Remote work and varying degrees of stay-at-home restrictions will create long-term shifts in day-to-day routines in cities across the U.S., including changes in how people buy food and interact with local businesses. In response, the restaurant industry has pivoted to increased levels of pick-up and delivery options. However, not all restaurants, especially small and mid-size local businesses, have the capability to go digital and embrace online ordering. 

Ritual ONE is an online tool aimed to help small-to-midsize and independent restaurants in the Chicago area navigate the new post-COVID era. The tool is a commission-free platform for restaurants to host and process pick-up and delivery orders on their own websites. The platform normally costs $49 / restaurant location / month, but any current or new Ritual customers in the Chicago area will receive the service for free for life if they sign up by July 10. 

“Chicago is a special city to Ritual, as it was our first expansion city outside of Toronto. It’s important to Ritual that we help Chicago businesses get up and running while keeping Chicagoans safe during this time. Ritual ONE gives your favorite restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops the opportunity to easily offer contactless ordering for pickup or delivery through their existing websites,” says Ray Reddy, Co-founder and CEO of Ritual.  “We believe local restaurants are what make communities thrive, and we are here to support them as we work together to help kick start our economy again.”

Many restaurants in Chicago and across the country have faced financial challenges since the start of the pandemic. Local restaurants in neighborhoods including Bucktown, Hyde Park, Gold Coast, Lakeview and more saw small businesses shutter permanently as a result of economic disruption. 

To support local restaurants during this economic disruption, Ritual ONE strives to put digital ordering technology directly into the hands of the restaurants themselves. Rather than adding fee payments and requiring customers to download the app, the capability integrates with the restaurant’s website to facilitate online ordering without any commission or monthly subscription fees for orders. For companies that are not already online, Ritual creates a customizable menu and enrolls customers in its automated rewards program.  

Samer Joudeh and Mutaz Abdullah, owners of local Chicago restaurant chain Mezza Grill, have been long-time Ritual customers and look forward to upgrading their Ritual software to include Ritual ONE. “Ritual has been a strong partner throughout the pandemic and has worked with us in many ways to increase revenues during these difficult times,” Joudeh says. “Ritual ONE supports our businesses by helping us maximize commission-free sales from our new branded website. They have a massive user base and have been able to help us capture new revenues along with consistently keeping our current customer base engaged with special offers.”

Erin Amico, Chief Marketing Officer at Chicago tech initiative P33, emphasizes the importance of using technology to connect local businesses with the community, stating, “Technology plays a key role in connecting and protecting communities. As we continue to navigate COVID-19, it will play an increasingly important role in helping people safely visit local businesses and get back to work. We’re thrilled that Ritual ONE is working with local Chicago restaurants and cafes to meet new health and safety needs and bring Chicago’s vibrant restaurant and business community back to life.” 

Ritual ONE launched in Toronto, Canada earlier this spring and Chicago is the first US market to receive the tool. Restaurants that sign up by July 10 will receive Ritual ONE free for life, meaning they will not pay any commission or monthly subscription fees for orders. Restaurants can sign up online here.

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