May 10, 2021

Secrets at Clover? Testing, testing, beta beta beta


You all know how we value transparency and talking openly about everything we do, even our screw ups. So writing this note feels a bit wrong to me. These aren’t exactly secrets per se, more like a skunkworks that we just haven’t talked much about. This is going to be a long-ish post but I want to get this all off my chest : )

First: Ready Meals

We started shipping “Ready Meals” back in October. We’re putting them on hold starting in two weeks. So why am I talking about them now? They were super limited to start, which is why we kept them sort of hush-hush. And really a beta test. They arose out of our own desire to have really delicious super convenient meals while we were working form home. Greg and I are both really bummed these are going away because our kids and households have come to sort of rely on them.

We launched a pilot program of subscription meals that were delivered in groups of 5 to subscribers’ households on Sundays. The idea was all of your lunch meals for that week were taken care of. They are/were super affordable ($6/ meal delivered), incredibly convenient, and really yummy. We were shipping about 180/ week. But the Clover Meal Box program is growing so so fast we just don’t have the capacity to continue to grow the Ready Meals right now with the size of our kitchen. So we’re going to put it on hold until we have a larger facility. I want to get this program to 2-5,000 meals/ week at some point. Tons of nutritionally dense, locally sourced, affordable veggie meals for everybody in Boston. Hang tight. Ready Meals will return.

Second: Taco Tuesday

You may have already heard about this one. We’ve been trying to keep it on the down low but it’s generated quite a bit of excitement already. We’re piloting a new type of subscription. You rely on us to take care of one of your household dinners/ week. We’re starting with a “Taco Tuesday.” If you subscribe week your household will get everything you need for an incredibly delicious taco feast. Changing weekly. Hearty servings, you will have lots of leftovers. Seasonal ingredients (of course). Includes amazing stuff we love like New England grown heirloom beans, proper fresh heirloom corn masa tortilla, and more yumminess. And it happens to be vegan and gluten free.

And yes, we have plans for a Pizza Friday. And a Sausage Sunday. And more… I think almost any household that cooks from scratch ends up building a bit of a schedule. At my house we have pasta on Thursdays. We have pancakes or waffles Sunday mornings. We have baked beans Sunday dinner, or Tagine in the winter. These rhythms create something to look forward to, they help keep us eating well and they make planning meals less of a hassle. I want Clover to help take the weight off of a few of your weekly dinners.

Third: Pita for sale at Whole Foods Market

We’re doing a pilot where we’re selling our own pita, made daily in our special oven with fresh grain from Maine. They look like a legit grocery product, with colorful label and merchandiser and everything. We’re having fun with these. Currently available at Whole Foods Sudbury and Whole Foods Westford. Coming soon to more locations?

Fourth: Clover Meal Club

We started Beta testing this 3 years ago. It’s a long development cycle. But that’s because I think it’s so so important. I believe this is the future for our industry. Time will tell if I’m right.

This program allows you to actually subscribe to a restaurant. What does that mean? You commit to a certain frequency of meals (e.g., 4 breakfasts/ week at Clover), and we give you a massive discount (e.g., 30% off in this case). We want to serve daily meals, and this moves us further in that direction. We’re trying to combine ingredients that are better than you can source at home, balanced in a way you might not achieve unless you are a nutritionist, with techniques that might be hard to pull off at home, at a price that is competitive with grocery shopping.

You can actually sign up for this now if you want. You can cancel anytime and pause if you’re away. It’s an amazing program. The only reason we’re not screaming about this one is that I think my voice might be lost to the winds of COVID. When people are back in daily work routines we’re going to put a big push behind this to get the word out. In the meantime it’s right here in your app, that button in the middle on the bottom, and open to anybody curious enough to explore.

Fifth: New restaurants

We’ll be doing more formal announcements later but we were in process on 2 new restaurants when COVID hit. We’ve restarted those projects and are really really excited about them. One is in the Prudential Center right next to the Sweetgreen (August-ish open). The other is in Newtonville at a new development called Trio at Washington and Chestnut streets. More on this later.

Whew. That feels better. Still 3 big projects I’m working on that I can’t talk about for various reasons, legal and relationship. I’ll share those as soon as I can.

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