The digital transformation does not stop at any industry. The hospitality industry in particular is currently in the midst of a phase that is making ever greater use of the possibilities offered by digital networking. Of course, not every restaurateur can use all the trends and possibilities offered – but a good website is in any case the basis and the indispensable, communicative foundation on which can be built step by step.
With this in mind, I’ve been talking to restaurateurs more frequently in recent weeks about concepts for websites that can be implemented quickly and inexpensively, occasionally putting together an overview of current and technically mature WordPress themes. Reason enough to make this overview now collected here publicly. It should be noted, however, that while an off-the-shelf template offers many options for customization and individualization – the silver bullet is usually the development of a custom site, matching the corporate design and overall direction, as well as the restaurant’s target audience.
There are a few minimal requirements that must be met in any case by a contemporary website for restaurants:
Responsiveness/optimization for mobile devices
- Website is also displayed appropriately on cell phones and tablets
- short loading times for mobile access
- direct access to the address, preferably linked to Google Maps
- Telephone number linked, so a call can be made directly by clicking on it
Important information at a glance
- Opening hours
- Overview of the current menu on the website, not as a PDF
- Insight into the wine and beverage list
- The minimum requirement is a contact form through which the guest can leave his reservation request
- Of course, it is even better to be able to directly display the availability of seats. Usually, external systems such as Open Table & Co are integrated for this purpose.
- There is no way around a basic set with some, selected images. These can be typical dishes or signature dishes, atmospheric photos of the restaurant and/or the team. Ideally staged and recorded by a professional
In addition, there is a whole range of desirable features and functions that do not fit every project: Subscription to the regular newsletter, overview of future events, a blog with background information, recipes and of course, if available, the reference to the social media activities of the restaurant.
The wordpress templates in the following list offer all these basic features. In addition, I have placed particular emphasis on ease of editing in my selection and have chosen templates that meet current standards and requirements as far as possible, both visually and technically. I deliberately did not include templates that were too colorful, too playful, or had superfluous animations and effects on my shortlist.
In general, it can be observed that the trend to use large-format images as a lead is now also slightly declining again in restaurant templates and is partly being replaced by simpler, clearer concepts. On the other hand, nothing conveys the atmosphere and style of a restaurant more and more directly than a good picture. Thus, of course, these approaches still retain their relevance, but make correspondingly high demands on the available image material.
Eatery is a simple and uncluttered theme, thanks to large background and lead images it transports the so necessary emotionality. A variety of templates for designing menus and menus are integrated, as well as an option for reservations (through an HTML form) and the ability to include events and blogposts. Colors and logos are easily interchangeable, allowing rapid customization with minimal effort.
Triven is also offers a relatively reduced structure. All relevant information can be found at a glance on the clearly arranged start page. Menus and menu can optionally be provided with images. Reservations are mapped via an email form. A newsletter (via Mailchimp) is directly integrated.
Extremely simple, compact – and at the same time very effective is the relatively new theme Padre. It looks made for the cool barista, a young restaurant or hip burger joints. The design is very intuitively adaptable and offers exciting features, such as direct integration of your own Instagram feed and a beautiful blog layout.
In its basic configuration, the Dining Restaurant WordPress theme seems a bit cluttered at first. However, many of the modules on the home page can be easily hidden. It offers its own integrated reservation system that can be managed through the WordPress backend. Images can be included in different formats and there are also several design options for menus.
Hungry is typographically very strong, but also requires many good, large-format images to be shown off to their best advantage. With the right material and selected, good texts, it is very easy and relatively uncomplicated to create a good and modern presence on the web with this template. Unfortunately, the menu layout requires photos of each dish, which could be a knockout criterion for many restaurants for manageability reasons.
Very simple, very clear – yet Smartfood offers just the right balance between information and emotionality. Due to the compact design, the loading times are also very balanced. The theme is excellently optimized for mobile devices and can be customized easily and very quickly. Menus and reservations are also provided and well solved.
The Spot is a very compact template, strongly focused and optimized for mobile use. However, this also makes it very quick to customize and adapt for compact restaurant websites. An intelligent reservation form helps to receive and manage requests in a structured way.
Another very simple template, which puts large-format images (even videos if desired) in the foreground and with a clear navigation structure quickly leads to the content you are looking for. The menu can be configured in different ways, reservations are received via an HTML form. However, you should deactivate the available animation effects.
Dalton relies heavily on imagery and parallax effects. Again, less is more, so when setting up your own site, you should definitely have the courage to throw many of the features overboard and focus on the essential content. In principle, however, this can also be realized with this theme. Thanks to the many features, with a great flexibility and individuality.
Gusteau positions itself as a particularly elegant theme for restaurants. However, in order to live up to this claim, one should consider a somewhat stronger revision of the start page. Then, however, very well structured websites can indeed be created on this basis. Various menus are available as well as a calendar of events, for which tickets can optionally even be sold directly via the website.
Lemon Chili is ideal for restaurateurs who have lots of new updates, events or specials to share on a regular basis. Because it is precisely around these content elements that the home page centers. Menus are very easy to read and manage online. However, reservations are only accepted via a simple email form.
Very much determined by large images is the look of Liesel. However, in conjunction with a well-solved typography, it is very easy to build on this and develop a compact page. Four different templates are available for the display of menus. For online reservations, a module from Open Table is already pre-installed.
The WordPress template Resca offers two variants for the integration of reservations: Both the way via Open Table is possible, as well as the integration of an own reservation form. Menus can be easily edited (and also displayed without images). Overall, the layout is very uncluttered but still offers enough space for strong personalization and lots of large and emotional images.
The template Charlotte seems to be made for telling more extensive stories behind the facades of a restaurant or café. In a very elegant way, different contents are seamlessly mixed here. The menu combines with blogposts about the current dishes, and the homepage picks up current offers, texts and images. With a good content concept, this template offers a variety of options for culinary storytelling.
The structure of Lambert is much more traditional. Many pictures, partly parallax (i.e. animated) as well as integrated into the background require a corresponding pool of good material. However, if this is available, this theme offers the ideal framework for a somewhat more elaborate and in terms of loading times, somewhat more complex gastronomy site.
With Vela, too, the art of implementation lies primarily in leaving out one or two features, otherwise the pages tend to become too crowded and a bit too bustling. On a positive note, there are two different options for reservation forms (open table and email), as well as very tidy menus and menus.
Lambda can be used to develop websites that want to showcase not only the products and dishes, but also the protagonists in the kitchen. Basically, I would recommend turning off the animations that come with this template altogether. But then it is easy to achieve respectable results. Assuming the right images. Menus and a reservation form are also part of the basic equipment here.
Ideal for compact one-pagers that need to stand out a bit from the crowd. A clearly structured page layout and generously implemented images speak for this theme. As well as a very well solved form for online reservation.
At first glance, this template for WordPress also looks a bit cluttered. In detail, however, many modules are very well solved and allow a coherent combination and, above all, a well-structured design.
The Capella theme is very powerful, so it makes high demands on the available photo material. However, with the right assets and slight adjustments to the colors and typo, good results should be achievable with this as well.
The display of the current menu and the integrated blog are particularly well done at Colette. The home page requires a bit more customization, especially when it comes to compiling colors and content. Reservations can be made via an e-mail form.
Although Kataleya’s home page also looks a bit cluttered, you can certainly work well with the base. However, colors and fonts should be changed significantly. Another positive feature is the well-organized table of opening hours.
The Nuvo template looks a bit outdated, at least at first glance. However, there have been many updates in the past, so the technical basis seems very mature. With a sufficient degree of customization, even very extensive and detailed websites can be created on this basis.
Pluto seems particularly easy to edit and maintain. At the same time, it creates a somewhat less valuable impression. It feels like this theme is more suitable for somewhat cheaper establishments – but that doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. Of course, it would be better to omit the ratings of the dishes on the menu and to make some radical reductions in the structure overall with the thick red pencil here as well.
Pink is almost the classic when it comes to slightly more contemporary wordpress themes for the hospitality industry. In fact, you can already see websites created based on this template more often. With the appropriate image material, however, it is also easy to achieve good results and your own style. Open Table is already integrated.
With Sanabel, the somewhat jerky scrolling behavior bothers me a bit, here one would have to check in the implementation whether this problem can be fixed. On the other hand, the template is ideal for compact one-pagers without too much content. Accordingly, a small website can be created quickly. If desired, a button for open table reservation is directly integrated.
Nosh stands out especially for the numerous customization options of the start page as well as a very well solved overview for events. Countless additional modules allow own recipe databases, detailed team presentations, the history of the restaurant or the presentation of menus in different variations. With a little more effort in setup and customizations, this template offers many possibilities for restaurateurs who can, want – or need – to display a lot of content.
With Barnelli, it’s the numerous templates for very different content pages that make up the template’s flexibility. It also brings three different styles, each specifically designed for bakeries, Italian restaurants or sushi bars.
Although the customization effort for this template is very high and the demand for good visuals is also immense, you can already see this template more often in the wild. With the right customizing, very individual websites can indeed be created. Reservations are possible via Open Table and a contact form.