In this review of Clover POS system for restaurants, I’m going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly of the Clover POS system. By doing so, hopefully I can help you decide if Clover is the right 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.
At anytime, you can download my Ultimate POS Buyer’s Guide for FREE by clicking here. This lists my top 5 POS systems for 2023 and beyond and breaks down each POS systems’ features, pros & cons, pricing, reporting, integrations and more.
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 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 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. At anytime you can click the link right here to go check out Clover if you wish.
As always, I recommend signing up for a live demo with any POS system that you are interested in so that you can see exactly how it works from an expert, and you are able to ask all of your questions at that time.
What We Will Cover
As always, with my restaurant POS reviews, we are going to cover the following:
You will definitely want to read both the good of Clover POS, as well as the bad and ugly, which we get more into towards the bottom half of the review.
Clover POS Overall Rating
Clover POS Overview
The Clover POS system is a user-friendly 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 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 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 in charge of 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 service. I’m not sure why, but First Data is no exception based on online reviews and feedback.
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. Dor me, it is IMPERATIVE that you get a demo of the product so you can see how it works and ask your questions. 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.
I’m Not Done Yet…
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…
Who Should Use Clover POS?
- Small to mid-sized bars and restaurants
- Coffee shops
- Retail stores
If you are a larger restaurant or brewery or chain restaurant, Clover is not going to be a great fit 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 features
- Good for small businesses
- High up-front costs
- Pricing is vague
- Customer service is not good
- Company itself does not have a great reputation
- Not as robust or intuitive as other restaurant POS systems
Clover POS Ease of Use – Excellent
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.
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 POS systems that were built specifically for restaurants.
Clover POS Features – Good
Clover has a solid set of features built into the system. In fact, it has most features of the other top-tiered systems on the market. They simply aren’t as robust or intuitive as those systems. Some of the main features of Clover are:
- Online Ordering – Pretty basic compared to other systems
- Floor and Menu Management
- Customer Loyalty Program
- Gift Cards
- Inventory Management – Very remedial
- EBT Acceptance
Clover POS Integrations & Add-ons – Good
In addition to decent 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 for an add-on price. With that said, there are many complaints about the integrations not working correctly, or not performing the functions as described.
Clover POS Pricing – Fair
When it comes to pricing, Clover is fair. One of the main problems is that figuring how much it 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 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, but does nothing to blow you away like some of the other systems out there.
Why are you charging so much upfront for your average system?
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.
You can also see that they have what they call the Flex handheld POS so you can take orders and payments at the table, which is cool.
And if you continue to scroll down the pricing chart, you can see what you get for each plan.
Clover also has the Clover Go app, which means you can take payments right from your smartphone or tablet. Clover’s apps are available on the Google Play and Apple App stores. One of the great things about the app is that you don’t need hardware to use it; as soon as Clover has processed your merchant account, you can begin taking payments immediately.
Clover POS Hardware
As mentioned at the beginning of this journey, if you choose Clover as your POS system, you MUST use Clover’s hardware. Furthermore, in order to get the best price, you will need to buy all of the hardware up front. 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, do it through them, even if it costs a bit more. Here are the options for hardware, plus pricing:
- Clover Go Card Reader: $49
- Clover Flex Handheld Device: $499
- Clover Mini POS (includes Printer): $79
- Clover Station Full POS: $1,349
- Clover Station Duo POS and Customer Facing Screen: $1,799
- Cash Drawer: $69
- Kitchen Printer: $359
- Barcode Scanner: $199
- Weight Scale: $499
Clover POS Reporting – Fair
As far as Clover reporting goes, it is fine but very basic. Clover can track sales revenue, labor costs, best sellers, track your employee individual sales, but if you’re someone who likes to view reports to make intelligent business decisions and make more money, Clover reporting will probably be a little sparse. But it does have all the basics.
Clover POS Support – Poor
This probably won’t be a big surprise to any of you. I don’t want to say the 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 support, 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.
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 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 is 3.2 stars out of 5. Not the worst POS system in the world. Just not the cream of the crop when it comes to the POS world.
Again, if you want to get my POS guide, you can download it here for Free: The Ultimate Restaurant POS Guide.
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. I’m going to see you next time. I’m out.