It turns out it’s not just North Americans that appreciate a quick turnaround on their lunch and coffee orders.
Ritual has announced a massive new expansion as they head into two brand-new countries, the first time the Toronto company has operated outside of North America. Ritual is now operating in London and Sydney, as well as a host of new U.S. cities. By the end of 2019, Ritual will operate in over 40 cities and triple its total restaurant count.
“We are proud of the progress we have made in such a short period of time. Because of our solid business fundamentals, we’re now positioned to rapidly scale our business and move into many more markets this year. We are excited to become a truly global brand,” said Ray Reddy, co-Founder and CEO of Ritual. “We look forward to bringing the ease of use and accessibility to users as well as offer restaurants a streamlined way to service new and repeat customers all while providing the best possible experience for everyone on our platform.”
“Some of the biggest challenges we faced when expanding internationally was the work involved to ‘internationalize’ our app and business, including accounting for currency differences, language differences and varying privacy laws,” Reddy says. “This was a significant undertaking that almost every team was involved with.”
Along with the new international cities, Ritual will launch in several new North American locations throughout 2019. This includes Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton in Canada and Portland, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Austin, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Charlotte, Nashville and Miami in the U.S. Ritual first launched in Canada in Toronto in 2014, and in the U.S. in 2017 with Chicago and Boston.
“In less than one year, we launched more than 10 cities in North America and we were able to accomplish this because of the strong playbook we have built when launching new cities,” said Reddy. “This gave us the confidence that we could successfully launch internationally in addition to being in more than 40 North American cities by the end of 2019.”
Ritual will also have a physical presence in each city they operate in, including SYdney and London, in order to manage sales, operations and the in-store experience.
Ritual provides restaurant partners with the technology to enable ordering-ahead and pick-up, tapping into a growing segment of city dwellers that want fast access to food and coffee. It took Ritual more than two years to hit one million orders, and now the company processes a million orders every two months. Their Piggyback function enables a customer from one of the Ritual’s 100,000 teams—which are essentially companies signed onto the platform—to combine orders and bring back food or coffee to their coworkers. Ritual also hosts several digital food festivals to enable their customers to explore the food scene of their city.
In mid-2018, Ritual raised a large $70 million Series C to fuel international expansion. It was around then as well that Ritual partnered with the city of Toronto to bring more foot traffic to a certain neighbourhood that was afflicted by a new transit pilot. That partnership worked wonders for both Toronto and Ritual and proved that the order-ahead startup has the capability to influence how consumers interact with their city.
Note: This article has been updated with additional comments from Ray Reddy.