Take Food Orders Online with WooCommerce and Make a Restaurant Pandemic-Proof

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way restaurants need to operate. All over the world, restaurants were forced to close their doors completely or switch to taking food orders online. In other words, restaurants could either go out of business or offer takeaway food only.

Even after COVID-19 restrictions relaxed, the changes are here to stay. Any restaurant that doesn’t accept orders online is leaving itself vulnerable to potential future lockdowns and not meeting customer expectations fully.

The WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin allows restaurant clients to take food orders online.

What Is the Best Way for Restaurants to Take Orders Online?

There are two main ways for restaurant owners to start taking food orders online – by using a hosted third-party food ordering platform or creating their own WordPress website.

If you decide to use a hosted third-party food ordering platform like Uber Eats, the restaurant will be charged a percentage of each food order in commission. Since they’re charged for each order, these charges add up pretty quickly.

On the flip side, both you and your client can save a money by creating a WordPress website with a WooCommerce restaurant plugin like WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering. The only costs to pay for is web hosting and software to get the food ordering website up and running.

Another major benefit of using a WooCommerce restaurant plugin is that you’ll be in full control. You can modify the website’s design to match the restaurant’s brand aesthetic and create user flows that are perfect for the types of dishes on offer.

Most importantly, the restaurant will own all of their data. If you use a platform like Uber Eats, neither the developer nor the restaurant will have complete control over the restaurant ordering system’s design or functionality.

How Easy Is It to Take Food Orders With a WooCommerce Restaurant Plugin?

While taking food orders online using a this plugin sounds like a lot of work, it’s really easy. All of the tools used in this tutorial are perfect for beginners, while also being extensible by developers.

If a restaurant already uses WordPress for their main website then you can install WooCommerce and a WooCommerce restaurant plugin on the existing site. Once that’s done, all you have to do is add food items to the website as WooCommerce products and the restaurant can start accepting orders right away.

On the other hand, if you don’t already use WordPress then you can sign up for web hosting and install WordPress to get started. Once that’s done, you can install a WordPress restaurant theme on the website for the design, and then follow the instructions in this tutorial to enable food ordering.

How to Use the WooCommerce Restaurant Plugin to Take Food Orders Online

Here, we’ll show you how you can use the plugin to start taking food orders online.

For this tutorial, we’ll assume you already have a WordPress website set up.

Step #1: Set Up E-Commerce on Your Restaurant Website

The first step is to set up e-commerce functionality on the restaurant website so you can accept food orders online. The best way to do this is by installing the WooCommerce plugin on the WordPress website.

Once you activate the plugin, the WooCommerce Setup Wizard will automatically start. Simply follow the instructions you see on your screen to set up the online store.

Step #2: Create Your Food Menu

The next step is to create an online food ordering menu. To do this, you will need to add each food item from the menu as a separate WooCommerce product.

It’s also a good idea to organize the food items into categories the same way restaurants organize their printed menu. For example, there might be categories for Starters, Main Dishes, and Drinks.

Create categories for the WooCommerce restaurant ordering system

You can go to Products → Categories from the admin panel to create as many categories as you’d like. Once that’s done, you can start adding foods as WooCommerce products.

Add each food item to the restaurant menu as a product.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Products → Add New from the WordPress admin panel.
  2. Fill out the information on the Add New Product screen for each food item.
  3. Enter the food’s name and description.
  4. Fill out the product data section.
  5. Choose a suitable category.
  6. Upload a featured image of the food item.
  7. Click the Publish button.

Follow these three steps to add each food item to the restaurant website.

Pro tip: If the restaurant sells foods with variations (such as pizza with a choice of crust style, toppings, and size), you can create variable products in WooCommerce.

Step #3: Set Up The Food Ordering Page

To set up an intuitive online food ordering page, you’ll need to use a restaurant plugin such as the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin to create a menu and start taking food orders online.

Configure the restaurant order forms on the plugin settings page (or directly in a shortcode)

After you install the plugin, the configuration options are pretty straightforward. You can choose which categories to include on the food ordering page. It also lets you decide which food details to display and in how many columns.

The plugin automatically creates a new page for you called Restaurant Ordering or you can rename it.

If you preview the page on your site’s front-end, you’ll see your food menu. It will look something like this:

WooCommerce restaurant plugin

Customers can simply click the (+) icon to add the food item to their cart. For variable products, they’ll be able to select options in a lightbox view.

Customers can select variations and add-ons from a lightbox

Pro tip: Consider setting the online food ordering menu page as your homepage or adding it to the website’s main navigation menu.

And here’s what the customer’s cart will look like:

Once you’ve set up a WordPress website, all you have to do is enable e-commerce functionality and use a WooCommerce restaurant plugin, like WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering, to start taking food orders online.

The best way to make a restaurant pandemic-proof is by taking food orders online and using a WordPress website instead of using a hosted third-party food ordering platform. This way, the restaurant will have complete control over design and functionality and will own all of their data.

You can check out the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering here.

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