Ritual, City of Toronto partner to provide free ordering tool to local foodservice businesses

Ritual ONE

Toronto Mayor John Tory is set to announce a partnership between the City and food ordering and mobile pickup startup Ritual, to provide a tool aimed to help local businesses grow sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to us that we help our hometown businesses get up and running while keeping Torontonians safe.”

The tool, called Ritual ONE, provides foodservice businesses, including restaurants, grocers, butchers, and bakeries with a way to accept digital orders from their own website and social media accounts. Ritual ONE offers businesses the option for takeout or delivery, contactless ordering, and an automated loyalty program. The startup typically offers the ordering tool at a cost.

Through the initiative with the City of Toronto, businesses that sign up before June 1 will receive a lifetime exemption from both commission and subscription fees for Ritual ONE (as long as the business is located in an area where Ritual operates). Usually, the Ritual ONE monthly subscription fee costs $49.99 per month.

“As a Toronto-based company, it’s important to us that we help our hometown businesses get up and running while keeping Torontonians safe during this time,” said Ray Reddy, co-founder and CEO of Ritual.

James Rilett, vice president of Central Canada for Restaurants Canada, a national association representing Canada’s foodservice industry, said initiatives like this one being undertaken by the City and Ritual are necessary to help restaurants recover from the effects of COVID-19.

“We believe local restaurants are what make communities thrive, and we are here to support them as we work with Mayor Tory and the City of Toronto to help kickstart our economy again,” Reddy added.

This initiative is a part of the City’s short-term economic support and recovery plan. Businesses enrolled in the ShopHERE program will also be eligible for Ritual ONE in addition to the lifetime exemption from commission and subscription fees. Launched by the City on Monday, ShopHERE is a multi-partner initiative that aims to build 3,000 online stores for Toronto independent businesses.

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Businesses that use Ritual ONE will also receive a dedicated expert to support them during the onboarding process. This offer is also available to existing restaurants in the Ritual marketplace.

Restaurants have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data collected by Ipsos indicates that about 26 percent of Canadian restaurants won’t have the funds to re-open when the pandemic is over. As many restaurants have been forced to offer their services via delivery apps, some owners are arguing that the commission charged by these delivery apps is too high, given the current climate.

Ritual touts its current offering, which eliminates commission and subscription fees, as a way to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy.

The Toronto-headquartered startup has experienced its own challenges during the pandemic. Ritual heavily promotes its service to companies and workers, so when restaurants closed and its primary customer base began to work from home, the business ultimately took a hit. Last month, Ritual laid off more than half of its employees and scaled back operations.

Image source Ritual.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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