The City of Toronto is extending its partnership with Ritual while welcoming DoorDash into the joint effort, to help local businesses increase their commission-free online sales.

Since spring, the City has been in partnership with the order-ahead app Ritual to support local food-related businesses, through a program titled Ritual ONE. The partnership has provided restaurants and food services such as grocers, butchers, and bakeries with an accessible way to accept digital orders via their own websites or social media accounts; those who signed up for the service between the partnership's launch and June 1 received the service free for life.

At the time, 1,211 Toronto businesses signed up for the Ritual ONE platform.

Now, the partnership's extension aligns with the launch of "Open for Business," a collaboration that includes DoorDash, and allows Ritual to continue providing its commission-free digital ordering platform to Toronto businesses at no cost through the end of 2020. The offer includes the waiving of $99 set-up fees and the monthly subscription fees of $49 per month.

As part of the extension, all local businesses that enrol in Ritual ONE will receive delivery capabilities powered by DoorDash Drive, and Toronto businesses will receive two weeks of free delivery from October 26 to November 8. All flat-fee delivery fees will be waived for customers and local businesses alike, to encourage customers to order directly from local businesses.

What's more, any business that completes one delivery order on Ritual ONE powered by DoorDash Drive by December 31 will receive Ritual ONE free through 2021.

READ: Toronto’s Automated Shuttle Trial Hitting City Streets Spring 2021

"It's important to Ritual to help Toronto businesses stay up and running while keeping everyone safe during this time," said Ritual CEO, Ray Reddy. Ritual ONE with delivery capabilities powered by DoorDash Drive provides all our favourite restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops the opportunity to easily offer contactless takeout and/or delivery," said Ray Reddy, co-founder and CEO of Ritual.

"We believe local businesses are what make our communities thrive, and we are here to support them as we work with Mayor Tory, the City of Toronto, and DoorDash to help kick-start the Toronto economy again."

While the program is typically accessed by restaurants, bars, and food services -- such as cafes, bakeries, butchers, and grocers -- Ritual ONE is available to any Toronto business wishing to access pickup and delivery services, commission-free, including those enrolled in the City's ShopHERE initiative. Local businesses can learn more about Open For Business and enroll here.

"We are working to forge partnerships such as this to help Toronto businesses recover and rebuild from this pandemic stronger than before," said Mayor John Tory. "I want to thank Ritual – a Toronto tech success story – for developing Ritual ONE and partnering with us to help our local businesses, especially the restaurant and food services sector, as we face the second wave of COVID-19."

Word of the extended partnership -- and the opportunities available to businesses-owners through it -- come the week following Premier Doug Ford's announcement that Toronto, alongside Ottawa and Peel, has stepped back into a modified Stage 2 of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of measures are now in effect in the City of Toronto, including but not limited to:

  • Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls;
  • Closing of:
    • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
    • Indoor cinemas;
    • Performing arts centres and venues;
    • Spectator areas in racing venues;
    • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.;
    • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g. makeup application, beard trimming);
    • In-person teaching and instruction (e.g. cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with exemptions for schools, child care centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
    • The Ford government has acknowledged how these public health measures come at a cost to small businesses and, as such, the province has announced it will make $300 million available to assist significantly-affected businesses with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro, and natural gas bills.

      "Since the outset of the pandemic the government has recognized that the health and safety of the people of Ontario must come first, while supporting workers and business-owners during this unprecedented global pandemic," said Minister Phillips. "Ontario will build on the historic collaboration with the Government of Canada to ensure workers are protected, businesses are supported, and that this support arrives as soon as possible."

      Before the funding was announced, provincial actions taken to support small businesses through the pandemic have included: including putting in place a temporary moratorium on commercial evictions; making $60 million available for a $1,000 grant for small businesses to offset the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE); and exploring options to permanently allow restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.

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