Clover POS Review
Product Name: Clover POS
Product Description: Clover POS is point of sale software designed to facilitate in-person and online payments for small to mid-sized restaurants.
Offer price: Starting at $75/mo.
Offer URL: https://www.clover.com/
In this Clover Restaurant POS Review, I’m going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly of this popular point of sale system. By doing so, hopefully I can help you decide if Clover is the right restaurant POS system for you, as well help you choose the very best POS system for you and your restaurant. As we all know, your POS system is the central nervous system of your restaurant so it’s important that you choose wisely if you want to run a savvy restaurant business.
How These POS Reviews Work
For those of you who don’t know, these are how my reviews work: I basically use my connections to find a restaurant owner I know who is using the restaurant POS system I am reviewing and ask them if I can jump on it and get to know it more intimately.
I then ask about and get their feedback and experience with the POS system. I also get the reactions from other restaurant owners and managers I know who are using it, as well as online feedback. In this way, we have a complete collaboration of thoughts and opinions, not just mine.
As always, I recommend signing up for a live demo with any POS system that you are interested in so that you can see the key features and how it works from an expert, and you are able to ask all of your questions at that time.
Table of contents
- How These POS Reviews Work
- What is Clover POS?
- Who Should Use Clover POS?
- Clover POS Pros and Cons
- Clover POS Ease of Use
- Clover POS Features
- Clover POS Integrations & Add-ons
- How Much Does Clover POS Cost?
- Clover POS Reporting
- Clover Customer Support
- Restaurant POS System FAQ’s
What is Clover POS?
The Clover POS system is a user-friendly point of sale system that was originally built for retail, and then later adapted to serve restaurants as well. This gives it a considerable disadvantage when going up against other restaurant POS systems like Lightspeed and Rezku that were built specifically for restaurants.
Now, I will apologize up front because this overview section is longer than most of my POS reviews, and that’s because there are some things you need to know about Clover before buying. It does have plenty of basic features and good things about it, but it has plenty of “bad” and “ugly” as well.
The Bad and the Ugly of Clover POS
Where Clover really goes off the rails all stems back to the company that runs it which is Fiserv, now called First Data, most likely because they had to switch their name because of the not-so-amazing reputation they built while being called Fiserv.
The problem with companies like First Data that are the umbrella for POS systems is that they are a merchant account company first and not a POS company for the most part. For those of you who don’t know, merchant account companies historically have incredibly horrendous customer support. I’m not sure why, but First Data is no exception based on online reviews and feedback.
No Online Demo to Be Found
Another thing I really disliked about Clover is that when you jump on their website there appears to be no online demo, at least not one I could find. For me, it is IMPERATIVE that you get a demo of the POS system you’re interested in so you can see how it works and ask all of the questions you need to. All they have on their website is “Contact Sales” and then they get you on the phone and try to sell you.
That’s all fine and dandy, but as a potential customer, I want to see how it works. I need visuals. It’s a great disservice to not provide a full demo when you are purchasing something this important. Nearly every other POS company on the planet has a live demo.
Not sure why Clover does not, but they should be seriously flogged for it. With bamboo rods.
The Great Merchant Service War
To say that purchasing the Clover system is a bit confusing is like saying poking a sleeping bear is a tad perilous. Yes, you can purchase the Clover hardware through their website but you can also purchase it through a 3rd party merchant service company. So they’re like a mercenary for hire.
This means besides Clover’s crappy software and hardware support, you have to make sure the merchant service provider you choose has good rates, pricing and customer service, and you have to be careful or they might sell you some crappy third-rate hardware.
AND, let’s not forget that every one of these merchant providers that you can choose from is still under the First Data umbrella, meaning they are the processor. Always and forever. It’s like you try to boycott one company because you don’t like them, so you choose to go with a competitor, only to find out they’re all owned by the same evil empire. Not that First Data is an evil empire, but as previously mentioned, they do not have the most stellar of reputations.
In general, this whole thing is so complicated it makes me want to step in front of a bus to end the pain. I mean there are literally hundreds of merchant services where you can purchase Clover, which means you are rolling the dice in hopes that the merchant service provider you choose isn’t a giant piece of shit. It’s very risky. I’m not sure why First Data makes this so complicated, but they do.
Can You Switch Processors With Clover POS?
The answer is “NO”. Check this out: seeing as you can purchase Clover through one of many different payment processors, if you do purchase it through your processor, you have to use your processor forever.
Or if you switch processors, you have to buy a completely new Clover POS system because your original one that’s connected to your original processor will no longer work with your new processor.
In other words, it’s not reprogrammable. Stupid, right? And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “No big deal, I’ll just stay with my current processor,” but switching processors could potentially save you thousands of dollars so you want to have that option.
And why isn’t it reprogrammable? I have no idea, so I contacted First Data by chat and by phone and neither one had an answer for me. I received the “That’s just the way it is, deal with it” response, so I also contacted First Data’s press department to ask why and they never responded. So they aren’t invited to my POS party.
Ok, I’m done with the bashing part of Clover. I just don’t understand companies that don’t set-up their business to be as helpful and user-friendly to their customers. Poo on them. With that said, I digress. Let’s continue on with the review…
In Case You Were Wondering What Our #1 Restaurant POS System is…
Who Should Use Clover POS?
- Small to mid-sized full-service restaurants
- Quick service restaurants
- Coffee shops
- Retail stores
If you are a larger restaurant or brewery or chain restaurant, Clover is not going to be the best POS system for you. Clover is best for smaller to mid-sized venues, and even then, it isn’t the best POS system for this. There are other POS systems that I would recommend for smaller restaurants that rank above Clover.
Clover POS Pros and Cons
The pros and cons for Clover POS are a mixed bag.
- Very easy to use and set-up
- Lots of integrations and add-ons
- Lots of basic features
- Good for small businesses
- High up-front costs
- Pricing is vague
- Customer service is not good
- Company itself is known to be scammy
- Not as robust or intuitive as other restaurant POS systems
Clover POS Ease of Use
For this, Clover gets a check mark in the “Good” column. When I used Clover, I liked it. It has a simple and clean interface and it was simple and easy to navigate. I was told by the restaurant owner that allowed me to play with it that it was very easy to set-up right out of the box and that it is very intuitive for the employees to use as well. The basic features were easy to use as well.
However, as mentioned before, Clover was not built specifically for restaurants, so although it is easy-to-use, it is not nearly as intuitive is some of the other restaurant POS systems that were built specifically for restaurants.
Clover POS Features
Clover has a solid set of restaurant POS software features built into the system. In fact, it has most of the same basic features of the other top-tiered systems on the market. They simply aren’t as robust or intuitive as those other restaurant POS systems. The type of software features you get depend on which pricing tier you choose. Other add-on features will cost extra. Some of the main features of Clover are:
|Table mapping, open tabs with card pre-authorization, bill splitting, item and order-level discount, contactless dining (QR-code order & pay, tipping
|Clover online menu page, no-fee online ordering, pick-up and delivery order types, remote order firing
|Item and category management, color-coded categories, stock tracking and marking “sold out” by item, item modifiers and labels
|Swipe and dip cards, PayPal and Venmo, Cash or checks, Scan-to-Pay (QR code on receipt), Keyed-in payments, tap cards and mobile wallets (like Apple Pay, Google Pay)
|The inventory management for Clover is very basic, but it will give you tracking information an outage alerts.
|Tracking & Reporting
|Real-time sales tracking, detailed sales reports, tax reporting, cost tracking by item
|Individual logins and permissions, shift management, payroll integrations
|Cash Flow Services
|Rapid Deposit – Get funds within minutes of a credit card sale
|Customers earn points based on the purchase amount or qualifying inventory items.
|Clover Gift Cards can be purchased and redeemed right on smartphones.
Clover POS Integrations & Add-ons
In addition to some key features, the integrations for Clover POS are quite good. Or I should say that the integration “options” are very good. The Clover app market has an array of integrations for you to choose from, including more than 450 apps.
They will have most everything you want and need if you want add-on features for an extra cost. With that said, there are many complaints about the integrations not working correctly, or not performing the functions as described. This is not a good sign when selecting a quality restaurant management software.
|Create a free, branded ecommerce site for your restaurant.
|Organize your telephone orders.
|Let guests order and pay directly on their Clover device.
|Add change-dispenser functionality to your Station or Mini.
|Manage payroll, benefits and HR.
|Schedule employees and help them manage their time.
|Let your team split a day’s gratuity.
|Create commission structures & run reports for each employee.
|Manager customer appointments
|Update item inventory levels and manage re-stocking in real time
|Manage inventory and stock tracking
|Transfer daily Clover sales to Quickbooks or Xero
|DAVO Sales Tax
|Collect, file and pay sales tax
How Much Does Clover POS Cost?
Clover Pricing – Fair
When it comes to pricing, Clover is fair. One of the main problems is that figuring how much this POS system actually costs is like opening your eyes underwater while swimming in a pond after a storm: it’s murky as hell.
Even once you figure the pricing out, you’ll find that it’s in the middle of the road compared to other restaurant POS systems, but one of the biggest complaints Clover gets is that what you get for your money isn’t very meaty—meaning not much meat on the bone.
The other complaint is that the upfront costs are considerable. This is strange considering that the Clover system itself is adequate enough, but does nothing to blow you away like some of the other POS systems out there.
In fact, we had to update this article soon after it came out because Clover had raised its prices again. A 20% INCREASE, which is a lot when it comes to restaurant POS system cost. We have a side-by-side comparison to show you what it was and what it is now.
If you get on their website, you’ll see that they have a starter, a standard and an advanced plan. All of which have hefty up-front fees and then monthly software fees.
Why are their upfront costs for so an average system so high? We have no idea.
As mentioned at the beginning of this journey, if you choose Clover as your point of sale system, you MUST use Clover’s hardware, so the hardware options are limited. Furthermore, in order to get the best price, you will need to buy all of the hardware up front.
You can purchase the hardware individually or in hardware bundles. The hardware setup is said to be fairly straightforward.
One thing I don’t like is that there are resellers all over the world selling Clover hardware, which means 3rd parties. Which means you could get scammed. If you are going to purchase Clover hardware or hardware bundles, do it through them, even if it costs a bit more.
Clover POS Hardware Costs
*Hardware device descriptions are directly from the Clover website.
Clover Go Card Reader – $49
The Go app and portable credit card reader enable users to have a full POS system regardless of the type of connection they have.
Clover Flex Handheld Device – $499
A portable POS machine with 6” touchscreen, built-in printer, camera and barcode scanner for tableside ordering, inventory management, and payments.
Clover Mini POS (includes Printer) – $79
8″ touch screen allows you to confirm orders, complete payments, and manage everything to run your business.
Clover Station Solo – $1,349
14” high-definition touch screen. Comes with a cash drawer and receipt printer.
Clover Station Duo POS and Customer Facing Screen – $1,799
A 14” HD display for the restaurant and a 7” touch screen for the guests to confirm their order, leave a tip, redeem rewards, pay, and request a digital receipt.
Cash Drawer – $69
Kitchen Printer – $359
Barcode Scanner – $199
Weight Scale – $499
Clover POS Additional Costs & Fees
|Debit Card Setup Fee
|Merchant Application Fee
|From $49 – $1,799 per Device
|From $10 – $290/mo. per Device
|Card Present Processing Fees (Clover)
|2.3% + 10¢
|Card Not Present Processing Fees (Clover)
|3.5% + 10¢
|Integration & Add-ons
|From $0 – $400/mo. per Integration
Clover POS Reporting
Rating – Fair
As far as Clover reporting goes, it is fine but very basic, but can’t compete with the best restaurant POS systems. Clover can track sales revenue, labor costs, best sellers, track your employee individual sales.
However, you’re someone who likes to view reports to make intelligent decisions for your restaurant business and make more money, Clover reporting will probably be a little sparse. But it does have all the basics.
Clover Customer Support
Rating – Poor
This probably won’t be a big surprise to any of you. I don’t want to say the customer support is awful, because I don’t want to be mean, but there’s just no getting around it. Overall, the Clover support is awful. And the reason this shouldn’t be a surprise is because of all the shady facts I shared with you earlier about the company.
There are a boatload of comments from customers describing how rude and evasive the customer service is. And Clover has shown very little effort to remedy the problem at all. I had contacted them at one point and couldn’t get a response.
Now, as I always say, the POS industry in general struggles with customer satisfaction, so it’s difficult to find any one company that’s perfect, but you need them to be somewhat consistent, and at the very least friendly.
I mean if you’re a large corporation with thousands of clients, I get it. It’s difficult to hire enough staff to answer back in a timely manner, but when they do contact you back, it’s so easy to be friendly.
That’s something that can be controlled, but this does not describe the Clover support team, so if customer support is important to you, move along little doggy. They do have a help center with guides and materials, but this is very thin and should not be a replacement for real support.
Trust Pilot Reviews
I like the website trustpilot.com, which is a well-renowned customer review site. I like it because it usually mirrors my similar research. Or at least it’s in the same ballpark. We all know how people love to bitch and moan and write nasty reviews, so anytime a product gets decent reviews at all, I like to take notice.
Clover does not qualify for this though. If you take a look here, you will see that Clover has a staggering 74% 1-star ratings, making their average 1.1 stars.
And in case you’re bad at math, that’s nearly 3 out of 4 people giving them a 1-star rating. People are pissed about Clover on there. As a comparison, just so you don’t think Trust Pilot are a bunch of skeptics, Upserve/Lightspeed, my top-rated POS system, has a rating of 4.6 stars and Toast which is also very popular, has 4.0 stars, so there you go: just more feedback from a different source.
In addition, I have also heard of multiple complaints that after closing their clover account that clover is still taking money from the businesses. I’ve seen the word “scam” used many times. I have no personal experience with Clover at any of the restaurants I have worked at over the years, but this seems to come up a lot, so beware.
With that said, here are the Clover customer support options, which are limited to say the least:
Clover Customer Support Options
|Online Knowledge Base
|Videos and Tutorials
Restaurant POS System FAQ’s
How much does a restaurant pos system cost?
A basic POS system for a small business may cost around $1,000 to $2,000 for hardware, software, and installation. More complex systems with advanced features and capabilities, such as inventory management, customer relationship management, and analytics, can cost significantly more, ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 or more.
However, a good restaurant POS system should be able to produce a high ROI (return on investment) which will increase your profits and should pay for the cost and a whole lot more.
How do I select the right restaurant pos system?
Selecting the best restaurant pos system for your business can be an overwhelming task. The best thing you can do is schedule demos so you can see how the system works and you can ask all the right questions to find the perfect fit for your restaurant. Based on your type of business (full-service restaurant, quick-service restaurant, etc) and the size of your venue, you will need to ask questions to discover the best restaurant POS system for you and your business.
What questions should I ask during a demo for different POS systems?
You should definitely be thorough when it comes to looking for the best restaurant pos system. Instead of listing all of the questions right here, you can go here to get a list of all the questions you should be asking before purchasing any of the POS systems out there.
What features should a restaurant pos system have?
Most pos systems have similar features. The difference comes in how they charge you. Some include many of the features in their pricing tiers, while others charge for features as POS integrations and add-ons.
With that said, these are the most common POS features you should be looking for:
- Online Ordering
- Menu Management
- Inventory Management
- Table Management
- Payment Processing
- Loyalty Programs
- Staff Management
- Reporting and Analytics
Which restaurant POS system is best?
Overall, after all my thousands of hours using and testing restaurant POS systems and speaking with owners and managers, I have found these four to be the best restaurant POS systems. You can click on any of them to schedule a demo, which I highly recommend doing.
Best Overall: Lightspeed for Restaurants
Best Runner-Up: GoTab
Honorable Mention: Toast POS
In the end, Clover is a good solution for smaller businesses if you want to keep it basic and you want an easy-to-set-up and easy-to-use system. They also do have a good payment processing system, and good processing fees.
However, there are also a lot of problems hitched to this Clover train. The more you have going on in your business, the more problems you run into. Unfortunately Clover struggles to help solve those more complex problems, both technology-wise as well as in-person support.
So my RealBarman rating for Clover POS for restaurants is 3.2 stars out of 5. If you’re a retail store you might have better luck, but it’s not the best restaurant POS system out there, and the customer satisfaction ratings prove it.
I hope this helped answer some questions and clear some things up for you if you were looking into Clover POS. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful day.