Would you rather manage your restaurant’s website or be in the kitchen? Some days, it’s probably a tough call, but it’s doubtful you spent time developing a menu and customer base to devote your time to juggling a menu, booking, and review website. Luckily, your WordPress website provides you with access to all of the time-saving free WordPress plugins for restaurants you need to launch your new eatery online at your leisure.
To start, you may only want to host a basic menu and ensure your restaurant appears in search results. As time goes by and your business takes off, additional plugins can help streamline online reservations and to-go orders.
On the free restaurants’ plugins end, there are options to meet all of your business needs. However, most of the free options do offer a pro version with additional features if you feel the need to explore as your needs change.
Preparing for Free Restaurant Plugins
Most of the plugins referenced below provide an uncomplicated setup process. However, you may want to do some prep work before logging into WordPress if your goal is to complete your website relatively quickly.
Unless you want a bare-bones presentation, photos of your dishes are a must. Having a full restaurant menu prepared is desirable if you wish to streamline separating dishes into categories like desserts, soups, or salads. Drafting a brief blurb or pulling the description from your physical menu for each dish is also recommended. For a niche restaurant, such as a vegan establishment or a bakery with gluten-free goods, be prepared to feature a few nutritional details for your offerings.
Restaurant Menu by Moto Press
The MotoPress Restaurant Menu plugin is a great menu building option if you prefer for your menu to exist for total review but want individual dishes also to maintain pages on your website.
Restaurant Menu lets you create categories to suit your menu. You can focus on food types, such as appetizers, desserts, and salads, or provide a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu instead. All of the above is also an option. Within each menu (or category), each dish is displayed with a photograph, name, and other descriptive elements of your choosing.
Of benefit for search engine optimization and information sharing — each dish receives it’s on a page on the website — consider the dish the menu equivalent of a blog post within the category. On the dish page, you can specify additional nutritional details, share more photos or feature customization options.
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- Allows for switching individual items and categories on and off as a group
- Features or hides tags and ingredients
- Offers the ability to build unlimited categories and menu items.
- Provides multiple menu display options ranging from a six-column grid layout to a single-column list.
Quick Restaurant Menu by Things for Restaurants
For restaurants with different offerings based on the day of the week or the time of day, Quick Restaurant Menu offers a streamlined, automated solution. The plugin specializes in making sure the right menu is displayed at the appropriate time based on your predefined timeline.
When a visitor arrives at your website at noon, for example, your lunch menu would appear while a 4 p.m. visitor would see the dinner menu.
While it’s not a deal breaker when you need a free time-based menu delivery option, Quick Restaurant Menu does require you to create an additional menu entry for the same item if pricing changes are present between lunch and dinner. For dishes offered at the same rate, you can easily add the item to multiple menus without making a new entry.
The restaurant menu is easy to manage with unlimited menu options and unlimited menu items.
- Headers and footers can be added to each menu individually.
- Photos, descriptions, sizes, and prices are displayed for each menu item.
- Responsive layout for mobile viewing.
- Drag and drop interface.
- Custom CSS can be inserted based on your needs.
Restaurant Menu, Food Ordering System, Table Reservation by Gloria Food
At this point, you may be thinking, “Please, not another menu plugin.” Alas, this Gloria Food plugin is a menu option, but it’s features are much more varied and extend beyond the menu.
Marketed as a freemium option, Gloria Food provides a robust set of features in its free version, hoping adopters will choose a premium option to accept payments through a branded mobile app.
Like the options above, the restaurant menu features allow you to build a custom menu using your pictures and customized food items.
The Gloria Food version differs slightly through access to stock food images. Menu items can also be easily customized to including sizing variations as well as choices and add-ons available in your restaurant.
For enterprises with heavily customizable recipes, such as burgers or pizza, the options are endless.
The free version does allow for orders and can customize open and closing times for multiple service hours, such as delivery times that extend past hours of operation.
- Takes orders in advance for later fulfillment.
- Accommodates multiple delivery zones with various minimum order value requirements.
- Provides real-time order confirmation and fulfillment times.
- Delivers analytics.
Google Maps Widget
Is your restaurant branching out or in a sometimes hard-to-find location? The Google Maps widget plugin helps you “get on the map” with a custom Google Map for display on your WordPress site.
Add multiple locations for your chain to a single map or zoom in to show customers nearby landmarks next to your restaurant. Additional customization options provide you with access to increased mapping tools that can assist customers with navigation to your business.
Don’t forget to check out our discount coupon on Google Maps Widget.
Bookly by Bookly
When you are ready to accept reservations online, the Bookly plugin provides a robust scheduling plugin for WordPress. The free option contains all the services you need, but a premium option does provide online payment access and additional settings.
For customers, the Bookly form presents a calendar of available reservation blocks, or appointments, at your restaurant. A customer selects the time block, fills in contact details, and receives a text or email verification regarding the reservation. A follow-up text is also sent as a reminder before the booking.
Bookly provides business owners with a control panel, so no coding is required to get the system up and running on your website. You can modify the appearance and branding of the plugin to suit the restaurant industry and manage your calendar from the admin panel. Should you need to cancel a reservation, you can do so from the panel, and the customer is automatically notified.
A unique feature of value in the restaurant industry is the ability to color code appointments or reservations. When a large party makes a reservation, you can highlight it separately to ensure proper staffing levels on the night of the event and adjust your table configuration in advance.
Bookly is best utilized by restaurants that accept reservations and walk-ins unless the service is actively managed and heavily customized to reflect the customer capacity of the restaurant. Without attention to details, such as capacity and party size, when setting up the system, it would be possible to overbook and cause increased wait times at your establishment.
From reservations to menus and online orders, the best free WordPress plugins for restaurants provide a full range of services in their free versions. Access to virtual payment options, however, is an upcharge for the major players.
Is your restaurant looking for a plugin to help with another aspect of restaurant management? Do you have a favorite not mentioned above?
Let us know in the comments below.