EatsWP Brings Virtual Restaurant Menus to the WordPress Block Editor – WordPress Tavern
Yesterday Jack Kitterhing launched EatsWP, his new WordPress plugin for restaurants. It is a menu creation system that works in the block editor. It also has a built-in QR code function to work with customers’ phones.
Kitterhing is the product manager at LearnDash. He is also the founder of Immerseus, a shop that creates plugins for the learning management system. With the establishment of EatsWP, he is now expanding his reach. He outsourced the development work to a private freelancer with whom he works regularly.
“Besides that, I’m only on this project,” said Kitterhing. “In my other business, I have five full-time employees, and if necessary, one of them could be brought in to assist. We, me and my friend, got this idea to the market in less than a month. I am very happy that Christmas was also in the middle. “
Kitterhing decided to create this plugin based on what he saw with little restaurant owners he knew. Some of the issues these single location restaurants face relate to their physical menus.
“It is expensive to update or make changes because it requires a completely new edition,” he said. “With a digital menu, they can update and create a new QR code print within minutes. Combine that with the current world situation. It is also not very healthy for everyone to touch physical menus. So digital menus made more sense than ever before. “
How the plugin works
Editing an EatsWP menu item in the block editor.
At the moment, EatsWP is a simple affair. The plugin does not offer hundreds of options or all of the features imaginable for a menu type plugin. It’s a 1.0. However, they do quite well for the features it offers. Kitterhing has got off to a good start. He laid a foundation and the only way from here is up.
Where the plugin tends to glow is in its main features, namely in its arrangement of blocks. Users start by adding the Eats Menu block. From there you have a choice of inner blocks to place in the menu:
- Article with picture
- Article with picture and addons
- Article without picture
- Article without picture and addons
- Food section heading
In reality, most of the blocks are just pre-determined sets of existing WordPress core blocks. They offer structure and many color options. In addition, end users can click a button to add a “New” or “Popular” tag to their menu items. It’s a nice touch.
The color options offer some customizability. In the long run, users will likely want more customization options. However, it may be advisable for the plugin author to follow the example of the kernel here and implement such options as soon as they are available in the block editor API.
The only missing feature that should be available now is support for wide and full alignments. Kitterhing assured me that this would land in the first quarter of this year.
In addition to the plugin blocks, EatsWP enables end users to generate a QR code for the page their restaurant’s menu is on. When a customer scans the QR code with their phone, the page opens.
“Generating QR codes is easier than most people expect,” said Kitterhing. “We use a well-known library to generate QR codes. You then simply select the page your menu is on, generate the QR code, print it out or display it on your website, and you’re good to go. “
The future of EatsWP
On the EatsWP website, Kitterhing writes that “delicious desserts” are coming soon. This includes WooCommerce integration, recipes, and other secret features. The integration with WooCommerce could open up a new way for restaurant owners to explore them as part of their checkout process.
“I hope WooCommerce support will happen in the first quarter of this year,” said Kitterhing. “As you can imagine, technically it is somewhat difficult to integrate this in a user-friendly way. The aim is to actually carry out all connections and product creation via the block editor interface. So, someone wouldn’t have to go to WooCommerce to discontinue a product and come back as it is quite tedious. I look forward to showing everyone! “
It will be interesting to see how this integration develops over the coming months. Menus are a solid place to start, but in a world where more and more people are ordering online, a payment option is required. This is especially true in the Covid era, where contactless payment methods are becoming the norm for takeout. Restaurants need simple solutions that they don’t hack together from multiple, non-integrated sources.
“The goal within the next 12 months is to transform EatsWP into everything a restaurant needs to provide a minimal customer experience,” said Kitterhing. “A lot of restaurants don’t have websites either, so I’m looking into a SaaS option where I would host the menu / website for the restaurant.”