Post COVID-19: How Digital Innovation Can Drive the Restaurant Industry Forward


Despite facing multiple obstacles (including forced closures), the hospitality industry shows a renewed sense of optimism among business owners as they slowly re-open their doors. A recent Verizon Small Business Recovery Survey found that small business owners and decision-makers have a renewed sense of confidence in their business’ financial wellbeing throughout this challenging time. Overall, findings showed that less than half (48%) of small business owners surveyed were concerned about their job security as a result of the pandemic, compared to 60% surveyed during the early stages of the pandemic in April.

The survey’s findings from October included more than 600 small and medium businesses across the country, including respondents from the bar and restaurant industry. The survey found that more than half (55%) of respondents have concerns about staying afloat financially with social distancing regulations in place that limit business capacity during this tricky time period. With capacity challenges in mind, business owners and decision-makers are pivoting toward advanced technologies that create new opportunities for sustained business growth.

Digitization of Services

One trend we are seeing when it comes to adapting to the new normal is the implementation of new digitization services. Now more than ever, it is crucial for businesses to connect with consumers on a larger scale in order to address concerns regarding social distancing, the new dining experience, and safety measures they are taking to protect their clientele. Beyond customer safety, digitization opens up opportunities to both market to and drive revenue. Nearly 50% of all small businesses are using digital tools and technologies to create new opportunities and grow their revenue during the pandemic and for restaurants and establishments.

More than 2 in 5 decision-makers believe that their business will expand through digital technologies and rely more heavily on communication services for business operations. Survey data also showed that:

  • 48% of food & beverage SMBs have started delivering products and services differently using virtual servicing and local home delivery methods
  • 30% of respondents began adding or transitioning to digital/online operations
  • 28% of restaurant and bar establishments began offering products and services to adapt to evolving customer needs
  • 22% of small businesses are integrating and utilizing these new systems and tools to help streamline remote collaboration and help drive their business forward

Contactless Payments

Verizon recently partnered with Fiserv to offer touchless payments capabilities to our small business customers. We are seeing businesses rely on such technologies to drive efficiency, ensuring data and operational security becomes of greater importance.

As restaurants and bar establishments continue to implement more methods for contactless transactions and at-home delivery services, 45% of businesses are concerned when it comes to the safety of their customer’s digital transactions, as well and their networks and services. In order to help businesses navigate through the new normal, businesses are implementing strict protocols and measures that leverage the cloud and help scale their security system to streamline their daily operations.

As we look to the future of the hospitality industry, I am excited by the innovation and creativity we’ve seen within our local communities. While we have a long road to recovery, small businesses are continuing to show their perseverance when it comes to facing one of the largest obstacles within our industries' history.


As Vice President of Business Sales for the Eastern United States, Eric is responsible for all business sales, technical engineering, advanced communications solutions and customer experience for the region.  In this role, he manages nearly fifteen hundred sales professionals, delivering innovative technology solutions to businesses in the largest cities in the U.S., including, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C.

Eric’s team provides integrated solutions that streamline business processes, maximize efficiency, and simplify the end user customer experience
.  In the past year, he has helped over 100,000 customers stay ahead of the competition with integrated solutions that simplify technology and provide consistency for his clients.

He received his MBA in Global Management from the University of Illinois.  A graduate of La Salle University, Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy.  He has completed executive leadership courses at Harvard and Northwestern Universities.

In May of 2020, Eric was featured on FOX Philadelphia regarding Verizon’s commitment to small businesses during COVID-19, including 7.5 million in small business grants to over 400 businesses.

Eric is a supporter of Life Remodeled, a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding communities in Detroit.  In addition, he leads volunteer efforts for Gleaners Food Bank, which distributes more than 43 million pounds of food annually to 528 soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, senior homes.

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