Clover Clean

By ayr July 21, 2015


This is a message I shared with our employees the other day. I think it’s really important to our company and thought I would share it with all of you wholesale. This is the first step in a journey we’re going to take together as a company over the coming year. It’s the culmination of ideas I’ve been contemplating over the past year or so. And I think it might mark the first time I’ve been able to offer a clearly articulated answer to the question “what is Clover?”

Read on for full text…

Everybody at Clover —

Please take 10 minutes to read this message carefully. Your job at Clover is about to change.

First some history. Imagine you found Clover back in 2009, when we were 1 truck at MIT. You would have never seen anything like it. Nobody had. After standing in a long line with others and devouring your food you would have talked to your friends about this amazing thing you found. The first thing you would tell them was how delicious the food was. The second thing you would talk about what how unbelievably clean everything was.

Yes, clean. That was the #2 thing we were known for. As a food truck. Clean.

We’re doing important, hard, and complex work at Clover. And it’s not alway easy to describe what that work is. I’m guessing most of you have been stumped when somebody, a family member, or friend, or customer asks “so what is Clover?” I’ve struggled for years to describe it myself. There’s so much that we do and it’s hard to describe.

I think, after a bunch of years of stumbling, that I have the words you can all use to describe what we’re doing. And it harkens back to those early days. At Clover we’re making CLEAN FOOD.

What does this mean?

I. Our FLAVORS ARE CLEAN – We let delicious ingredients speak for themselves. We don’t muddle flavors with too many ingredients, we don’t have to. Our vegetables are in season and packed with flavor. We can’t stand cross contamination of flavors (think onion-y cambros and cutting boards for onions). We don’t drown our food in salt, sugar, and fat. We don’t use chemicals you can’t pronounce in our food. This is why our food is delicious.

II. Our FOOD IS CLEAN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT – By not selling meat we make a dramatic impact on global and local environmental issues. Meat is super intensive and a giant contributor to global warming, erosion, and contaminating ground water. By not including meat on our menu we let our customers meals become small but tangible steps towards a better environment. Honestly, it’s not personal and obvious, but this is really probably the most unique and impactful thing we do as a company. And it’s why I started Clover.

III. Our SOURCING IS CLEAN – We buy food from amazing farmers and develop real and lasting relationships that help us build stronger and healthier food systems. We’ve helped our tomato grower grow larger, we’ve single-handedly turned Brussels sprouts into a real crop in Massachusetts, we’ve helped get brewers using locally grown barley, and we’re about to get Massachusetts growing wheat with our new Pita. Clover returns unheard of amounts of money to local purveyors. We estimate that for every $10 we spend on food $7 goes to regional purveyors. That’s unheard of. For many in our industry that number is zero. For those that try to source farm to table that number might be $2 of $10. This is why we’re changing the entire food industry in the Boston area.

III. Our FOOD IS CLEAN FOR YOUR BODY – We care about our customer’s health, and since day 1 we’ve been committed to creating food that improves rather than diminishes your health with every bite. Our menu is balanced regarding calories, fat, cholesterol, protein. Our “least healthy” option is better nutritionally speaking than Subway’s “most healthy” option. We don’t use preservatives, emphasize organic ingredients, and make sweets an occasional treat rather than a daily snack. This is why people feel better and often lose weight when they start eating more and more Clover.

Means something else. It means that our restaurants and trucks need to be clean. And I don’t mean straightened, or “tidy.” I don’t mean less dirty than other restaurants. I mean like new, shiny, blindingly clean. This requires a TON of work. Back in those early days I used to spend more time cleaning than I did making food. I took every piece of everything off of every truck every single night.

We’ll be talking a bunch more about what CLEAN FOOD really means. And we’ll be talking a bunch over the coming months about what cleanliness at restaurants means.

You are all getting trained on MOPPING. Thanks Sara, your video is awesome and I can’t wait for this to roll through the company. I understand KND is 99% trained and other locations are on their way.

I’m changing our UNIFORM POLICY. Please read carefully. The new policy will be reflected in an update of the handbook Megan will post today.

Provisional employees will receive 1 apron and 1 hat. They will be asked to wear a solid color T-shirt to work with blue jeans and slip resistant shoes. The T-shirt should have no logos or graphics. Clover will pay for the apron and hat and they are to be returned when/ if the employee leaves Clover.

Team Members will receive 3 Clover T-shirts upon promotion. They will be expected to come to work with clean clothing and personal appearance. Clover will pay for the T-shirts. If a T-shirt is damaged and must be replaced employees will have to return the damaged T-shirt for a replacement.

Existing employees will each receive 2 T-shirts, paid for by Clover.
Seasonal Clover T-shirts will be available to employees at discounted prices and are acceptable as alternative wear while at work. This includes all Clover T-shirts you already have.

I’m putting in a giant order for new T-shirts. You can expect this change to roll out over the coming 2-3 weeks.

In coming weeks you’ll hear more about CLEAN CLOVER. Specifically, Sara has some more training videos covering CLEANING FOOD SURFACES, CLEANING TRUCKS, and CLEANING BATHROOMS. We have a new Logistics Manager we’re on boarding who is going to whip the HUB into super clean condition. And we’re going to put new checklists and preventative maintenance programs in place. With better tools and improved support I believe we will be able to propel ourselves from where we are now to the new industry standard for clean.

Thanks all. I know this is a much longer message than I normally send, but it’s really really important. We’re going to roll up our sleeves together and do some hard work over the coming months to create a better Clover. I’m so happy to be working with all of you,


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