Order-ahead app Ritual upbeat on HK market despite unrest

December 17, 2019 12:40
The Ritual app, which lets users order ahead for restaurant food pickup and makes group ordering easier, has expanded its service to Hong Kong. Photo: Ritual

Launched in Toronto in 2014, order-ahead app Ritual now operates in more than 50 cities in multiple countries including the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. Recently, the service has been expanded to Hong Kong.

As a food order-ahead app that allows users to browse participating restaurants, order in advance and pay within the app, Ritual is geared toward the lunchtime office crowd in a big way. The strong base of office workers in Hong Kong is obviously a lucrative target for the service.

According to Ritual’s co-founder and CEO Ray Reddy, the platform has on-boarded hundreds of restaurants in about two months after launch, and is now recording more than 10,000 daily orders. Starting from Central, Sheung Wan and Wan Chai, Ritual is expanding service to other business districts across Hong Kong, and then into residential areas.

Asked if the months-long social unrest in Hong Kong has affected Ritual’s expansion plan and operations in the city, Reddy said that as a software-based service platform, the business has largely been unscathed.

"(About the demonstrations in Hong Kong), that's something that we've been following. What we're seeing is that people are still at offices, they still need to eat, and we can still play a role in making that easier for them, without any increases in price, and that's what we're focused on,” he said.

"Sometimes restaurants will be closed, and obviously they won’t be available to order from the app during that time. We also give our employees a lot of flexibility; they can work from home when they need to. But most people actually use Ritual to go to places that are within about 500 meters or less of where they work or live, and so it tends to be very neighborhood focused without much walking involved.”

Hong Kong marks Ritual's first presence in the Asia market, and the company has come up with a Chinese name (“日嘗", which roughly translates as "trying it every day”) for the platform to localize it.

Reddy told EJ Insight said that Ritual is planning to expand to multiple cities in Asia next year.

Asked if Ritual would enter the mainland Chinese market where food delivery apps are popular, he said: "We haven’t decided yet. For now, we are totally focused on all of the opportunity in Hong Kong."

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EJ Insight writer