- Ritual, a pick up and pay app for takeout food from restaurants, is hosting a two-week digital food festival called “Ritual Eats Week” from March 5-16, per a press release. When its users make payments with Apple Pay, they can get discounts on exclusive dishes from participating U.S. restaurants and access to daily deals.
- Ritual Eats Week will feature special events with star chefs such as Ken Tominaga in San Francisco and Boston’s “Ultimate Burger” king James Martin. Special deals include half-priced Fuku Fingers at Fuku’s Brookfield Place in New York, free tater tots with the purchase of a burger at Tasty Burger’s Back Bay location in Boston and half off the Tokyo-Style ramen bowl at The Ramen Bar in San Francisco.
- Ritual also offers a "social ordering feature" that allows users to combine orders with colleagues or friends. The digital food festival is happening in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto and Washington D.C.
Ritual’s digital food festival is a great way to promote the service to people who haven’t tried the social ordering app. Food festivals have grown in popularity and positioning a week of discounts and deals as a virtual version fits neatly into a foodie culture already primed for such events.
The Ritual app has positioned itself as a workday lunchtime solution with its focus on allowing mobile users to combine their takeout orders with work colleagues to save on a trip and earn bonus points toward free food. The startup says it created Ritual Eats Week to reach workers who eat alone at their desks and give them a chance to get out of the office and discover nearby restaurants, per the company press release.
On-demand ordering and delivery offer restaurants a convenient way to reach consumers. A broad range of food purveyors, from traditional restaurants to fast-food chains like McDonald's and convenience stores like 7-11, have extended their reach into on-demand ordering and delivery. Ritual's reach across multiple restaurants gives users greater choice and allows restaurants to potentially reach new customers or re-engage existing customers in convenient ways. From a user perspective, the ability to order from multiple restaurants in one hub from the comfort of a desk, rather than downloading several restaurant-specific apps, could streamline the experience.
Going out for lunch is a dying tradition as takeout and delivery become more popular. Restaurants have suffered as more U.S. professionals eat at their desks instead of in dining rooms, where they can be upsold on beverages and additional menu items, per The Wall Street Journal. Americans made 433 million fewer trips to restaurants at lunchtime in 2016, the equivalent of about $3.2 billion in lost business, according to NPD Group research cited by the WSJ. That was the lowest level of lunch traffic in at least 40 years. Restaurants have raised lunch prices by an average of 19.5% since the recession to cope with higher labor costs, but supermarkets have continued to cut prices, making the brown-bag lunch even more affordable. With reduced ordering friction apps and on-demand ordering could provide restaurants with a way to reach those lunchtime customers they've lost.