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New York state partners with Ritual to bring restaurants free online ordering

The latest aid effort between government and a tech supplier comes as NYC halts indoor dining once again.
Logo courtesy of Ritual

New York state is partnering with e-commerce company Ritual to help restaurants expand their digital capabilities during the pandemic.

New York restaurants will be able to use the company’s online ordering platform, Ritual One, free of charge through April 2021, the state announced Friday. The state is home to more than 50,000 eating and drinking places, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Online ordering has become table stakes during the pandemic, and some cities and now states have partnered with technology companies in an effort to support restaurants. Los Angeles and Toronto have a similar agreement with Ritual, and Chicago partnered with Tock to offer restaurants in impoverished areas a free six-month subscription to the service.  

The offer comes at a troubling time for many New York restaurants: Starting Monday, restaurants in New York City will be forced to halt indoor dining to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Those that join Ritual will not pay credit card processing fees, pickup/delivery fees, subscription fees or setup fees through April. They’ll also get access to customer data, be included in a statewide marketing campaign, be able to accept orders via Instagram, Google and Facebook, and get contactless digital menus. 

PayPal is also contributing $1 million toward discounts for customers of participating restaurants.

“This latest piece of New York's Empire State Digital initiative will give these establishments an opportunity to expand their online businesses free of charge, with an added incentive that will encourage customers to continue supporting their favorite restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement. He added a call for federal aid, saying, “It's critical for the federal government to do its part too and provide real relief for this critical industry.”

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

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