How To: Manage Your Restaurant Menu Online for Free With WordPress
Restaurant websites are a niche that seems like a perfect for using WordPress, in the past we have looked at various restaurant themes and plugins, and we also did a review of the brilliant HappyTables hosted service which uses WordPress and makes it easy to manage an online restaurant website. I have started building my own restaurant WordPress theme and was looking for an easy way to let people manage the menu when I came across the Free Easy Restaurant Menu Manager plugin, today I will be looking at how to install and configure this plugin.
Install The Plugin
Download the plugin and in your WordPress admin, visit “Plugins” > “Add New” > “Upload” and upload the file.
Click “Activate” under the plugin and you will see it then adds a new menu at the bottom called “Manage Menus”:
Create a Menu
If you visit the “Manage Menus” link you will see a lunch menu has allready been added, you can edit this or delete it and create your own from scratch :
If you click on the “Lunch” link under “Edit Menu” you are taken to a screen where you can name it, enter a description and grab the shortcode for it ( you will need this to copy and paste into a page to display the menu). In this free version of the plugin you can only create one menu, so if you require more, you will need to purchase the full version for $25.
If you go back to the main “Manage Menus” screen and click “Edit Categories” you will be taken to a screen to create catageories for your menu, such as Entrees, Mains, Desserts etc :
Once you have created any categories you require, go back again and click “Edit Items” and you can add individual dishes. Here are the sample dishes which come with the plugin :
Click an item name to view the details for that dish, or you can click the “Add New Item” button to add your own :
Unfortunately you cant upload images with the free version, so again, you will have to pay the $25 for the full version if you need this functionality.
When adding an item to your menu, there are a number of icons you can use along with it such as: Spicy, Star, Trophy, Healthy, New & Vegetarian. If you visit the “Item Icons” in the main menu, you will see this is where you can configure these and add your own:
Placing the Menu in Your Theme
Once you have your menu created and all the items added, you will want to display this on the front-end of your website. To do this, grab your shortcode for the menu ( Click on “Manage Menus” > Menu Name ) which will look like this : [WP_Restaurant_Menu id=”1″] and create a page or post. Go into HTML view and paste the shortcode in and then publish it. View the page on your site and you will see the menu you created is displayed :
I liked this plugin – nice no-nonsense interface makes creating menus a breeze. I wasn’t so keen on the restrictions such as not being able to add images for items – I understand the need to get people to purchase the full version but I think this could be done better by offering attractive extra features, rather than limiting what is allready in the plugin. Saying that, $25 is hardly a big price to pay so I think it’s well worth it to obtain a full supported version and support this developer. Overall I recommend this plugin, but would suggest getting the full version.