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LA partners with Ritual to help restaurants boost digital capabilities

Restaurants will get temporary free access to the ordering platform. It is the second such partnership to be announced in as many weeks.
Photo courtesy of Ritual

The city of Los Angeles is working with an ordering technology company to help restaurants boost their digital capabilities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday announced the partnership with Ritual, a food ordering platform. Restaurants that sign up will get its Ritual ONE product free of charge through the end of the year, with no setup, subscription or processing fees. 

PayPal is also providing $1 million in customer discounts as part of the initiative, called Open for Business. 

“Small businesses and restaurants are the backbone of our economy, and it’s our job to help them navigate the treacherous waters of COVID-19, stay afloat, and ultimately steer us toward a lasting recovery,” Garcetti said in a statement. 

Ritual ONE allows restaurants to offer online ordering through their website for dine-in, delivery or pickup with no commission. It also offers QR code ordering and loyalty programs. A regular subscription costs $49 per month per location, according to Ritual’s website.

Digital channels have become more important than ever during the pandemic as dine-in business has been cut off or limited and more consumers stay close to home. In Los Angeles, indoor dining remains closed, meaning restaurants are relying on outdoor dining, takeout and delivery only. 

“It's important to Ritual to help Los Angeles businesses stay up and running while keeping everyone safe during this time,” said Ritual CEO Ray Reddy in a statement. “We believe local businesses are what make our communities thrive, and we are here to support them as we work with Mayor Garcetti, the City of Los Angeles, and PayPal to help kick start the Los Angeles economy again.”

Restaurants can sign up now for the program and opt out at anytime with no penalty. The PayPal incentives will go into effect Nov. 2. 

Toronto-based Ritual works with thousands of restaurants across the U.S., a spokesperson said. This is the first time the company has partnered with a city. 

Last week, the city of Chicago announced a similar partnership with ordering and reservations platform Tock. Through that program, restaurants and bars in areas of Chicago that are below 60% of the area median income can get Tock free for six months. 

Dining rooms are open in Chicago, though capacity is capped at 40%. Restaurants are racing to come up with ideas to continue outdoor dining as cold weather looms. 

Chicago-based Tock allows restaurants to manage reservations and takeout and delivery orders. It will also allow restaurants to record customer information in case it’s needed for contact tracing purposes. The company was co-founded by restaurateur Nick Kokonas, co-owner of Alinea Restaurant Group.

“For many restaurants and bars, especially those in historically disinvested areas, technology can make all the difference,” said Tock co-founder and CTO Brian Fitzpatrick, in a statement. “Access to reservation systems during this critical time will help businesses keep pace while ensuring that they comply with regulations to keep their employees and patrons safe.”

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