Governor Cuomo Announces Second Phase of Empire State Digital with Ritual and PayPal to Support New York Restaurants and Food Service Industry

December 11, 2020

New E-Commerce Opportunities Available for Restaurants and Food Service Establishments Affected by COVID-19

Ritual and PayPal Commit $1 Million Towards Discounted Purchases for Customers of Participating New York Businesses on Ritual ONE

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the second phase of New York's Empire State Digital initiative to support the state's restaurants and food service industry affected by COVID-19 has launched. Beginning today and extending through April 2021, e-commerce company Ritual will offer its commission-free digital ordering platform Ritual ONE to New York's restaurants and food service businesses at no cost, for pickup and delivery. Additionally, PayPal has committed $1 million towards discounted purchases for customers of participating businesses on Ritual ONE in February 2021, at no expense to the businesses. This follows the Governor's extension of the moratorium on commercial evictions to support restaurants and small businesses.

"New York State is a global food capital and its world-class chefs, servers and staff have been among the COVID-19 pandemic's hardest-hit workforce during this global pandemic. It's critical that while restrictions are in place on how bars and restaurants can operate in order to protect the public health, we also open new opportunities to counteract the economic strain they face," Governor Cuomo said. "This latest piece of New York's Empire State Digital initiative will give these establishments an opportunity to expand their online businesses free of charge, with an added incentive that will encourage customers to continue supporting their favorite restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops. Restaurants support New Yorkers, and New York will continue to do what we can do to help support them, but now more than ever, it's critical for the federal government to do its part too and provide real relief for this critical industry."

Restaurants and food service businesses that join Ritual through the Empire State Digital initiative will be able to accept touch-free payments from customers using their PayPal and Venmo apps, and will not be subject to Ritual processing fees for a limited time. As part of this initiative, Ritual will waive its set-up, monthly subscription and credit-card processing fees. Terms and conditions apply. Businesses may opt out at any time without penalty. Platforms can be customized to match businesses' branding preferences and can be integrated for use with Instagram, Facebook and Google Ordering. More information is available here.  

To help support food service establishments further, PayPal and Ritual have committed to invest $1 million to encourage customers to support their favorite local restaurants and eateries. Beginning in February, businesses enrolled in Ritual One can offer customers a discount on eligible purchases at up to three different store locations during the promotional period, to be reimbursed by PayPal and Ritual up to $1 million total.  

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "To help New York's businesses who are fighting to combat the adverse effects caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the State continues to look for new and creative ways to support these businesses while ensuring public health and safety. The second phase of Empire State Digital specifically targets our food service industry by providing to a free service to ensure a safe, contactless transaction as a means to help alleviate costs for these businesses."  

Read the full press release here.