If you run a pizza delivery, Chinese, Indian or other type of fast food restaurant, you know how important a quality takeaway ordering system is. A huge variety of paid services exist to help you accept takeaway orders. But if you want to save money, a WordPress takeaway order system based on WooCommerce lets you kick commissions to the curb and do everything in-house.
If you've peeked at a third party takeaway service like Uber Eats or Grub Hub, then you've probably seen that using one of those tools will cost you at least ~$100 per month, plus a hefty setup fee. For example, ChowNow costs $149 per month plus a $399 setup fee for every single location. Yikes - hopefully you're selling a lot of takeaway food!
If you run a restaurant with a takeout business - e.g. pizza shops, sandwich shops, etc. - you need a better option. It must be convenient for your customers, and profitable for your takeaway restaurant.
To make that happen, we're going to show you how to use the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin to create your own WooCommerce takeaway setup with no monthly fees or commission to pay. You'll have full control to customize it, and it costs a fraction of what you'd pay for ChowNow's setup fee alone. In the end, it will look something like this:
All you'll need is a WordPress site and the WooCommerce takeaway plugin we talk about. And the best news is that it only takes a few minutes to set up your WordPress takeaway order system!
What you need for a WooCommerce takeaway system, plus how much it will cost
This is a more condensed, takeaway-focused version of our bigger guide on how to create a WooCommerce restaurant ordering system. If you want more detail, that tutorial covers everything you ever need to know about using WordPress with your restaurant.
To create a successful WordPress takeaway order system, there are a few tools you'll absolutely need. There are others that are optional, and can help you refine how the WordPress takeaway plugin functions.
On the must-have front, you'll need:
- WooCommerce - free WooCommerce will handle organizing your different menu items. It can also let you accept online payments if desired. But, most people will probably pay for takeaway orders in person anyway, so you can skip the payment functionality if you want to accept payments in person.
- WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering - premium By default, the way WooCommerce displays items isn't good for a takeaway menu. The WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin fixes that by listing your entire takeaway menu on one organized page, divided by food category. It also has other essential features such as setting opening times and preventing customers from ordering while you're closed.
Those two plugins comprise the core of your WordPress takeaway plugin stack. Later in this article, I'll tell you about some extra plugins you might like for adding extra features such as opening hours, delivery slots and automatic order printing.
Here's how to put it all together…
How to create a WooCommerce takeaway order system
Below, you'll find a full written tutorial about how to take fast food orders online with WordPress and WooCommerce. Alternatively, watch this video and watch me setting it up in 10 minutes, or sign up for my free online course for restaurants.
You can divide the process into three rough steps:
- Adding your menu items to WooCommerce
- Creating your takeout order menu with WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering
- Extending your WooCommerce takeaway system with other plugins (optional)
Step 1: Add your menu items as WooCommerce products
To get started, make sure you've installed and activated the free WooCommerce plugin, as well as configured basic information using the plugin's setup wizard. During the setup wizard, either follow the onscreen instructions to set up PayPal or Stripe (credit/debit card) payments, or just choose 'Local Pickup' and have customers pay when they pick up their order at the restaurant or curbside.
If you need help with the WooCommerce basics, here's a good basic tutorial.
Once you have WooCommerce running, you'll need to add each item on your menu as a WooCommerce product.
To do that, go to Products → Add New in your WP dashboard. Because WooCommerce is a general eCommerce plugin, not all of the settings here will apply to your takeaway order system.
Essential product data
- Title - the name of the food item as it appears on your menu.
- Long description (optional) - the full description of that menu item if you want to display extra text in a lightbox popup for each product.
- Product data - this is where you'll add the price and, if needed, let people customize the dish with their own toppings, substitutes, etc. (more on this in the next section).
- Short description (optional) - if you want, you can create a separate shorter description which will appear on the fast food ordering page.
- Category - this helps you divide your menu into different categories. For example, you could have one category for "Pizza", another for "Subs", etc.
- Image (optional) - the image for your menu item. Make it as mouth-watering as possible!
- Publish - once you finish configuring everything, you click this button to save your menu item and make it live.
Once you're done, you'll need to repeat the process for all of your takeaway food items. And you can also give your customers options, which we'll talk about next...
Use product variations or add-ons to let shoppers customize their food choices
You'll probably have some menu items where your customers get to pick different toppings or sizes as part of their takeaway order. Or, you might even have items where a customer needs to pick both.
For example, if you're setting up online pizza ordering in WooCommerce, then customers will want to:
- Choose what size pizza they want
- Add their own toppings (for an extra cost)
To give customers the power to customize their own orders, you can use two more options called variations or add-ons:
- Variations - variations are good for core options - like a food item's size. Product variations are built into the free WooCommerce plugin.
- Add-ons - add-ons are better for upgrades - like toppings to add on to a pizza. You'll need the official Product Add-Ons plugin to add these extra options to your takeaway meals.
You can see the difference between variations and add-ons in the screenshot below:
Learn how to set up variations and add-ons in the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin knowledge base.
Step 2: Create your WooCommerce takeaway order form with the Restaurant Ordering plugin
Once you've added all of your takeaway food items as WooCommerce products, you need a user-friendly way to display them. This makes it easy for your shoppers to browse your entire takeout menu and build their order without needing to click around to different pages.
That's where WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering comes in. It will let you:
- Display all of your menu items in one list, divided by category (just like your printed takeaway menu!).
- Control exactly what information displays, like product images, descriptions, and so on.
- Prevent customers from ordering outside of your opening hours.
And your customers will be able to:
- Customize menu items
- Add all the food they want to their cart without leaving the page
To get started, make sure you've purchased and installed the WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering plugin:
Configure the takeaway order form
When you install WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering, it instantly creates a food ordering page listing all your products. The page is structured by category.
You can customize this page on the plugin settings page. For example, you can choose which information to display about each food item, and change the order form layout to 1, 2 or 3 columns.
For even greater flexibility, the takeaway plugin comes with a shortcode which you can use to add different food order forms anywhere on your site. This is handy if you want each category to be displayed differently, or on different pages.
Customers can click on each food item to add it instantly to the cart, or if you prefer then they can open up a lightbox to view more information, select options and add to the cart from there.
Add a cart to the takeaway ordering page
Most online takeaway order forms show the contents of your cart on the page.
While you could add a sidebar to the page and add the standard 'Cart' widget, this wastes valuable real estate. Most takeaway food order forms look best if they take up the full width of the page. Installing WooCommerce Fast Cart is a better solution.
A fast cart pops up on the page - either automatically, or when the customer clicks on the floating cart icon. Either way, hungry shoppers can quickly review their selections, pay and order takeout food without leaving the page.
Step 3: Extend your Woo ordering system (delivery slots, order notifications to the kitchen, etc.)
At this point, you have a working WooCommerce takeaway ordering system. But there are still a few potential problems:
- People will always receive their takeout order as soon as it's ready - they can't schedule an order in advance.
- You have to pay attention to your email or refresh the website to see when a new takeaway order comes in.
To refine your WooCommerce takeaway system's functionality and fix some of these issues, you can optionally use some of the plugins we discussed earlier to change how things work.
- WooCommerce Delivery Slots to let customers choose when they want to pick up or collect their order.
- Twilio SMS Notifications to receive SMS notifications whenever a customer places a new takeaway order. Or, optionally, to send automatic SMS notifications to customers when their order is ready to be picked up.
- WooCommerce Automatic Order Printing to prints takeaway orders direct to the kitchen.
- If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can also install the free WooCommerce iOS mobile app. This app allows you or your staff to mark orders as fulfilled when the customer picks the order up without needing to hop on your computer.
Bonus: Increase your average order value by taking tips on your WooCommerce takeaway website!
When you accept takeaway orders online via WooCommerce, it's easy to miss out on tips. This is because ordering and paying in person is personal and people are in the habit of adding a tip to their order. To increase the average order value from your takeaway restaurant customers, you need to replicate this on your website.
Fortunately, you can do this using the WooCommerce Donation Or Tip On Cart And Checkout plugin. It adds a 'Tip' field, pre-filled with a suggested tip amount, to the checkout page. This is a great way to increase your revenue and accept tips from your online takeaway orders.
Save money with this WordPress takeaway plugin stack today
By creating a WooCommerce takeaway system, you both gain the flexibility to create a truly custom takeaway order system and bypass huge setup fees and monthly fees for other restaurant ordering systems.
That means happier customers and a better bottom line for your restaurant! Whether you need an online pizza delivery system or automated ordering for Chinese fast food, it's the perfect solution.
Get started today with WooCommerce and WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering.
If you want a more in-depth look at any of the topics we touched on in this post, be sure to read our complete guide to creating a restaurant ordering system with WordPress.