EatsWP Review A Virtual restaurant menu plugin For WordPress

Before I begin this review of the EatsWP plugin, let me give you a little back story and why it caught my eye.

EatsWP was mentioned a while ago on Twitter, and what’s interesting about that is the process Jack Kitterhing (the plugin developer) is taking with it.

Jack's been very vocal about EatsWP
One of Jack’s tweets about EatsWP

Jack’s been very public about EatsWP, publishing his thoughts on Twitter and sharing his experiences so far; it’s a bold move and, dare I say it, brave. WordPress is awash with plugins, and launching a new one and making it successful is a tough thing to do.

So far, it appears his method is getting results and whipping up interest in this new plugin.

I reached out to Jack about me reviewing EatsWP, and he very kindly fired over a copy of his plugin. I’ve spoken to Jack in the past over the phone, I even interviewed him for the blog (you can read that here), and he’s a great guy; I’d even consider him a friend.

That said, Jack knows I can’t let that blinker my review.

What is EatsWP?

Image

EatsWP is a new WordPress restaurant menu plugin; the whole point of EatsWP is to make the creation of virtual restaurant menus easy, and safe for customers to view, especially during the current pandemic.

The plugin makes use of the block editor (Gutenberg), and with plenty of options for creating decent looking restaurant menus. EatsWP also has a QR Code feature. Generating QR codes for the easy/safe distribution of takeaway/restaurant menus.

How Much Does EatsWP Cost?

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There are three different pricing options available for EatsWP: The Core Pack license is for use on one domain (website) and comes in at $37.00.

The Agency Pack will set you back $97.00 for 25 domains, and lastly, cunningly titled “The All You Can Eat” license costs $287.00 and offers unlimited domains.

Ready To tuck into EatsWP?

Installation & Setup

Installing EatsWP
Installing EatsWP

I’m assuming you all know how to install a plugin; as EatsWP is a premium-only plugin, you’ll have to upload a ZIP file or install it via FTP.

EatsWP activation
Plugin activated

So I’ve installed it and, as you can see from the above image, activated the plugin. There’s no fancy welcome page with a host of settings for EatsWP, just a new addition to the WordPress admin sidebar.

Installation took seconds, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect once activated, some install wizard guiding you through, .etc. None of that with EatsWP.

EatsWP
No wizards here.

Intrigued at the new menu item, I clicked it to see what was on offer. Perhaps there are some settings I can change or administer?

Nothing to see here
Scant info here!

There are no settings! No convoluted hoops to jump through, no spammy advertising for other plugins.

This section deals with QR code generation; from the dropdown menu, you can select a page or post to generate a QR code for.

As this is a blank install of WordPress, I don’t have any pages, posts, or anything to choose from. I’ll come back to this later.

Creating A Restaurant Menu With EatsWP

EatsWP is explicitly designed for the block editor (or Gutenberg, as some call it). The settings reside in the block editor, so let’s look at how it all works. In this instance, I’ve used a post, not a page.

Adding an Eats Menu
Adding an Eats Menu

Adding a restaurant menu was straightforward enough; as EatsWP uses the block editor, there are options available. In the example below, using the block editor, I’ve changed the background color; now it’s time to pad out my restaurant menu.

Options for Eats Menu
Options for Eats Menu

Blocks Available In EatsWP

Nice blocks
Nice blocks

The Eats menu in the block editor has five different options:

  • Eats Section heading
  • Item with picture
  • Item with picture and addons
  • Item without picture
  • Item without pitch but with addons

Let’s take a look at each one; see what they have to offer. First up, the Eats Section heading.

Section Heading Block

Section header block
Section header block

The Section Title block does what it says on the tin. Using this block, you can break up your restaurant/takeaway menu. Give the section a title and description.

Because EatsWP uses the block editor, you can change a few things. Take a look at the example below:

Tasty
Tasty

You’ll notice I’ve made ‘treats’ in bold and changed the color of ‘Sorba’s’; I’ve also played with some of the text in the description.

*NOTE: The default header tag for section titles is an H2; there’s no option to change it, so be aware that by adding subsequent blocks, you’ll need to tinker with headers to ensure they flow correctly.

Next, let’s look at adding a menu item with a picture.

Eats menu item with picture

EatsWP image with picture block
EatsWP image with picture block

Here you can add an image of a dish, give the item a name, description, and display a price. Now, as we know, EatsWP uses the block editor.

Let’s make some changes; see what happens.

An item with a picture in EatsWP
An item with a picture in EatsWP

By default, when adding the Eats menu item with picture block, the heading tag is an H5; this isn’t set in stone, and you can change this should you need by clicking on the heading and changing it.

new popular EatsWP
new popular EatsWP

Enabling these options outputs as the image displays, it doesn’t end there though, using the block settings, you can change the text color and background color of both elements.

Unfortunately, you cannot change the text of either of these elements; It would have been cool to change the text to something else, like:

Elements within this box are also editable, change the title to a different tag, bold it, show it in italic, change the color, etc.

Eats Menu Item With Picture And Addon

EatsWP
With a picture.

The only real difference between this block and the previous one is the addition of a list. Using the block editor, you can change the list style, ordered list, or unordered list. Make the font bold, change text color, .etc.

Eats Menu Items Without Pictures

EatsWP
No pictures please.

The last two options, ‘Item without picture’ and ‘Item without picture + addons,’ do what you’d expect. I did spot a fault, not with the block themselves, but with the name of the blocks.

When adding either of the above options, the associated block in the editor sidebar states “Eats menu item with picture” which, if you have a lot of items, could cause some confusion.

Putting it all together, how does it look?

Example of EatsWP menu in action

With my limited design ability and having a play, I’m relatively pleased with the display! I’ve only got two options in this example, but I think by now you get the drift.

What about a mobile view? A hell of a lot of people like to use mobile devices to browse online, and when it comes to food, it’s even more.

See below:

Mobile view of menu.
Mobile view

Yeh, I missed the ‘of’ from my drinks section; hey, I’m only human.

Happy accidents
It’s true.

EatsWP and QR Codes

Remember the menu item I showed you earlier? Well, it’s time to put it into use.

Example of QR Code
QR Code

I’ve blurred out the QR code, as it will point you to where I tested EatsWP! Using the dropdown menu, all you have to do is choose the post or page you’d like to generate your code for.

Does it work?

EatsWP
Yes.

Yes, it works; it works well. QR cards and the food industry go hand in hand; as I mentioned earlier, a vast majority of people order food online.

QR Codes are an effective way to share your takeaway/restaurant menu, quick scan, and boom, you’re viewing the menu.

I’ve seen QR codes on restaurant windows, flyers, and a load more places when it comes to the food industry. Having this feature for your business is killer; I love the way it works.

The codes are generated and stored in your uploads folder, EatsWP creates a new folder to house them all.

All you have to do is download them and choose an appropriate size, add them to social media, printed materials, wherever you need to use them.

How big are the files? To answer that, I downloaded the biggest one, which was 600px by 600px, the file size?

3.8KB

Why Use QR Codes In A Restaurant/Takeaway?

Before Christmas, when we were allowed to go out for a brief period, my wife and I went to a Pizza place. As we dutifully sat at our table and took off our masks, a solitary menu was on the table.

I say menu; it was a rectangular card with a QR code on it, guess what? It pointed to the menu page on their website.

For hygiene reasons alone in this COVID ravaged land we call planet earth, it’s safer to use a QR code than to handle a printed menu, with god knows what bacteria are thriving on it.

Looking back on that day, I remember thinking, this is genius two reasons why:

A) Germ-free, less chance of catching COVID.
B) Cheap, how much money has the restaurant saved from not having to print out menus?

The argument here would be, what if you don’t have your phone on you? A chalkboard with the menu was in plain sight for anyone who didn’t.

For the record, the pizza was OK.

Future Plans For EatsWP

The EatsWP website lists a few features coming soon, such as WooCommerce integration, the ability to upload recipes to your site, and some top-secret features.

Right now, I think WooCommerce integration would help EatsWP massively; there’s plenty of restaurants/food outlets using the eCommerce plugin, tying this in somehow to EatsWP will pay off big time.

Remember me saying Jack’s been quite vocal and doing everything in public, especially on Twitter?

Stop tweeting!
Stop tweeting Jack FFS!

Well, he’s been on Twitter again (literally) while I’m writing this review!

EatsWP

I’ve taken the liberty of adding his tweets below, as I think they could help you as a potential buyer, and in fairness, these proposed features are mouth-watering!

Q1 Plans for EatsWP

  • Full width block support
  • ADA menu compliance (required for American restaurants legally)
  • WooCommerce integration
  • More Customization options (Fonts, margins, padding controls)
  • Ingredient controls

Q2 Plans Wow.

  • Integration with delivery partners API (Providers TBC)
  • New menu styles (Multiple columns, Gutenberg templates for menus)
  • Importable and exportable menus.

Q3 Plans, really?

  • Recipe blocks (usable by Food bloggers at this point)
  • EatsWP hosted menus (EatsWP SaaS launches)
  • Pods and ACF integations for extending supported fields

Lastly Q4

  • Booking component (Allow customers to book in restaurant dining)
  • Newsletter component (Allow restaurants to send customers the latest information)
  • Push notifications POS system (collect your order, the order is on the move, etc)

That is a shed load of features coming to EatsWP, and I mean a lot. The fact Jack’s building this in public should instil confidence.

He’s holding himself accountable, and this is one of the reasons I wanted to check out EatsWP. It’s an exciting model to be so open and honest, and as I said earlier, it does seem to be paying off.

EatsWP Review Verdict

I did want to cover the potential that EatsWP has to be even better, but then, well, Jack tweeted his roadmap. Sifting through the ideas, I expect big things from this plugin, very big things.

If I know Jack, and I think I do, he’ll pull out the stops to get the features done. EatsWP is simple and effective; if you’re looking for a way to create eye-catching menus for customers, then I’d recommend you try it out.

Positives to EatsWP

  • Easy to use.
  • No bloat or custom post types are needed.
  • Excellent use of the block editor. 
  • QR Code generation. 
  • QR Codes can help grow your business, print the code, place it in your restaurant window, flyers wherever you need. 
  • Reduce costs on printed menus.
  • The New & Popular element is a nice touch. 
  • Those familiar with the block editor should feel at home with EatsWP.
  • The roadmap is enough to whet the appetite!

Negatives to EatsWP

  • I would have loved to reposition the section title, center the title, and align left/right. 
  • Ability to change the New/Popular text. 
  • Classic Editor users look elsewhere, this is for the new block editor.
CriteriaScore (Out Of 5)
Functionality4
Ease of use5
Current Feature set4
Cost4.5
Potential/Roadmap Features5
Final Review Score4.5

I want to add, I’m going to be closely watching the progress for EatsWP and am ready to add to the review based on any new features as and when they are released.

Ben Owner of LayerWP

Written By Ben

With ten years plus working with WordPress, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a whizz with it. That said, I’m still learning just like you. If you’d like more reviews, news, tutorials, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter.

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