Starting today through Oct. 13, about 250 Loop, River North, and West Loop restaurants are offering customers discounts on a select items via a promotion with Ritual, a food-ordering app popular with downtown office workers. There is a catch — only users who use Ritual’s app (rather than the desktop site) and buy their meals with Apple Pay will have access. It’s a riff on Restaurant Week that Ritual calls Eats Week Chicago as the Toronto-based company attempts to expand its Chicago footprint.
Ritual wants to “digitize local commerce,” said Jim Phillips, the GM of Ritual’s Chicago operations. They’ve never held a promotion like this, and Ritual hope customers react positively so they can offer the promotion in other cities. The company arrived in Chicago in 2015 and currently counts 350 on its restaurant roster. The initial lineup from two years ago featured 200 restaurants. They’ve aimed their attentions at office workers, saying they can save them time by giving them a resource to quickly order and pickup lunches during busy weekdays.
For Eats Week Chicago, each restaurant participant has offered a discounted item. Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee is selling all doughnuts for 99 cents. FireFin Poké’s “Tuna on Fire” bowl is $6.95. Blackwood BBQ is tempting vegetarians and vegans with a jackfruit sandwich for $3.99. New Ritual customers can get at a $10 credit if they use “EATSCHI” as a promo code. The Eats Week promo also promises loyalty points for customers.
Ritual is particularly excited about how customers have adapted to using Apple Pay. Apple Pay launched in 2014 as a cashless way for customers to pay for goods and services using iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops. As Apple Pay competes with Samsung and other payment methods, Ritual is a success story for Apple in the company’s quest to have all vendors use Apple Pay. Like Ritual, Apple is in the business of making their customers’ lives more efficient, and Apple Pay is designed for quicker payments with credit card information stored in one one secure place. A Ritual rep did stress merchants, customers, and vendors aren’t assessed any fees. Apple has apparently signed off with the promotion.
“We’re bringing Apple Pay to our customers and really improving upon an already great experience in terms of convenience and ease of use and speed,” Phillips said. “I believe Apple really liked that synergy there because both of the products offer that same type of utility for the customer.”
Dollop Coffee is among the 350 (mostly fast-casual) restaurants on Ritual’s roster. Dollop’s marketing manager, Nate Furstenau, said sales have increased since they joined Ritual and customers are happier with decreased wait times. Though Dollop has multiple locations, not all of them will participate. However, Furstenau lauded how easy it was for Dollop’s employees and customers to use the app and said it creates convenience for staff so they can concentrate on making sandwiches on filling orders instead of using bandwidth on taking orders.
Phillips and Ritual want to make Eats Week an annual event in multiple cities. But that all depends on customer feedback over the duration of the promotion. Eats Week Chicago goes from Oct. 2 through Oct. 13.
- New food-ordering app aimed at businesses [Crain’s]
- Apple Pay hands-on: is this the future of payments? [The Verge]
- Samsung Pay works almost anywhere your credit card does [The Verge]
- 35 percent of US merchants accept Apple Pay [The Verge]
- Eats Week Chicago [Ritual]
- Apple Pay [Apple]