WordPress Restaurant Plugins: Use WooCommerce to Make the Most of the Restaurant Delivery Trend

April 2, 2018

A WordPress restaurant plugin offers a way of taking restaurant orders online without handing over huge fees to bigger companies.

In recent years, there’s been an explosion in the number of restaurants deciding to expand their reach by setting up delivery services.

Alongside that, more and more platforms are available to connect hungry diners with restaurants ready to ship out food deliveries. JustEat, for example, launched in 1998. It now has a net income of over £100 million per year and a presence in multiple countries. From Hungry House to Deliveroo and everything in between, restaurant home delivery services are now available across most of the globe.

How to Get Ahead

If you operate a restaurant or takeaway service, you’ll know how important it is to join in with this trend. More and more people want to eat restaurant food at home rather than going out for a meal. It’s vital that you make the most of the internet’s potential to net your restaurant some new customers.

One way you can do that is by building your own website with a WordPress restaurant plugin, powered by the ever-popular WooCommerce platform. WooCommerce is the world’s most popular eCommerce system. Ever since it hit the internet in 2011, it’s been popular for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

By combining WooCommerce with the WooCommerce Product Table plugin, your customers can view your foods and place restaurant orders online. The process is remarkably similar to ordering from a traditional paper menu, and your customers will love you for it.

A restaurant ordering system like this is perfect for your needs as a busy or expanding food outlet. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of using WooCommerce Product Table and other WordPress restaurant plugins. We’ll talk about how it can help you and your food delivery business surge ahead with a WooCommerce restaurant. And also how it beats the existing providers.

A WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering System will Cut your Costs

Websites like JustEat are popular across the world, and with good reason. And when you combine the market share controlled by a wide range of other sites such as Hungry House, the food delivery market is huge.

But these sites are not always ideal for the restaurants who provide the food delivery services. The issue with websites like JustEat is that they take high fees from the restaurant. Many owners and chefs wonder whether or not the added custom is worth the high fees.

In the UK, for example, JustEat raised its fees for restaurants by a whole percentage point in 2016. Given that restaurants often have low profit margins, that’s a lot of money.

That’s why people are starting to turn to alternatives, such as building their own site with a WordPress restaurant plugin such as WooCommerce Product Table. Alternatives like these are a lifeline for restaurant owners. That’s because they provide a long-term, profit-friendly way to take online food delivery orders.

What Do I Have To Pay For?

While a restaurant order system takes a bit of time to set up compared to signing up for a major site like JustEat or Uber Eats, the upside is that there are no ongoing fees for your WooCommerce takeaway orders.

What many restaurant owners don’t know is that they can create a bespoke-looking online food ordering system off the ground by combining off-the-shelf themes and restaurant plugins. First of all, there’s no need to pay to set up a WordPress website. This is because the software which powers your site has been designed on an open source basis rather than as a profit-making endeavor.

The basic WooCommerce plugin, too, is free. And while it will usually be necessary to pay for hosting space, there are hosting spaces of all shapes and sizes available to buy. Many are specifically targeted at the small business market, and priced accordingly. Once you’ve got the WooCommerce Product Table plugin for displaying foods online, there are very few further costs. And even if you decide to set up an online payment processing service, using services such as PayPal (which charges just over 3%), the total cost will be significantly less than the fees you’d pay as a restaurant on one of the major food delivery platforms.

Choose How to Present Your Restaurant Foods

When you sign up for one of the major food delivery websites, you won’t have much influence over how your dishes are presented. You may not be able to present them in a way that will maximize your WordPress restaurant orders.

While some people may be happy to trade off a lack of control for a simple life, more savvy restaurant owners are starting to realize that there is potential to surge ahead of the competition. You can do this by providing better image options, more prominent positioning for certain dishes and a more bespoke, unique appearance for your WordPress restaurant website.

Take, for example, a restaurant which prides itself on the display of its food and has a chef trained in dish appearance. This is a real asset for any restaurant website because it makes a big difference to sales. More potential customers will decide to order your foods.

Most restaurant owners already know this, and will have filled their website and menus with excellent photographs. With a major food delivery platform, though, doing this on the platform itself simply isn’t possible. Any opportunities for photographs are quite limited, and you can’t always add a product image for each food. And if you want to share an amazing video of the chef doing their signature kitchen move – well, that’s simply out of the question.

But with a WordPress website and the WooCommerce Product Table plugin, there are plenty of customization options. You can include an image of each product to encourage customers to place their WooCommerce food order. WordPress itself supports multimedia content such as embedded videos, image galleries, and much more.

All the Features you Need in a WordPress Restaurant Plugin

WordPress and WooCommerce come with all the features you need to manage your website content and take orders online. Use them with WooCommerce Product Table to display your food menu in a one-page restaurant order form.

WooCommerce Product Table comes with over 50 options for controlling how your WordPress restaurant plugin works. For example, you can add variation dropdowns and extra options for customers to pick customization options for each dish. This might include extra toppings for a WooCommerce pizza takeaway.

As a restaurant owner, you’ll understand how customers follow a set process to order food. They’re used to reading a traditional printed menu, where they choose their starters first, then the mains, and so on. By adding each category from your menu as a separate table in the WordPress restaurant plugin, you can replicate this food ordering process online.

Similarly, restaurant menus include handy labels to indicate important information such as vegetarian and vegan food. You can use WooCommerce Product Table to tag each product with this information. You can then display them as a filter dropdown on the restaurant order form.

By replacing the standard WooCommerce add to cart buttons with checkboxes, customers can quickly tick multiple foods and add them to the cart in just one click. There are even plugins to replace the add to cart button with an icon, which frees up extra space to showcase your foods.

The WordPress restaurant plugin also covers other aspects of the content production process. Maybe you find it frustrating when you’re reading a product description online and you have to click through to see it in full. Well, WooCommerce Product Table allows you to disable these links in just a click, and show the description on the food ordering page instead.

Increase Customer Loyalty to Your Restaurant

Not only does this level of customization choice remove the bugbears that many customers face when they navigate around a major food delivery platform’s website, it also helps you keep your customers’ loyalty.

Even once you’ve added your logo to the small box that a platform like Just Eat provides, you will always lose some of your brand identity with a third party food ordering system. It’s also hard to get customer loyalty. When a customer next wants to order, you can easily lose their business if they remember “I ordered from that platform” rather than “I ordered from that amazing restaurant”.

But with a WordPress restaurant website and the WooCommerce Product Table plugin, you can create a full-service delivery brand that customers will remember.

Works with Any WordPress Theme

A WooCommerce restaurant ordering system powered by the Product Table plugin works with any theme. Of course, you need to make sure your theme is WooCommerce-ready. As a starting point, check out our WooCommerce themes such as Create and Weston.

Create Your Own WordPress Restaurant Ordering Website

One of the major appeals of the delivery platform sites is that they claim to offer all of the functions you could possibly need. As a restaurant owner, it’s easy to feel as though you couldn’t possibly do all of that yourself.

But that simply isn’t the case. In fact, it’s possible to create a WordPress restaurant ordering system that’s just as good, or better.

The good news is that’s it’s pretty simple to do, even if you have no tech experience! That’s because both WordPress and WooCommerce were designed to open up the world of online website creation. They allow people without coding skills to take control of their online presence and create their own restaurant website. There are even tutorials with full instructions on how to use a WordPress restaurant plugin to take orders online.

And the second reason is that the basic rubrics of the major restaurant delivery platforms are actually not that complicated. They rely on a series of components that are not too complex in nature. This includes simple checkboxes to allow the customer to select food dishes and add them to the cart. All of this and more can be done using the WooCommerce Product Table plugin.

How to Set Up WooCommerce Product Table to Take Restaurant Orders Online

After reading about all the benefits, you may be wondering how to use WooCommerce Product Table as a WordPress restaurant plugin. Barn2 Media, the creators of the Product Table plugin, have published an in-depth tutorial about how to set up a WooCommerce restaurant ordering system.

Once you’ve followed the instructions and launched your restaurant website, you can start spreading the message to your loyal customers that you’re open for delivery online.

Pairing Up: Best Complementary Plugins for Restaurant Orders

From customization options to waving goodbye to fees, the benefits of using WooCommerce and the WooCommerce Product Table plugin are clear. You can make your WordPress restaurant website even more effective with extra plugins to add any more features you need.

There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available, many of which are suitable for restaurant websites. I’ll tell you about some of the most important ones below.

Take Restaurant Tips Online

Most restaurant customers leave tips when they order in person, but this is a big gap with online restaurant orders. Some restaurant delivery websites do allow customers to tip the driver. However, it’s not always possible to do this when the order is placed.

Use the Name Your Price plugin to collect a tip at a price decided by the customer. This is a good way to collect tips for the other people involved in the process. It’s fairer for the hard-working kitchen staff, your front of house team and the managers behind the scenes. Also, an extra 5% or 10% in tips can quickly add up to yet another advantage over big name platforms.

Set Your WooCommerce Restaurant Opening Hours & Delivery Timeslots

Most restaurants aren’t open 24/7, even though your website is always online. Customers can get alienated if they get excited about ordering food from your restaurant. Then, they get frustrated when no staff are available to fulfil the order.

Use the WooCommerce Opening Hours & Chosen Times to ensure that customers can only place restaurant orders when you are actually open. If customers try to order out of hours, they can receive an automatic message to check back later. Alternatively, they can place an order now and choose a delivery time slot for when you are open.

Use Social Proof to Build Trust in Your Restaurant

Everyone knows that people try new restaurants due to word of mouth recommendations. Plugins such as Proven add social proof to your website, bringing good old ‘word of mouth’ to your WooCommerce food ordering system.

Final Thoughts

Don’t feel daunted if your restaurant isn’t part of a major household name delivery platform. It’s simple to create your own restaurant online ordering alternative when using WooCommerce Product Table as your WordPress restaurant plugin. And even better, the costs are low and you don’t have to give away a big share of your sales.

It’s time to get started and set up your own site today!

Henry Jones is the founder and owner of ThemeTrust. He has been designing and developing for WordPress since 2007.