Here at WPHub.com we’ll always argue that WordPress is the perfect platform for most small to medium sized businesses – and a lot of large ones too for that matter. It’s an easy case to make. They are the world’s most popular CMS. They have a very enthusiastic community of designers, developers, and end users. They have countless free and premium resources in the form of themes, plugins, marketplaces, and forums. And on top of all that a WordPress website is cost effective and easy to maintain. However, if you’ve used WordPress as a platform to build food service websites in the past then there is a good chance you’ve been frustrated by the lack of resources aimed at this particular industry.
For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner what are the three things you want your website to be able to do? (1) List your hours and contact info (2) Display your menu (3) take food orders. Not only is this common sense but it’s the sort of convenient service the average customer has come to expect. Unfortunately it’s surprisingly difficult to deliver. For the small to medium sized business – say, a mom and pop diner – it’s not an option to hire a large design/development studio to create a gorgeous website with a custom online ordering system that syncs to their in-store point of sale software. This would cost them thousands of dollars (that they don’t have) and they would have no guarantee that the uptick in revenue would outweigh the upfront expense. So what does everyone (owners and customers alike) have to settle for? A disappointing and often frustrating embedded or downloadable pdf menu. Not only are these menus ugly and hard to read but they have absolutely no online ordering features. So while being able to see what’s on the menu is nice, if you’re in a rush or trying to order lunch/dinner for a group then a pdf doesn’t help much to expedite the process.
Besides restaurant owners there is another large group that has probably been frustrated by the difficulty of providing the basic web needs of the food service industry. Small creative studios and freelancers who specialize in providing customized WordPress websites. There’s an enormous pool of potential clients out there who desperately need what these small creative shops and freelancers have to offer but the product is not only out of the client’s price range but it’s usually a combination of too expensive to develop, too time consuming, or out of the technical depth of the small studio or freelancer as well. That is until the recent arrival of the Zuppler Online Ordering Plugin. A plugin that just might prove to be a game changer.
This feature rich plugin goes above and beyond what you might expect from a free turn-key solution. In addition to the impressive feature line-up below make sure to drop by their website for a full feature tour.
- Orders received by fax, web, email, ePrint or POS
- The Zuppler “No Order Left Behind Policy” which ensures that restaurants are alerted of every order placed
- Flexible payment options: Instantly or weekly
- Sales tracking and real time reports
- Easy order adjustments for charge refunds, discounts, tips, “comps”, or special deals.
- Weekly sales reports by fax or online
- Free menu changes
- Free setup and installation
- Full access to customer info
- Ability to easily add photos for menu sections and individual items
- Safe and secure PCI compliant
- 24/7 Support. U.S. Based member support and customer care
- External hosting of Plugin data (including menu and cart) to ensure 99.9% up-time and a low impact on server space/bandwidth.
Installation & Setup
Like most WordPress plugins the installation is an easy two step process. First upload the entire zuppler-online-ordering folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory. Then activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress. At this point you’ll be able to see the ‘Zuppler Online Ordering’ menu in your WordPress admin panel.
Selecting a layout is as easy as choosing one of their four pre-determined styles. Adding a menu page is just as easy needing only a simple short code as seen below.
At this point, you’ll want to make sure the restaurant you’re working for has signed up on the Zuppler website because the next step is for a “Zuppler Coach” to get in touch and help make sure all of the client’s needs are met. One very cool part of this process is that Zuppler will put their in-house design team to work for you just to make sure their menu fits in with the website’s existing design.
Installing the Zuppler Online Ordering plugin and using it as a menu is completely free. If you want to take advantage of their online ordering and all the features that come along with that, then there are fees that apply. Depending on what plan works best for you you can choose to have a percentage taken from each order (a good option for those who do not know exactly what their volume will be) or if you have high volume and want a flat rate those plans are available too.
Zuppler In Action
Here are some Zuppler powered menus live and active right now.
In my opinion this plugin is one the best things to hit the WordPress platform in 2012. It’s a must-have plugin for any food service industry business on WordPress and its cost effectiveness combined with insane feature list and 24/7 customer service makes it extremely competitive even with much more expensive/custom options.
Download: Zuppler Online Ordering Plugin