How Tea & Sympathy runs an omnichannel cafe and retail shop.

Tea & Sympathy has been serving a slice of England since 1990.

Tea & Sympathy is a New York restaurant and grocer founded by Sean Kavanah-Dowsett that offers classic British fare and sells teas, candies, and other specialty goods.

Molly, Tea & Sympathy’s manager, and Sean first started using Square Point of Sale to replace an outdated POS system. Advanced inventory management features helped Molly and Sean add a Square Online store seamlessly and turn a sit-down cafe into a thriving omnichannel business.


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An outdated system replaced with a user-friendly POS.

Since opening in 1990, Tea & Sympathy had been using an older point-of-sale system and handwritten paper checks to process sales. They transitioned to using Square Point of Sale because of how simple it was to set up and use. Saving commonly used products to their home screen and creating separate tabs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner items made it even easier to take orders as the menu changed throughout the day.

If there are any issues with a sale, it’s simple for their staff to look up the transaction and resolve the issue in real time. When Molly and Sean are away, they can easily log into their Square Point of Sale app to see what’s happening at the business, so they never miss a beat.

“The ability to really customize the item grid on the iPad made it extremely easy to switch between breakfast, lunch, teatime, and dinner. “

— Molly Carew
Manager, Tea & Sympathy

Tea & Sympathy takes the guesswork out of inventory management.

Prior to using Square, counting inventory was a manual process prone to errors. It was nearly impossible to know how much inventory they had of any given product, especially if they were away from the shop. Now, Sean and Molly can see all inventory from anywhere, and low-stock alerts help them ensure they never run out of popular items.

Easter and Christmas are the busiest times of year — they import many specialty items from England, so it’s critical that their inventory stays up to date. When an item is sold in-store, Square automatically updates the inventory so they don’t accidentally sell sold-out items online.

“It was really a breakthrough for us to have a system where we could actually have an idea of how many Mars bars were on the premises.”

— Sean Kavanah-Dowsett
Co-owner, Tea & Sympathy

“Square gave us the ability to take online food and shopping orders.”

— Molly Carew
Manager, Tea & Sympathy

In-person and online sales are managed with ease and flexibility.

As with many businesses, pandemic shutdowns created new challenges for in-person dining and retail shops. That’s when Tea & Sympathy introduced a Square Online store to offer new ways customers could interact with their business.

With integrated inventory management, Molly and Sean created a seamless new process with their online store that allowed them to view online orders and check the progress in real time. Their Square system helps ensure each order is fulfilled correctly before it’s picked up or delivered.

As Tea & Sympathy has grown, Molly and Sean rely on historical sales reports to understand what items sell best at which point during the year, so they know when to add them back to the menu and ensure they always have fan-favorites on hand.

“Square gave us the ability to take online food and shopping orders.”

— Molly Carew
Manager, Tea & Sympathy

“The benefit of using Square is the fact that inventory stays synced between in-store and online.”

– Sean Kavanah-Dowsett
Co-owner, Tea & Sympathy

This business was compensated fairly by Square for its time.

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