Ritual launches operations in Germany and Hong Kong

Ritual’s headquarters in Toronto. Iain Sherriff-Scott/The Logic

Takeout app Ritual is ramping up its global expansion, launching operations in Berlin, Hamburg and Hong Kong. 

The Toronto-based company has 10 job openings in Hong Kong and 10 in Germany, including for a country manager and general managers in the former, and merchant operation specialists and market development managers in the latter.

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Talking Point

The Toronto-based takeout app company is hiring for the first time in Berlin, Hamburg and Hong Kong, following its January entry into the U.K. and Australia. Ritual is seeking a firmer foothold overseas amid increased competition in the growing food-ordering and -delivery market from players like Uber Eats, Foodora and DoorDash.

Ritual, which lets users skip lines at restaurants and cafes by pre-ordering on its app, aims to become a “global brand,” competing in the burgeoning food-ordering space against major players like Amazon. The company launched operations in the U.K. and Australia in January, but shared few details about which regions it planned to expand to next. 

As of January, Ritual said it worked with more than 5,000 restaurants across more than 16 cities in North America, the U.K. and Australia; in a job opening for head of central operations, the company says it currently operates in over 40 markets. 

Ritual declined to answer The Logic’s questions about its German and Hong Kong expansions, including whether the country manager in Hong Kong would oversee operations in China. “Ritual is not prepared to discuss the international news at this time,” said Mally Fox, a spokesperson for the company, in an email. 

Since Ray Reddy, Larry Stinson and Robert Kim co-founded the company in 2014, Ritual has raised US$127.5 million from investors including Greylock Partners and Georgian Partners, helping it clinch third place among tech companies on the 2019 Narwhal List. That ranking, compiled by the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre, tries to predict which Canadian companies are most likely to reach a $1-billion valuation, based on how much money they’ve raised averaged over their lifespan. 

The company’s expansion into the new markets could help it secure a foothold in a rapidly growing global industry. The online food-delivery sector, which includes food-ordering apps like Ritual, was valued at more than US$91 billion in 2018, up from just over US$76 billion the year before, and it’s expected to grow by nearly 10 per cent each year until 2023, according to industry estimates. China is by far the biggest market, with the country generating more than 37 per cent of the sector’s total revenue in 2019, as of July. 

Robin Axon sits on Ritual’s board and co-founded Mantella Venture Partners, which invested in Ritual’s 2014 seed round and two subsequent fund raises. Axon said his interest in Ritual is twofold: Reddy’s competence as a CEO—Mantella previously invested in Reddy’s former company, PushLife, which sold to Google in 2011—and the company’s focus on global growth.

Axon wasn’t authorized to provide details on Ritual’s decision to move into Germany and Hong Kong, but said the expansion fits with the company’s long-term plans. “If you’re trying to grow as fast as a company like Ritual is growing, you have to look at geographic expansion,” he said. “It was global from day one.”

The steady growth in online food delivery has attracted intense competition, from startups like Winnipeg-based SkipTheDishes (which was acquired by Just Eat in 2016) to established tech giants like Amazon. Meanwhile, food-ordering apps focused on delivery by courier are increasingly wading into the pickup niche that Ritual occupies. In May, Uber Eats launched a pickup feature for its Toronto market with no service fee; Foodora likewise has a pickup service, which is also free for users, in the seven Canadian cities in which it operates. And, Postmates and DoorDash, San Francisco-based food-delivery competitors who sources have said could go public within the next year, introduced pickup features in 2018.

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In Hong Kong, Ritual is hiring a country manager, a general managers, a head of Hong Kong and several merchant operations specialists; it also has a “general application” opening for the region. 

Ritual’s job openings in Germany include a country manager, merchant operations specialists—the job description notes that speaking Dutch is “a nice to have”—and two market development managers tasked with handling the company’s expansion in the country. “This candidate must be comfortable traveling 4 days a week to launch markets around Germany and potentially around Europe,” the company notes in the job descriptions. 

Ritual is also ramping up hiring at its Toronto headquarters. It currently has more than 200 employees working out of the office, according to LinkedIn, and is hiring for 34 more positions.