When you own a restaurant, your time is both extremely valuable and extremely limited. Between managing day-to-day operations and new food innovations, you probably don’t have a lot of extra time to invest in your website.
But a high-quality site is critical for success. That’s why choosing the right tools is so important. We’ve put together a list of the best WordPress plugins for restaurants that save you time and help with everything from marketing and security to management.
1. An online ordering system
Online ordering is one of the best ways to streamline your processes and reach more guests. While you could use a third-party ordering system like DoorDash, their fees can be crippling for restaurants with already low margins.
Instead, maintain full control (and profits!) by adding an online ordering system to your WordPress website. All you need is WooCommerce and the Restaurant for WooCommerce extension. Categorize menu items, collect payments, offer multiple delivery options and more. This guide from WooCommerce walks you through the entire process from start to finish.
2. A restaurant menu plugin
Whether you accept online orders or just want to keep potential diners updated on your offerings, a menu plugin is a must. Some WordPress themes include this functionality, but if yours doesn’t, there are some great options available in the WordPress plugin repository.
Before choosing a plugin, think through the layout you’re looking for, along with the needs of your specific food. Do you want to include images? What about descriptions? Search for features specific to your needs.
3. A reservation system
If reservations are a big part of your dining experience, make it easier for your customers by allowing them to book directly on your site. With the OpenTable block from Jetpack, you can embed your OpenTable reservation form anywhere you’d like. Add it to pages, posts, and more so it’s always accessible.
4. A security plugin
Security is one of the most important aspects of a successful website. Not only do you want to protect your hard work and reputation, you also want to lock down any information you collect from diners.
- 24/7 malware scanning, to immediately identify any corrupt code on your site and fix the majority of issues with one click.
- Spam protection, so you don’t have to waste time manually filtering comments.
- An activity log, which keeps a record of everything that happens on your site, along with who performed each action and when.
- Downtime monitoring, so you know right away if your site goes down and can get it back up and running quickly.
- Brute force attack prevention, which blocks hackers and bots who try to force their way into your site.
Since all of these features are built into one plugin, you get everything you need for excellent security without slowing down your site.
5. A backup plugin
If your site is ever hacked, or if you make a mistake, backups can be a lifesaver. Instead of having to rebuild from scratch or hire someone to solve the problem, you can just restore a clean, working version of your website in minutes.
Look for a WordPress backup plugin that stores backups separately from your site and from your host, so if your site’s down or your server is compromised, you can still restore a clean version. You also want something that’s easy to use and easy to restore, so you’re not fumbling to figure it out when you’re already stressed.
Jetpack Backup provides all of this, with options for daily backups (which copy your site every 24 hours) and real-time backups (which copy your site any time an action takes place). If you accept online orders or sell merchandise, real-time backups are your best option, so you never lose an order.
Pro tip: Jetpack Backup is also included in the Jetpack Security package mentioned above, so you can get everything you need in one affordable plan!
6. A maps plugin
Does your restaurant have multiple locations? Do you run pop-ups from several venues? Does your food truck move around from area to area? Then a good maps plugin is critical to help diners find you at all times.
With the map block from Jetpack, you can easily add a map to pages, posts, and more with as many locations as you need.
7. A reviews plugin
Reviews are critical for any restaurant. In fact, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Showcase all the praise you’re getting from diners directly on your site to encourage more to visit for the first time.
There are a variety of review plugins available (see a few options from the plugin repository) but take a moment to consider the needs of your restaurant. Do you want to display reviews from Google and Yelp? Or do you want to collect and display reviews of your own?
8. A speed plugin
If your website loads slowly, then visitors may get frustrated and leave. That’s the last thing you want! A slow site also makes you look unprofessional and can hurt your search engine rankings.
That’s why you should always have a WordPress speed plugin to keep things loading quickly. Jetpack offers a suite of speed tools that are completely free, including:
- A content delivery network (CDN), which displays your content to site visitors from servers located around the world. This ensures that your pages load quickly. Bonus: it also automatically resizes images for mobile devices!
- A video-hosting service, which lets you embed videos without slowing down your site or having to use third-party tools like YouTube or Vimeo.
- A lazy loading image feature, which automatically delays the loading of images until visitors scroll down to where they appear on the page.
9. An SEO plugin
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps improve your site rankings on search engines so more diners can find you without the need for paid advertising. While there are a variety of factors that impact your rankings (see our SEO for beginners guide) a good plugin will get you started on the right track.
With Jetpack’s free SEO tool, you can see live previews of what your site looks like on Google, gain helpful suggestions for optimizing your content, and customize valuable information like titles and meta descriptions to help boost your rankings.
10. Plugins for advertising and marketing
While SEO is important, paid advertising and marketing attract new diners more quickly and keep them coming back time and time again. There are a wide variety of marketing tactics (and the right strategy for you is probably a combination) so you may need multiple plugins like:
- An email marketing plugin. Send emails to people who are interested in your restaurant. Update them on events, specials, coupons, and more. While there are several great email marketing tools, Jetpack blocks make integrating your site with Mailchimp and Creative Mail simple.
- A social media plugin. If you’re creating great content, you want to share that with followers on your social media accounts. Automate this process with Jetpack’s social sharing features which, depending on your plan, automatically shares new blog posts to connected networks, republishes previous posts, and more.
- An analytics tool. How will you know if your marketing efforts are paying off without analytics? By default, Jetpack provides stats like site visits, most viewed pages, and search terms that people used to find you all in an easy-to-use dashboard. Or, for even more information, you can use it to quickly integrate with Google Analytics.
But again, the exact plugins you choose will depend on your marketing strategy. For example, you might want to integrate with your CRM, add lead generation popups, or include a chat box at the bottom corner of your site.
11. An eCommerce plugin
Do you make a special sauce, patented spice blend, or fun t-shirt? Adding an online store to your WordPress site is a great way to generate extra revenue.
With WooCommerce, you can create an eCommerce store without needing to hire a developer or know any code. It’s completely free, offers ultimate flexibility — build anything your heart desires! — and provides a large extension library for added functionality.
Want some inspiration? See how four food businesses started selling online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
12. A contact form plugin
Of course, you need a way for potential diners to get in touch with you if they have questions. A contact form allows them to do this, even if you’re closed when they’re visiting your site, and provides options for those who prefer not to pick up the phone.
With Jetpack, you can easily add contact forms anywhere on your site. Use a ready-to-go template or edit the form fields to include (or remove) Name, Email, Telephone, or any number of customizable options.
Choose the right tools now for long-term success
Don’t get bogged down by your website! Choose the best WordPress plugins to help your site find success without taking all of your valuable time.
Jetpack is a great place to start. It offers everything WordPress sites need for security, marketing, speed, design, and more — all in one easy-to-use plugin. See a full list of features.