The Canadian company that wants to become your daily Ritual

December 13, 2017

PUBLISHED BY Allan Shifman

SOURCE Yahoo Finance

It seems that every day there’s a new “must-have” app on the market. Most of them are flash-in-the-pan fads that end up getting deleted pretty quickly.

But some are the real deal, and that certainly seems to be the case with Ritual, the homegrown app that’s sweeping the office lunchtime scene.

So, what is Ritual? Think Uber Eats or Foodora but without the delivery. It’s geared toward people who live or work in downtown urban areas where there are lots of restaurants within walking distance. You order your food on the app, the restaurant starts prepping your order, and the app tells you when to start heading over to pick up your food.

When you arrive, you just grab your order from a designated zone in your chosen restaurant. The app has been a hit in several Canadian cities and is now poised to make a splash in the U.S.

We sat down with Ray Reddy, the CEO and Co-Founder of Ritual in their Toronto office:

Yahoo Canada Finance: What is Ritual?

Ray Reddy: Ritual is an app that lets you order coffee and lunch from all the best spots in your neighbourhood. With the click of a button, coffee and lunch is ready for you on arrival, and it makes picking up coffee and lunch a 60-second experience. It’s super fast and there’s a great rewards program built in.

YCF: Let’s go back to the beginning, where did the idea for Ritual come from?

RR: The idea of Ritual was really fluid over time. I spent four years at Google and I led the product team for mobile commerce during that time. Local commerce is a very very large space, the vast majority of commerce still happens offline. So there’s a lot of interest from big companies, it’s one of the last things that really hasn’t shifted to digital. So there’s been a lot of focus on how to make that shift happen, all the way from payment products, loyalty products, to a number of different startups, a lot of different things.

But if you think about it, very little has changed. The way that you transact with local businesses has really remained the same for the last 20 years. In some cases, we’re still collecting those punch cards in our wallets, that’s a loyalty program that a number of businesses use. So the observation there was that the products themselves are actually pretty good, the challenge was really one of coverage. The analogy I like to use is, if you had this magical credit card that helped you skip the line, have your coffee waiting for you right when you get there, but it only worked in one of 20 places around you, you wouldn’t use that credit card. And so it came down to what I call a coverage problem.

So there’s great apps, and great technology, but it doesn’t work everywhere. The reason for that is most companies have tried to go very broad. The space is just so big that it can almost feel like boiling the ocean. Our approach that was just very different here was to focus on smaller areas but get incredibly high coverage. So we focus on neighborhoods, not cities. We focus on getting 60, 70 per cent coverage. So what’s really unique about Ritual is the product is great, but the more impressive part is that it feels like it works everywhere, and that’s really what’s caused the success we’ve had today.

Read the full interview on Yahoo Finance here.