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CSA Exclusive: Food service retailer adapts to COVID-19 with WiFi

Sisters Stephanie Byrd & Cristina Byrd, co-owners of Flood’s Bar & Grille and The Block in Detroit.
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Detroit-based Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block made necessary changes to its business during the pandemic with WiFi networking and smartphones.

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the local restaurant had found itself losing its constant connectivity to its POS terminals during peak times. To ensure that its POS network maintained connectivity while undergoing its heaviest use periods, Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block added failover solutions using WiFi connection and networking from Verizon.

[Read more: CSA Exclusive: Verizon technology keeps small businesses competitive]

“We had some special needs that other providers didn’t have solutions to,” Stephanie Byrd, co-owner of Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block, told Chain Store Age in an exclusive interview. “We converted over to the Verizon One Talk solution, as well, for our voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) telephony.”

Once the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Byrd needed access to change the restaurant’s automated telephone greetings, as well as make constant changes to its call flow. Determined to stay in business and retain all employees, the company switched to carry-out service only during the pandemic, and gradually opened back up to full-service dining once restrictions were lifted.

“Using Verizon technology, we have been able to obtain immediate responses and solutions to any issues,” said Byrd. “I am extremely busy all the time, and need to be able to change my phone system and not worry about if our staff has access to the POS system while I’m out.”

Leveraging the Verizon One Talk mobile-first business telephony platform, Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block enabled employees to be mobile be in touch with customers from any location. With One Talk, if the Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block office phone line rings and no one answers, the solution will ring multiple employee cells, so the business never misses a customer call.

In addition, Verizon Internet connectivity and smartphones enabled Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block to connect its ATM and elevators, as well as provide backup wireless connectivity and efficiently process transactions at a low cost.

“We are committed to providing customers like Stephanie and (co-owner) Cristina Byrd with customized technology solutions that can help streamline and scale their businesses,” said Mark Tina, VP of business sales for Verizon Business, overseeing the mid-market wireless business team for the Eastern region of the U.S., in exclusive commentary to Chain Store Age. “Verizon has a strong portfolio of wired and wireless solutions we can offer on a primary and back-up basis to insure our customers can stay connected with their customers. Enabling mobility has been one of the key priorities for many of our customers, and seeing our OneTalk solution provide just that for this customer is a great example of a small business using technology to adapt, stay competitive and succeed.”

Flood’s Bar and Grille and The Block is not done building up its business as it emerges from COVID-19, nor is the retailer done utilizing the capabilities of Verizon technology.

“We are hoping to grow our business and brand within the near future, and Verizon will be a part of that,” concluded Byrd.

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