Managing food orders & notifications
By default, WooCommerce will send an email to alert you to new restaurant orders. For added convenience, you might like to integrate your ordering system with a plugin that automatically prints new food orders directly to the kitchen, or sends SMS notification of new orders. This saves having to check emails and manually print orders for the kitchen staff.
How to print new orders to the kitchen
You can use other WooCommerce order printing plugins, however we particularly recommend this one because it uses PrintNode. This is better than Google Cloud Print, which is being discontinued in 2021.
Can I print orders to different printer locations?
Some restaurants need a more complex setup where you send different orders to different printers. For example:
- You might be setting up online ordering for multiple restaurants and need to print the orders at the kitchen for the appropriate restaurant.
- If you have multiple kitchens (e.g. one for each floor of the restaurant) then you might need the orders to print to the correct kitchen depending on where the customer is sitting.
This is a bit tricky to achieve because we're not aware of any automatic order printing plugins that offer such fine-grained control. One option is to use an automation service such as Zapier.
There is a WooCommerce Zapier plugin which you could use for this, but it may not have the triggers you need. For example, it can trigger an automation (e.g. to print the order to a specific printer) when you receive an order, but it can't trigger different automations based on the order details (e.g. which category the customer ordered from, or specific information about the order).
Instead, you can get more fine-grained control by using Zapier's Email Parser. This lets you automatically forward your WooCommerce order confirmation emails to the Email Parser, which then reads the content of the email and triggers an automation as a result. You can print to a specific printer based on any of the information from the order confirmation email.
For example, if you use the Checkout Field Editor plugin to add a 'Table number' field to the checkout and include this in the order confirmation email, then you can trigger a different automation (also called a 'Zap') depending on the table number.
There are various Zapier-Print integrations available depending on your printing setup. Here's one example.
The above is a bit tricky to set up, but Zapier have good support and can point you in the right direction if you get stuck.
SMS text message order notifications
There are two types of SMS text notification that you might want to use with WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering:
- SMS notification of new orders to the administrator (or direct to the chef/kitchen).
- SMS notification telling the customer when their food is ready.
There are different plugins available for each of these.
SMS notifications to the administrator/kitchen
The free SMS Alert Order Notifications plugin lets you send a text message to a specific mobile phone number whenever a new order is received. This instantly alerts the kitchen to new orders so that they don't need to check the WooCommerce Dashboard or look for the order notification email.
SMS notifications to the customer
To send texts to the customer, we recommend using WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering with the Twilio SMS Notifications plugin. This involves signing up for a free Twilio account, and then you can send SMS text messages to your customers' mobile phone when their order is ready for collection.
You can customize the content of the text message to tell them when to collect their order or when it will be delivered. For example, it might say: "We are currently making your food order and it will be ready to collect in 15 minutes."