May 31, 2016

Phase 3


Clover is now 6 months into our multi-year effort to adjust pay rates. I started planning this back in November 2015. Low wages in our industry results in lack of stability in the workforce. I’m sick of it. I don’t think it’s a good way to build a sustainable company. It’s not what I want to be a part of. So we’re on a mission to adjust pay rates. I’d like to get to an average wage rate of $20/ hr. I think it will take 2 years. It’s possible we fail, but instead we think you’re going to help us create a new and better future.

That’s a picture of Jasper. He’s going to open CloverFIN (160 Federal St., Boston) in less than 2 weeks. Why put a salaried manager on this post? Because I want to draw attention to the fact that entry level pay impacts us all. We’re taking this challenge on because we believe low wages in foodservice have widespread impact. They effect customers, they effect leaders in our company, and of course, they effect hourly employees.

The only way pay goes up is if prices go up. So we started this conversation with customers about how much food service workers should be paid. We’re making small incremental increases in prices, we’re tying these increases to wage improvements, and we’re being transparent about the whole process.

That means doing the scary thing of announcing price changes and drawing attention to something most of our industry tries to keep super quiet, you know, so you don’t notice it’s happening.

Here, goes. As of this past Saturday we made the following changes to menu pricing:


  • Breakfast sandwich from 3.74 to 3.97
  • Muffin, popover, oatmeal without fruit from 2.34 to 2.80


  • Organic black iced tea, daily sodas from 2.33 to 2.80
  • OJ from 3.04 to 3.74
  • Herbal teas from 3.04 to 3.27
  • Kids items from 3.50 to 3.74


  • Sandwiches 7.47 to 7.70
  • Platters 8.41 to 8.64
  • Fries 3.74 to 4.21
  • Side salads 3.04 to 3.27

We’re expecting these changes to result in an overall change to prices of 4.4% (mix adjusted). Previous price increases have seen no measurable drop in sales (thanks everybody!) We’re hoping the same trend continues. Of course, if we see transactions drop we’ll be forced to stop or at least pause this march forward. The majority of the increase will go to increasing wages (the rest we use to cover increases in food costs, overhead, etc.). Previously our increases were pretty flat. This time we’re targeting leadership roles (Team Leader, Assistant Manager, Prep).


Team Members base pay will go from $11.25/ hour to $11.50/ hour

Team Leaders base pay will go from $13.50/ hour to $14.50/ hour

Prep base will be $12/ hour, Prep Lead will be $15/ hour

Assistant Manager pay will go from $15.00/ hour to $16.00/ hour

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