The pandemic has forced restaurants around the globe to adapt to a different way of doing business. Online ordering systems, delivery, and curbside pickup have been lifesavers for millions of businesses, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change even as businesses open their doors to the public.
According to Business of Apps, food delivery apps in the US are predicted to reach a revenue of 42 Billion USD by 2025.
It seems like a no-brainer that if you own a restaurant, you should get in the action and list your restaurant on a third-party service like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats.
But food delivery services actually take huge cuts from your earnings, around 20-30%. On top of this revenue loss, using a third-party service means you have less control over your listing. You can’t control the look or user-friendliness of your listing, and any changes you might want to make take time — you can’t access your listing yourself. What’s more, your restaurant is more likely to get lost amongst the competition when listed on an app with so many other businesses.
The alternative? Make your own online food ordering system with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce, appraised for its versatility and customizability, is a great alternative to these third-party services. Operating your online ordering system through WooCommerce means you get full control over your menu, look, and user-friendliness, and you get 100% of your profits.
WordPress, a website platform, is free of charge. WooCommerce, the eCommerce plugin you need to install into your WordPress website to make sales, is also free. Your only costs are web hosting, payment processing fees (which are typically only a few percent of your transactions), and any plugins you might want or need to run your store. It’s likely the only plugin you’ll need to purchase is the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering Plugin.
To get started, you’ll just need to set up your WooCommerce store. For in-depth instructions, read our guide.
WooCommerce comes with a few built-in payment options, such as PayPal, however, it also offers a huge variety of third-party payment options. If you plan to operate in-store and online, we recommend integrating with a payment processor that accepts payments both online and in-store with payment terminals. Payment processors such as Fortis Pay offer payment terminals for in-store as well as online payments in WooCommerce, with a variety of different payment options for customers.
If you’re using WooCommerce for your restaurant, it’s a good practice to create product categories to organize your menu, both to keep yourself organized and to make your menu easy to navigate. Just have a look at the structure of your menu and split your items into categories intuitively (i.e. appetizers, mains, pasta, sandwiches, etc.).
You can create product categories by going to Products > Categories > Add New in your WordPress sidebar menu.
Simply select ‘Add Products’ from your sidebar menu and start creating your products, or menu items. Enter your product title, description, price, and select a category from the product categories you made earlier. We also strongly recommend adding a photo, and a stock level so customers don’t order a food item once you’ve sold out. The more detailed your product information, the more likely your customers will order.
WooCommerce gives you two different product types: simple products, and variable products. Variable products are simple products that also have variations. For example, if your menu item is ‘Pizza’, your variations can be the different variety of pizza flavours available. Variations can vary in price as well.
If your menu is a bit more complicated, there are many plugin options out there for more advanced product types. For example, if you’d like to have individual toppings for your pizza, you can purchase WooCommerce Composite Products, so your customers can build their own pizza on your website. If you have a POS like Oliver, which syncs to your WooCommerce and supports composite products, you can easily sell these products in your physical restaurant as well.
There are a few ways to use WooCommerce for your restaurant. Oliver Eat, Oliver POS’ own restaurant system, is coming soon. But until then, the simplest way is to use Barn 2’s WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin.
It’s a single cost of 99 USD. While it may seem steep, the one-time cost will pale in comparison to the recurring cost of losing a third of your profits to third-party ordering services.
Buy the plugin, and install it in your WordPress by going to Plugins > Add New > Upload, and upload the zip file you downloaded. Then, go to your WooCommerce Settings and go to Restaurants, and enter the license key from your plugin. This is also where you can configure your order form.
The plugin will automatically create an order page for you, which lists all of your menu items organized by the menu categories you created earlier.
Next, set up your shipping zones. Select the region you are able to offer delivery, or if you offer free delivery within a certain range of zip codes, you can enter that under the Shipping section of your WooCommerce Settings.
You can also add delivery options — like if your customers would like to pick up their order instead of getting it delivered.
WooCommerce Opening Hours & Chosen Times isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely a great addition to your online food ordering system. It allows full control of how many orders you get within a certain time frame, how long in advance customers must book their order, and your hours of operation, so customers can’t place too many orders at once, or place an order outside of business hours.
Once you have your WooCommerce online restaurant set up, it’s just a matter of operating your new online service. WooCommerce automatically sends you an email notification when you receive an online order. However, if you have a POS that integrates with your WooCommerce like Oliver POS, your online orders will pop up in your activity view in real-time. Because Oliver is a mobile-friendly, cloud-based POS system, you can access it anywhere, whether you’re operating from home, a food truck, or your physical restaurant location.
The Oliver Cloud Printer connects directly to your WooCommerce, so you can set it up to print every time you get an online order. This is the most efficient way to keep track of your online ordering system, and never miss an order while you’re open for operation. The Cloud Printer maintains its connection to WooCommerce no matter where it is, so you can keep your Cloud Printer in your kitchen no matter where you, your staff, or your customers are entering orders.