Survey Day: May 2016

If you received a survey card in line today, click here to take the survey. A huge thanks for helping us improve!

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Clover Order Ahead

Clover Order Ahead Beta Screen Shot

When we first built a working POS back in 2009 I was already dreaming of order ahead. I thought the way this should work is that (A) people should be able to order how they felt comfortable, phone, email, online, text, tweet, etc., (B) the handshake should be really solid: tells you what we thought you ordered, tells you when we’re making it, etc.

I first hired a programmer to start work on this in 2010. After fits and starts we’re finally getting close to the point of launching an order ahead beta. Here is the sketch we’re working from.

What do you think?

We tried to use off the shelf stuff because it would be way easier. But I couldn’t get anybody, including industry leader Olo, to support the frequency of menu change we need. So we’re building own own homegrown solution. The first iteration will be super simple, and invitation only.

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Beer hits Clover in Boston: June 9, 5pm-7pm, CloverDTX

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YES. Beer is finally approved and ready to start serving at CloverDTX! We’re launching a brand new program where brewers choose the beer we serve. We’ve picked our 6 favorite brewers in New England, and are allowing each of them to program their own tap. This means if Jack at Jack’s Abby is working on a new beer with local grain, or if Bryan from Mystic has a new yeast experiment he wants to test on a lot of people, they can send it to Clover.

The kegs go in on June 9 and we’re inviting all the brewers for the party. Join us for beer, snacks, music. Meet the brewers who will be programming our kegs for the upcoming year!

Beer Launch
CloverDTX, 27 School Street, Boston
June 9, 5pm-7pm

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Sign up here. 

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The ragman cometh

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I remember taking rags every week from the MIT truck to the tiny laundromat underneath Cosi in Kendall Square. The proprietor was Persian so I think he liked me best out of all the employees on the truck. Back then we had a tiny bag of rags to give each week.

Fast forward 7 years and we now go through enough rags to justify a laundry service. We send all the rags out from the HUB every Monday and they return Friday. We send the rest out Friday, and they return Monday. But for some reason, the HUB was always out of rags to send to locations during the days in between Monday and Friday. Locations were resorting to doing their own rag laundry.

Alden (our new kitchen manager) wanted to know why we were constantly out of rags as a company. It turns out that some locations were requesting 40 or 50 at a time, every few weeks, while others were requesting 3 at a time every single resupply. The greedy locations were sucking all the rags from the kitchen, leaving none for the other locations. So we bought 1800 rags, and initiated a new system. Now instead of “asking” for rags, the locations will automatically receive 15 rags with each resupply. This should result in a steady stream of rags throughout the company at all time, and a cleaner Clover.

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Hiring Blitz

We’re opening two new restaurants in Boston (Longwood Medical and Financial District) in the month of June, both of them are going to be massive. We need to hire 15 kitchen prep roles (to work at the commissary as well as at those locations), 10 assistant managers, and 70 team members over the next month. This means we need to interview something like 500 people over the next 4 weeks.

Chris had an idea to ask customers for help. Many of our best employees have either been customers or have heard about us through a friend.

If you’re in line tomorrow, you might get a little card. If you get a card, think of someone who loves food. Hand them the card. If they get a job with Clover we’ll thank you personally.

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The Murdough Sandwich launches Thursday 5/18

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It started as Craig’s version of a Reuben sandwich. If you don’t know Craig, he runs prep at our Kendall restaurant. He was hired by Sara back on the Government Center truck in 2011 so he’s been with Clover through a lot. And he’s responsible for the killer whoopie pie flavors that Kendall has been churning out lately every Friday night. Craig came to Food Dev with a new mushroom sandwich. He’s always wanted to see a Reuben sandwich at Clover. He made a sandwich with crimini mushrooms from Rhode Island Mushroom Company roasted with celery salt, caraway seed, black pepper plus a slice of cheddar, some mustard, cabbage slaw, and a dressing made with capers, mayo, lemon juice, red onions, whole grain mustard, pickles, parsley, Aleppo pepper, and ketchup.

We tested it with 50 customers on Friday. The changes we made:

-removed mustard
-added brined fried onions

The name? That’s Craig’s last name. The sandwich didn’t quite work as a Reuben, and yet The Craig seemed too casual. The Murdough launches Thursday at all locations. Let us know what you think.

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Carrot sandwich stock-outs

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Sorry if you’re one of the customers who has tried to get Paul’s new Carrot Sandwich and been disappointed. The reason is: ovens.

We have been roasting an insane amount of carrots back at the kitchen. The sandwich has been so popular that there aren’t enough hours in the day and enough racks in the oven to keep up. The carrots are from a new supplier that Alden brought to us, Sparrow Arc Farm in the Berkshires in New York. After Michael Docter ran out of carrots, we started looking to see if there were any other organic carrots in the region that we liked.

The current version of the sandwich has a carrot habanero spread, roasted whole carrots that we fry right before serving, a feta sauce, a cabbage-honey-lime slaw, and fried farro (farro was an addition inspired by the feedback we got when we tested the sandwich at Harvard Square 2 weeks ago and people wanted more crunch and more heat.)

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Foraging for garlic mustard

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Last week Lieza, Ayr, Sara, Ryder, Lindsey and Stacia went on a garlic mustard pull at Blue Heron Farm in Lincoln. Garlic mustard was brought to the US in the 1700’s by early settlers. It was used in cooking and to treat ulcers and gangrene.

Every April it pops up in the woodland areas around Boston. The problem with garlic mustard is that it destroys forests. It grows so fast that it displaces the native greens and grasses and some people say it even poisons the fungi that plants need to survive.

The good news? It’s delicious. We’ll be featuring a pesto pasta salad tonight and tomorrow with a pesto made from the garlic mustard that we foraged.

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Autogrill

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One of my fondest memories from my trip to Tuscany last summer was Autogrill. So when we spotted one out on the highway outside Palermo I knew we had to stop.

Autogrill is a fast food chain located inside gas stations. They have fresh-squeezed orange juice from local oranges, fresh-made espresso, and fresh-made panini. Those 3 things alone represent such a vast difference between the food culture here and there.

You’re not going to have the best espresso of your life there. But you’re going to have a really, really good espresso, and it’s a gas station. In Italy, just because you’re on the road, it doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice the way you’re eating. You know the sickening smell you’re usually met with at gas stations in the U.S? Old coffee, cigarettes, food under heat lamps? We never experienced that once in Italy, even in poorer regions. There’s care in that, and work put into keeping things this way.

 

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New salad launching today: olive cheddar farro

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Wherever we went in Italy, there were delicious local olives and local pecorino on the table. The olives and the cheese were always a bit different from one place to another. Some olives were tangy, some were savory, some were sweet. Enzo’s relatives told me that the olive harvest is at the end of October, and some olives are ready as early as 40 days after the first harvest, and some need months to cure.

The olives and cheese were always served at room temperature and you can bet the cheese was not pasteurized. It was one of the most delicious things we ate. This picture was taken at a simple restaurant with a screened-in porch located on the beach near the Greek ruins of Selinunte.

Chris couldn’t get the olives and pecorino out of his head. He made a salad with farro, olives, and cheddar. We’re also launching one of Enzo’s salads inspired by the trip: fennel, basil, and farro. If you try either of them today let us know your feedback here.

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