With approximately 1 million restaurants in the US alone, consumers are faced with an impressive selection of culinary options from which to pick. But while all these dining options are positive for consumers, it also means that restaurant owners are facing increased competition.
Technology is probably the last thing that you expected to have an impact on the restaurant industry, but it’s absolutely true. In fact, the National Restaurant Association reported some pretty interesting statistics in their 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast including:
- 70% of smartphone users view restaurant menus on their phone at least a few times per year.
- 34% of consumers say that technology makes them dine out or order takeout more often.
- 25% of consumers say technology options play a role in their decision to choose a restaurant.
- 6 out of 10 chefs encourage diners to take photos of their dinner and post them on social media.
These figures make it very clear that as old as this industry is, there is a real need to keep up with consumers’ use of technology.
One of the most important items in a restaurant’s arsenal is the old fashioned menu. It’s the first thing people look at when deciding where to eat. More and more consumers today are turning to their smartphones in their quest to find an eatery that will quell their hunger. Having your menu online is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best WordPress restaurant menu plugins that are capable of helping you showcase your culinary creations.
FoodPress Restaurant Menu & Reservation Plugin
FoodPress is a $29 plugin that’s available from the Envato Market. This particular plugin actually takes care of two specific challenges: menus and reservations. For the purposes of this review, however, we’re going to focus on the features specifically related to your menu.
As a paid plugin, your expectations will probably be slightly higher than they would be with a similar free option. In this department, FoodPress doesn’t disappoint. In fact, considering the low price, it’s one of the top choices on the Envato marketplace for its category.
FoodPress is fully-responsive, compatible with WooCommerce, and integrates seamlessly within the WordPress backend. Adding items to your menu is as simple as clicking “Add New Menu Item”. Once you’ve given your tasty creation a title and description, you can easily specify a broad category, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer. You are free to create as many custom categories as needed. You can also apply a dish type – steaks, seafood or pasta – you’re limited only by your imagination. Some of the other options you get with FoodPress include price, nutritional information, ingredients, spiciness level and more.
With 10 different types of menus on offer, you have lots of options to pick from when selecting a layout for your content. In case you feel the need to customize your menu, there’s an easy to use appearance editor. FoodPress also offers an add-on that will facilitate online ordering and includes 6 months of support which can be upgraded to 12 months for only $8.70.
Accura Food Menu WP
With over 50 menu styles and a reasonable price tag of $26, Acura Food Menu WP is another paid option that is worth taking a closer look at. Menus can be displayed in pages, posts and sidebar widgets using shortcodes.
As the menus are all fully responsive, each of the different menu styles on offer will look great on a desktop, tablet or mobile device. The font selection and layout options present a modern look and feel so if you’re restaurant is more upscale, you might want to spend some time customizing fonts in order to match the decor of your dining room.
Acura Food Menu WP also lets you create specific menus for multiple locations as well as several special menu layouts. One thing that’s missing with this specific plugin is the ability to easily add things like nutritional information, ingredients, and short descriptions to your items. If these features are important to you, then FoodPress (above) might present a more flexible option.
WP Restaurant Manager
A free plugin that offers a full suite of restaurant management features, WP Restaurant Manager includes an easy to use and intuitive menu management interface available through the WordPress admin menu. Unfortunately, many of the menu management features of this plugin are overshadowed by the reservation and notification features that seem to be the primary focus. There is a pro version of the plugin available as well. However, it does not appear to add any functionality to the menu component of this plugin.
What you will be able to do with WP Restaurant Manager is create a basic menu with detailed descriptions and images. Menu items can be categorized, tagged, and labeled with the appropriate information such as price, vegan, spiciness and nutritional details. Once you’ve created and categorized your menu items, you can insert them into pages and posts using the built-in shortcode manager.
Where this plugin really falls short is in the menu layout department. Where the first two plugins discussed have multiple attractive layout options, WP Restaurant Manager is relatively basic and will require significant time and effort in order to achieve a decent level of styling.
Food and Drink Menu
This plugin allows you to create a simple menu that can be displayed on posts or pages as well as in widgets or templates. Setting up Food and Drink Menu is relatively simple as the plugin relies on just two custom post types: Menu items and Menus. Once you’ve created your menu items you can assign each one to a specific category. Those categories can then be arranged as desired in the Menu layout editor.
The Food and Drink Menu plugin does not currently allow for ingredients or nutritional information, but it does have some features that a few of the other plugins of this type are missing. For example, it’s relatively simple to create a one or two column menu layout. Also, using columns in a theme like Divi along with multiple menus, will allow you to create customized layouts that are quite unique.
Food and Drink Menu also has a pro version available for $25 that adds some potentially important functionality. This includes custom icons, the ability to include food sourcing and supplier details as well as support for displaying discounted prices.
I’d be remiss to put together a list of restaurant menu plugins and not include at least one that was specifically designed for pizza delivery. Although WPPizza claims to be flexible enough to manage any menu, it’s specifically designed for pizza restaurants.
Some of the unique features specific to this plugin include the ability to set multiple prices per item (different sizes of pizzas) and descriptions. Support for several payment gateways is also included, allowing you customers to pay online prior to delivery. And at the end of the day, WPPizza will tally up your orders and provide you with a sales report as well.
While the basic plugin is free, if you’re truly planning to use it for pizza delivery, there are several paid extensions that you’ll want to consider. The most important of which are the Add Ingredients Extension which provides the ability to customize your pizza. The second important extension allows you to create tiered delivery pricing based upon postal/zip codes. You can check out the other extensions here to see what your upgrade options are.
Quick Restaurant Menu Plugin
This particular plugin attempts (successfully) to simplify the menu-creation process. Quick Restaurant Menu is a free plugin that is suitable for almost any kind of restaurant. While you won’t have as many options available as there are in some of the other plugins, you might find the creation of menus to be a little easier.
Menu creation, category creation, and even menu items are all accomplished within the same screen. Once created, each one can be rearranged with an easy-to-use drag and drop editor. Individual menu items allow for an image, description, and price. This plugin doesn’t offer the ability to add any additional information about ingredients or nutritional information.
Through the global menu setting, you can select currency and image thumbnail size. One thing that is especially convenient is the custom CSS field which is available right in menu settings.
Since no two restaurants are alike the ability to customize your online menu is a fairly important feature. It’s also important to be able to use a plugin that will allow you to make sure your menu matches the look and feel of the rest of your website with relative ease.
Although we’ve covered a total of 6 plugins in this roundup, the one that’s best for you will depend upon your restaurant and the complexity of your menu. You should also give some consideration to the types of features that you may want down the road. Having to switch menu plugins would not be an easy task for any of these options.
There are two clear winners that stand out above the rest:
- If your primary focus is on Pizza delivery, WPPizza has several features that are extremely convenient for that particular type of restaurant.
- If you are running any other type of restaurant, FoodPress comes across as the clear winner in this category. Not only does this plugin offer the ability to include all kinds of additional information about each menu item, it provides plenty of convenient layout options. It’s quite possible that the best feature is the consistent focus on imagery – something that’s important when is comes to presenting great tasting food.
If you’re currently running a restaurant please share in the comments below which menu plugin you’re currently using and why.
Article thumbnail image by Beresnev / shutterstock.com