Toronto-based food delivery company, Ritual, announced they are laying off over half of their staff globally from economic strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, co-founders of the company, Ray Reddy, Larry Stinson, and Robert Kim wrote a letter explaining the decision and recognized that these layoffs come at a “particularly challenging time.”
The co-founders said they have put in the necessary measures to ensure that the impacted employees have the support they need.
“This wasn’t an easy decision nor one that we made lightly as we had to say goodbye to some of our colleagues,” the letter states.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a sudden and devastating impact on the restaurant industry, which has in turn impacted our business. Our hearts go out to our merchants and their employees who have been affected by COVID-19 – they serve as the life of the cities in which we operate, and we remain steadfastly committed to supporting this amazing community.”
The company said they will also be withdrawing operations in Germany and the Netherlands.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has caused the company to “restructure” how they operate and allow them to better serve their customers, merchants and neighbourhoods “during this moment and the recovery to follow.”
Ritual will continue to operate in other cities and will have “heightened safety measures” as they adhere to guidance and protocols set by the local governments and health authorities related to the coronavirus
The company was founded in 2014 in Toronto and has since expanded the social ordering app to more than 50 cities and seven countries globally.
According to LinkedIn, the company has 200-500 employees.
“This is an unprecedented situation, but our vision and the core of our business remains strong. Ritual is built on providing a platform that allows local communities to come together. This will continue to be our focus, as we support our customers and merchants now and in the future,” the co-founders said.
In Canada alone, four out of five restaurants have laid off employees since March 1, according to a recent survey by Restaurants Canada.
It’s costing the industry 800,000 jobs nationally.
Additionally, seven out of 10 food service operators will further cut back on staff hours or lay off more employees if conditions do not improve soon.
While restaurants can still offer take out and delivery, the lack of dine-in service is taking a toll.
With the coronavirus pandemic having no clear end in sight, it’s difficult to say whether companies like Ritual will bounce back, as restaurants continue to shutter their doors.