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On this week’s episode of Point-of-Scale, Mark talks about the Clover Mini with Dawn Eskins, owner of Carolina Cupcakery. In the interview, Dawn shares how the payment processing system helps her to streamline her business.


Dawn Eskins of Carolina CupcakeryMark: I am Mark Brown, founder of Orange Sock. We’re doing a podcast series on Clover and retail applications. I’m here with Dawn Eskins, as seen on Carolina Cupcakery on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Dawn: We shot two recent episodes of House Hunters, so that’s coming soon.

Mark: Oh, House Hunters as well?

Dawn: Yeah.

Mark: I didn’t realize how big and popular you were getting.

Dawn:We’re on the reality radar somehow.

Mark: Wonderful. We’re down here at Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia, where Dawn has opened up another location. We’re talking about the retail application with Clover, but why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you come to be Dawn Eskins, Carolina Cupcakery?

Dawn: We actually opened one of the first cupcake shops in the country, and there were very few people to call 10 years ago for cupcakes. When they started the show Cupcake Wars, there weren’t that many people to call. We’ve had blessings upon blessings of different things that have happened to us. It’s been an amazing ride, I have to say.

Mark: I can attest that she really does enjoy what she does. Got pictures of her grandkids on the wall at the shop.

Dawn: Yeah. We take it seriously. It’s the best advertising.

Mark: If you’re going to do dessert, why not do it great? I mean, you might as well, right?

Dawn: That’s right. Yes.

Mark: If you’re going to do anything great, is might as well be dessert.

Dawn: You’ve got to do the best.

Mark: Why don’t you tell us one thing that you really liked about Clover? You have a Clover Mini facing the customer. You’re adding the order kiosk. What is something that you just attract to about Clover and use it in here?

Dawn: I think with the current labor pool it works really well because it’s so user friendly. The interface is really nice. We are getting ready to do a customer facing kiosk because again. It’s so user friendly. Our volume is such that if someone can place an order themselves, then that’s a good thing and that means we can sell more. We are bottle-necking.

Mark: You could say, “It’s a good problem to have. We have too many customers.”

Dawn: It’s great, yeah. No complaints at all.

Mark: How is Clover helping with that? To be transparent, we’re in the process of enhancing Clover being utilized here because you are bottle-necking. If you don’t know what’s happening down here in Waterside Norfolk, it’s hopping. It’s moving and shaking.

Dawn: Norfolk is the hottest city on the East Coast right now. We have a 12-story Ferris wheel that’s going to be here in May. I didn’t know if you knew that.

Mark: Just like Seattle. I did not know that.

Dawn: A 12-story Ferris wheel is going to be erected in May. We also have The Main, which is Hilton. Marriott just did a major remodel, and Sheraton is in the process of one right now. The Main is the most connected convention facility on the East Coast. We’re rocking it. Between that, Not A Kiss, we’ve got festivals every weekend. ADP just re-established a base here. So yeah.

Mark: ADP? What is that? Employee management? Payroll?

Dawn: They just had taken over a couple buildings downtown.

Mark: Huge company.

Dawn: We also have a couple of downtown buildings that are switching over to high-end residential. We’re going to have more and more people in here. Norfolk is hot.

Mark: It is.

Dawn: I’m excited about it, to be a part of it.

Mark: Yeah. It has old school with new school. One of the old school places—I’ll plug my friend, Andrea DiCarlo who owns La Bella over in Ghent. It’s one of the finest Italian cuisines you can get. He’s also bringing a lot of his pastries. It’s all Italian pastries, which I know you can appreciate.

Dawn: Yeah. It’s different. These are southern pastries.

Clover Mini

Clover Mini

Mark: But speaking back to Norfolk, the area here is just really hopping. It’s older. It’s newer. That’s exciting. We’re seeing a lot of this traffic come in where we came down here—a lot of this traffic was more than expected. It’s a good problem, too much business. We’ve identified how Clover’s going to help you with that. What is the solution that you’re excited about on how Clover can speed things up for the transaction, or help you with your needs there?

Dawn: We’ve only been here managing this space for about eight weeks. But the two challenges that I’m seeing is, number one, the bottle-necking. That just means it’s a small space, so you can only get a couple of employees back there. That means that we need to optimize the orders that are coming in so that people aren’t backing up out the door.

We haven’t even started festival season yet. We’re trying to stay ahead of the ball on that before the festivals get started, which should be in about a month. I want to be prepared for that.

The other challenge that we have is that it’s a large sort of arena type of a venue. The sound, I don’t know if you can tell, but the sound really is terrible. When they set up a band, which is 100 feet away, my ordering stops. No one can get anything because we can’t hear the customer. I had an employee literally who texted me the other night and said, “Ms. Dawn, I need ear plugs.” “No, you don’t need ear plugs. Then you really won’t be selling anything.” Then my second thought was, “He’s going to sue me for hearing damage.”

Mark: Sure. Right.

That’s not on me. But that’s not a bad problem to have either. Because of Clover having this option where we can provide an order screen, much like a lot of the other places that are doing them now, I don’t see that as an option to taking away employees or reducing our footprint on the facility here itself. What I see that is when we can’t function, Clover kicks in and takes care of that. That’s pretty great.

Mark: We looked at going two different ways. We looked at going with a tablet, and then using the Clover Mini back here, which is being used right now. The difference in how that will work for you is that with the Clover Mini, you can take payment as well as a customer placing the order. Whereas the tablet, it’s great for just taking the order. Table side is where you still want to have that interaction, that opportunity to capture needs and have a conversation with a buyer. You just do that with the Android tablet where they begin that process, and then you complete it with a sale.

Great technology is one thing. Having access to representation is another…What Mark does is hugely valuable. It really is. The fact that I can call him and say, “This isn’t working”, and he can fix it.

Dawn: Do you know what just popped in my head, actually?

Mark: What’s that?

Dawn: Is this is the type of facility where I literally could have an employee walking around with samples and capturing orders on-site.

Mark: Yeah. You could do that with a tablet.

Dawn: Yeah. I literally could do that with a tablet. We’re going to try both types to figure out what works best here. I’m not sure if it’s better to capture payment before. We’re going to try them both.

Mark: Does it help you to know that you have resources available to you to help identify what’s best for you when you have these multiple options? “What path should I go with?” I’m kind of plugging my own services here, but if you don’t get it from Orange Sock, get it from whoever you get Clover from. Demand that somebody’s going to be there to help you connect the dots so that this isn’t an awesome device that sits on the counter and rings people up.

Dawn: Yeah. It doesn’t just look pretty.

Mark: It’s an overpaid overpriced cash register? No. It’s meant to run your business. In this application it’s bridging those tools to you.

I think we’ve gone through about Clover. We talked about some of the benefits you’re finding. If you could leave anything with business owners that are listening, people who might be going through some harder times, what you say to somebody listening that might help them in their business, or growing their life right now?

Dawn: Great technology is one thing. Having access to representation is another. I literally have tried to set up a couple of things in here. It is extremely user friendly, but I tried to make it do something it wasn’t supposed to do, basically. The fact that I could call Mark and he could come down here and take care of that is huge.

A lot of the services that are available to business owners, they don’t even have a human being that you can talk to. I’ve got a couple of bills right now I’d love to get taken care of, and I can’t talk to a human being. I’m waiting for someone to respond to me via email because there’s no customer service representation. What Mark does is hugely valuable. It really is. The fact that I can call him and say, “This isn’t working”, and he can fix it.

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