October 20, 2014

Order and Pay from Table at Bierhaus, powered by Apple Pay, Clover, and Estimote's iBeacon

Update: The Bierhaus app is now live in the App Store! Come play with it at Bierhaus in Mountain View, CA.

Background: Clover and First Data (our parent company) have been working with Apple to prepare for the launch of Apple Pay. Clover is enabling our cloud-based point-of-sale platform to accept Apple Pay In-App payments. Here's a sneak preview of what we did with Bierhaus, a beer garden in Mountain View, CA. We'll be open sourcing most of the Bierhaus app in the coming weeks. You can read more about how Apple Pay works from my first blog post

When I look outside the window from the Clover office, I often see a line outside Bierha.us. Here's the line as I write this post on Friday evening.

Bierhaus, with its ever-present line, shot from my window.
Now, I'm someone who hates waiting in lines, particularly if I'm going for a quick happy hour break at work. I'd like to just sit down, order from phone, and have my beer magically appear. So we built an app for that.

There are several key components to making the Bierhaus app work:
  • Apple Pay. Users can download the Bierhaus app and order and pay without typing in a credit card number or creating a user account. This is a leap forward in convenience and usability.
  • Clover. Clover is a cloud-based point-of-sale platform. POS systems are the central nervous systems of restaurants and retailers. We built Clover to be hackable (in the positive sense) to enable app developers to build new apps that use menu/inventory data, submit orders/tickets, make payments, print to kitchen printers, etc.
  • Estimote. We use Bluetooth Low Energy beacons to know the user is in the store.

The Bierhaus app for iPhone 6 lets you order:

And pay:

We have several Estimote Beacons placed around Bierhaus. Right now, this is mostly to restrict people from ordering beer when they're not at Bierhaus. In the future, you could do much more interesting things, such as automatically determining the table number (e.g. see Downtown) or creating a real-time map of where your customers are and doing path planning for delivery.

Thanks to the beacons and the Estimote SDK, I get this handy lock screen app:

Where to from here?

Clover has thousands of merchants on its platform, and is growing at thousands of merchants per month. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be enabling developers to build a raft of experiences: self-checkout, order ahead, pay at table, and order+pay at table. We expect that most apps targeting small and medium businesses will act as aggregators serving many merchants, not a single merchant like the Bierhaus app does.

We'll be open sourcing some apps and experiences we've been developing. Our goal is not to be a consumer-facing brand, but we need to develop these apps to prove out our platform quickly and iteratively. We welcome developers to pick up where we've left off and commercialize these experiences.

Other Wallets and Android

Any wallet that simply provides a credit card number can be used with Clover. For example, Google Wallet Instant Buy is Google's analog to Apple Pay In-App payments. Instead of using network-level tokenization like Apple Pay does, they instead use a proxy card with single-use tokens. Different design, but similar end result from an end-user, merchant, and developer perspective.

John Beatty is co-founder and head of engineering at Clover. Follow him at @beatty.

Clover is hiring! We're looking for world-class engineers and designs to join our team to fulfill our vision of putting an API on every store on the planet.