Social Ordering, In Order To Be Social

December 19, 2017


“No man is an island” wrote Donne, hundreds of years ago.

He was, of course, writing about the daily office coffee run. Where no one order is truly of itself, and where the initial lone latte is joined by the cappuccino requested by the next cubicle over, and where Bill from accounting wants you to see if they have any of those crullers, and if so, here’s a fiver.

Okay, we’re just kidding about Donne, but not about the coffee run. It’s a ritual. Especially for Ritual, the social ordering app that launched nationally earlier this month, and which connects (corporate) users with their favorite local eateries.

When detailing the launch earlier this month, the company said that 1,600 restaurants in the U.S. and Toronto have signed onto the app, which uses mobile ordering and payment technology to enable people to join orders to be picked up or brought to their desks. The focus is on bringing coworkers together – digitally and then, of course, literally, gathered around the common experience of ordering food and then digging into it together.

The convergence of payments, local commerce and social networks was the overarching theme of the most recent Data Drivers. PYMNTS’ Karen Webster and Ritual founder Ray Reddy discussed the ways digital technology can bring consumers together with coffee shops and quick service restaurants (QSRs) in mutually beneficial ways, illustrated, as always, by some stats.

Data Point Number One: 70 Percent

This is the number of Americans who eat at a fast food restaurant or casual restaurant at least three times a week. Reddy told Webster that Ritual connects consumers on one side of the app with the best restaurants and shops in their neighborhood.

“You can send [restaurants] orders digitally that they can accept and fulfill and have them ready for pickup at their store,” the executive said. That’s for an individual – but it’s when the consumer has the option to confirm the company where she works that Ritual-specific rituals happen.

Coworkers, said Reddy, can get a notification when someone at the company is going to go grab coffee and, as he noted, “would you like anything? There’s the option to jump onto that order quickly so that it can all be put together.” Call it piggybacking, as Ritual does.

The infrastructure is that an order can be placed digitally and via mobile, but as Reddy said, “the magic is the social side of it,” where Ritual enables free peer-to-peer delivery. Food and drinks (and java, of course, to use our recurring example) are brought back without paying any delivery fee, combining both social ordering and delivery with a local mindset.

From the payments side of the equation, streamlining abounds, with the absence of the errant $2.40 thrown in by the coworker as the coffee run hero runs out the door (or worse, is not offered). “The elegance here is that when you are going to grab a coffee, as Reddy told Webster, “everyone orders and pays themselves, and the platform bundles it together as one order.” He noted that there is a rewards program in place, too, so that points accrue and act as incentive.

Read the full article on PYMNTS here.