Ritual cooks up a fresh post-pandemic positioning

The food ordering app is launching a rare mass campaign to speak up about the work it has done supporting local restaurants.

Food-ordering app Ritual believes it has found a better way to talk about itself and the work it has done during the pandemic through a new brand refresh.

“We’re For Restaurants” was developed with assistance from agency Good & Ready on brand strategy and creative. The message is all about the local restaurants that Ritual works with, as well as the communities that support those businesses.

“What we really wanted to achieve – and what I think comes across really well in the new brand execution – is something that better represents our values and how we care about the community of both the restaurants and the patrons that love them,” explains Chris Houston, CMO at Ritual. “That comes across really well in the new brand positioning and it reflects how our business and the industry in general has evolved through COVID.”

Over the past 18 months, the restaurant industry has been hit hard by lockdowns and other pandemic safety measures. According to Restaurants Canada, more than 12,000 food service businesses have permanently closed during the pandemic.

Ritual’s own business was disrupted by the pandemic. In addition to weathering the storm along with its restaurant partners, Ritual also dealt with the fact that its business had been highly targeted at office workers in urban centres looking to pick up orders for lunch or on the way home.

But the company pivoted along with the rest of the industry. It worked with local governments in cities like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles to provide its tools to restaurants in those cities that needed them, free of charge, Houston says. On the user side, the services and tools Ritual has rolled out included commission-free online ordering for restaurant partners and a service it acquired called All Checked In “that allows restaurants to comply with digital contact tracing requirements to make it easier to reopen,” says Houston.

While the majority of Ritual’s marketing efforts are internal to their partners and direct to app users, “We’re For Restaurants” is being supported with an external push that is “hyperfocused” on markets where Ritual has “an active density of users” and on the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner meal times.

“There was a lot of need and a lot of help required in the restaurant industry and I felt we did a lot of good things, but we weren’t reflecting that in our brand positioning,” he notes.

It will run across social, OLV and digital OOH, coupled with the internal messaging the brand usually uses, through the final quarter of 2021.

North Strategic handled PR for the refresh campaign, while Lookout Content helped with video production.