield Street Coffee, a popular café and deli with 11 locations in three states.
Donatti, who is half Brazilian and half Italian, had been working in food service for nearly 10 years when he tried his hand at opening a gelato bar and then a farm-to-table restaurant, each of them lasting for a few years. When his wife became pregnant, Donatti knew he wanted to spend more time at home with his son and started looking for a business to take over, rather than starting again from scratch.
He asked around about Winfield Street Coffee, a family-run business founded in 1925 with an original location in Norwalk, Connecticut. The cafe had a steady stream of customers, and its current owner was looking to sell. “People said it had great food and had been there forever, but … it needed a bit more love and excitement–and a new coat of paint, to be honest,” said Donatti.
Donatti took over Winfield in 2015 and opened a second location just six months later. Though he has since closed both of the original stores due to building issues, he has grown the business to encompass 11 locations spread across Connecticut, New York, and Florida, where he now lives with his family. “Talk to me again in three years, and we’ll probably have 60 stores,” he says.
Clover has made opening new locations of Winfield Street Coffee a smooth process from the start. “I love the flexibility, because Clover is always expanding and multiplying–there are always new solutions,” Donatti says. “I can see every store from the Clover dashboard on my phone. That technology is really helpful.”
Donatti has used Homebase for employee scheduling since the beginning, with employees checking their hours and pay via the Homebase mobile app. “Without it, timesheets and scheduling would be a full-time job,” Donatti says.
Donatti also finds DAVO indispensable for calculating sales tax, saving each store location around five hours a month. “I don’t think I would do anything without DAVO,” Donatti says.
Winfield also uses Rewards like a digital punch card, offering loyal customers buy-10-get-one-free deals on coffee and breakfast or lunch.
With Clover Duo devices in every store, and Minis in the New York City locations to help with high foot traffic and lots of commuters, speed is paramount – and Clover delivers. Each sales transaction now takes just 17 seconds per customer. “That speed is really important for us,” Donatti says.
Donatti’s favorite part of the restaurant business has always been the people, both customers and teammates. “I spend most of my time developing each store manager and employee, investing in those relationships,” Donatti says. Clover makes it easy for everyone to stay on the same page. “The whole management team has access to the same simple, user-friendly tools,” he says.
“Clover has been a great partner, and every year has been better than the year before,” Donatti says. “When you have a partnership where improvement is the goal, there’s no need to change.” And loyalty will be important as Winfield Street Coffee continues to grow.
Even Donatti’s son, who’s now 7, is learning the family business. “He makes me an espresso every morning,” Donatti laughs.
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