The best WordPress restaurant plugin (and how to set it up)

February 19, 2021

If you want to create a restaurant website with online ordering for home delivery, there are plenty of services built to help you do that...for a hefty commission! A WordPress restaurant plugin lets you skip the commission and keep your margins for yourself.

People want to be able to get food delivered over the Internet. Online food ordering more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, and those trends are continuing - especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers prefer ordering online rather than over the phone, and the right WordPress restaurant plugin will satisfy that demand without needing to pay a 15% commission rate.And this won't just be a desktop affair - like all the best WordPress plugins, this one works seamlessly on mobile devices as well.

WooCommerce restaurant plugin

In this post, you'll learn how you can use the best WordPress restaurant plugins to create your own online restaurant ordering system like the example above, complete with:

  • Menus
  • Delivery options and time slots
  • Pickup options
  • Notifications (so that you know when a new food order comes in)

You'll be able to customize it to your needs, and you won't need to be a tech savant just to get it working!

The two big benefits of using a WordPress restaurant plugin over the alternatives

There are two huge benefits to using a WordPress restaurant menu plugin over alternatives like GrubHub, JustEat and Uber Eats.

1. You'll save money

First, the big one - saving money!

Just for getting listed at GrubHub, you're giving up a whopping 15% commission rate. And if you want a sponsored listing, you'll give up 20% or more. That's crazy!

The typical margins for food just high enough to justify these commissions. Giving up 15% commission makes a huge difference to your bottom line.

With a WP restaurant plugin, there are no ongoing commissions. Instead, you'll pay a one-time or annual fee for the plugins that you need. After that, everything is profit.

So how much will it cost for a good restaurant plugin for WordPress? The two core tools you'll need - WooCommerce and WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering - will cost you under $150/year.

After that, you might want to further enhance your system with some extra plugins for delivery options or menu customization. However, even with these, you'll probably only spend $200-300 to get the whole system up and running. And again, there are no ongoing commissions after that.

2. You can offer a better user experience

Sites like GrubHub or Deliveroo are, for the most part, one size fits all. That is, your menu and listing pages look exactly like other restaurants.

However, what if your restaurant is unique? What if you make these awesome customizable burgers and you want to create a custom way for people to choose their ingredients and toppings?

With the other tools, you're out of luck. But with a WordPress restaurant plugin, you can tweak things to make them perfect, which helps you create a better ordering experience.

The best WordPress restaurant plugin system

WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering cropped

To create your WordPress website's online restaurant ordering system, you'll need two key tools:

  • An eCommerce plugin This is the backend system that will help you manage food items, accept orders and payments through Stripe, Paypal, etc.
  • A food order form plugin This is the frontend system that will create a user-friendly restaurant menu for your hungry visitors to browse. It lists your foods in a one-page table layout. You can divide your menu up into different categories, offer customization options, etc.

For the eCommerce part of the equation, the most popular option is WooCommerce. This open-source, free plugin comes from Automattic (the billion dollar company behind WordPress.com) and is the most popular way to build an eCommerce store.

For the food order form, you'll use WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering. It makes it easy to create a customizable frontend food menu that you can adapt to your restaurant's unique needs:

A Perfect Plug-in for Today’s Needs
By Adam Tracksler
In today’s environment of having to act nimbly for clients, the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin is the perfect solution for getting a website running quickly. We were able to launch on day one with the help of this plugin. It took all the heavy lifting out of the equation and let us focus on design. If you are debating whether or not this is the solution for getting a restaurant going — look no further, this is the plugin you want. The support is also top-notch!

If you want to see the process in more detail, you can also check out our complete guide to creating a WooCommerce restaurant ordering system.

WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering
The easy way to create a WordPress restaurant ordering system.

Use your eCommerce plugin to manage food items and orders

To get started, you'll need to install and configure your chosen eCommerce plugin. For example, WooCommerce.

From there, you can add all of your menu items as "products". For example, if you sell a pepperoni pizza, you'd add that pizza as a product:

Add restaurant menu items as WooCommerce products

If your menu item is customizable, you can use either product variations or product add-ons to give visitors the option to customize their orders:

  • VariationsVariations are good if people will select a single option from a list. For example, the size of a pizza.
  • Add-ons Add-ons are good if people can select multiple items. For example, selecting one or more options from a list of toppings. If you want to use product add-ons, you'll need the official WooCommerce Product Add-Ons plugin.

Again, we explain this process in much greater detail in our full online restaurant ordering system guide.

Use the WordPress restaurant plugin to create your front-end menus

Once you've added all of your food items as WooCommerce products, you're ready for the next step. It's time to create your online menu using the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin.

See, by default, WooCommerce displays your "products" in a traditional eCommerce layout. For example, something like this:

The "traditional" shop page layout

Now, that's fine for an eCommerce store, but it's not a good option for a restaurant menu!

That's where the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin comes in. This WordPress restaurant plugin lets you take all your items and display them in a user-friendly food and drink menu layout like this:

Compare WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering with WooCommerce Product Table

Shoppers can add simple food products straight to the cart, or open a lightbox to select variations and add-on options.

As you can see from the above screenshot, the plugin also works perfectly with the WooCommerce 'Cart" widget in the right sidebar, provided your WordPress theme supports templates that allow this functionality. You could also include a widget with a note about your site's delivery area, or even a custom Google Map that shows the area you serve.

The great thing about WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering is that you have 100% control over the information that displays.

Want to add a description column that marks vegan or gluten-free options, or the calorie count? You can do it! 🥗

Want to show, hide or reposition the image of each food? Yup, you can do that, too! 💯

What's more, WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering comes with a shortcode that allows you to incorporate your food ordering system anywhere on your site.

The end result is that you can create a restaurant ordering system that's totally unique to your restaurant's needs and offerings.

Enhance your WordPress restaurant plugin system with other plugins

At this point, you'll have a working WordPress restaurant plugin system. However, you still might want to adjust things to tweak how your ordering system works.

WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering is designed to work with many different plugins - not just WooCommerce - and any WordPress theme. That means it integrates as well with your page builder, SEO or multilingual plugins (WPML, WeGlot, etc.), as it does with more obvious pairings - restaurant reservation plugins, food delivery plugins, and so on.

Here are some good options for third-party plugins to enhance your system:

  • WooCommerce Opening Hours & Chosen Times Lets you add your restaurant's opening times and allow people to order specific time slots for delivery or collection.
  • WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing Lets you create special deals, like buy one get one free.
  • Twilio SMS Notifications Lets you receive SMS notifications for new orders (by default, WooCommerce only sends email notifications).
  • WooCommerce BookingsLets you set up a table reservation system alongside your menu to allow your customers to fill out an online reservation form and pre-order their food at the same time.

Build your own WordPress restaurant ordering system today!

Stop giving up your hard-earned margins to middlemen!

With your own WordPress restaurant ordering system, you'll be able to offer the convenience of Internet ordering to your customers, without paying a 15% commission.

At a basic level, all you'll need is an eCommerce plugin (like WooCommerce) and the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin.

Finally, for a more detailed tutorial on how to set up your system, check out our full WooCommerce restaurant ordering system tutorial.

WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering
Build your WordPress restaurant ordering system today!

Do you have any questions about these WordPress restaurant plugins? Ask away in the comments!

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