Using WordPress to build a restaurant directory website is easy with Business Directory Plugin. With the right planning and marketing strategy, your site can offer both paid and free listings, custom fields, and custom information on local restaurants, giving them an edge over their local competition.
Before we get started, we want to address one common concern. There's no need for a listings theme or a directory WordPress theme when you use our directory solution! If you use your own visual composer or have a child theme installed, our plugin will still work great.
In this post, we'll show you why our plugin has all the features you need to build a WordPress restaurant directory, featuring image sliders, paid listings, google maps, advanced search, and more.
In fact, our plugin can do more than just restaurants. It can create directory websites of any kind: real estate, membership sites, local, national - any kind of business listing site.
So with all that out of the way, let's learn how to create a restaurant directory using Business Directory Plugin.
Planning your WordPress restaurant directory
As in life in general, failing to plan is like planning to fail. Thoughtful planning is often the key to success with a restaurant directory site. The following are great questions to think about when looking for an easy to customize restaurant directory.
What type of information should you collect from your restaurants? Think of your favorite restaurant. Why is it your favorite? What sets their restaurant apart from other restaurants?
Collecting detailed information for the restaurant description for the listing in your directory is essential to carving out a unique listing that gets read by users of your directory.
What is your strategy for the types of restaurants to be listed on your site? Do you want all food types on your site, or do you want to specialize in listing one specific type of restaurant (pizza directory, anyone?)? Do you want to focus on 5-star restaurants, or do you want to include fast food, carry-out, and food delivery information in your directory?
Structuring your restaurant directory
The best way to organize your restaurant directory would be to think about what you know and like. What makes the most sense to you in terms of the categories of restaurants that will be in your WordPress restaurant directory?
Business Directory Plugin luckily comes with Enhanced Categories that will help you make a spectacular presentation of the categories you choose for your restaurant directory, whether that’s by type of food, or price range, or part of town.
Whatever you decide for the types of restaurants for your directory, Business Directory Plugin offers the Enhanced Categories Module, which will really help you take your listings to the next level of professionalism. With the ability to add images to categories and resize them to fit the look and feel of your website, Business Directory Plugin can help you create a polished look for your restaurant directory.
Creating relevant fields for a restaurant directory
Business Directory Plugin for WordPress offers a lot of ways to customize your fields so that your restaurant directory listings contain different information from other types of directory listings.
This is important if you have a directory website that is either a listing of all local businesses or if you just want customizable fields so that you can have the exact information you want in your listings.
And of course, you want to tailor things to your audience so that they want to add listings to your site!
Obviously, you want to think of all the relevant types of information people may want to know about a restaurant:
- Is it child-friendly
- Bar atmosphere?
- Do they offer food delivery?
- Pick-up? Take-out? All? None?
You can add these field customizations to your restaurant directory at any time.
For some of the fields you choose, you may want to provide more details when a restaurant owner submits a directory listing, so that they understand the purpose of the field. However, when the listing is displayed, you may want to hide those directions, as it would be confusing for directory users to see those.
Great news: the Business Directory Plugin allows you to do all this!
Here is one example of giving directions to your users when submitting their restaurant to your directory:
And here is how that renders on the front-end of your site (you can even hide the field label if you’d like!):
Customizing your WordPress restaurant directory
Let’s take a look at some of the customization options that the Business Directory Plugin gives you.
In the screenshot above, you can see that you have the following options in your restaurant directory:
- Change the field order: You can move the field up and down in the field order. For example, should prices come before or after the type of cuisine? You can drag and drop all of the fields to change their order and customize your listing display.
- Change the name of the field: You can make subtle changes in the directory field name, like from Prices to Pricing, or dramatic changes, like from Prices to Budget.
- Make field optional or required: You can also make the input of the field required if you want all listings to have it, or you can make it optional. This is an important editorial decision to make early on when planning your restaurant directory.
- Decide where to display the field: Business Directory Plugin also allows you to choose where you want the field to display. Do you want it to display in the search results? Or do you want it to display in the listing only? The goal is to have enough relevant information in the search results, but also enough information to entice directory users to view the listings.
Offering listing sort options to directory users
Sorting your listings – there is virtually no easy way to order a list of restaurants for your restaurant directory audience, so the key here is flexibility. What you like or what is important to you in choosing a restaurant may not be important to me, and vice versa.
This ability to sort your restaurant listings goes back to the initial questions of what type of information do you need to get from your site. If you want users to easily see restaurants that provide food delivery, you must know that information and it must be accurate.
Perhaps you want your website users to be able to quickly find restaurants that offer both outdoor seating and reservations, in a specific ZIP code? You’ll need a directory solution for your WordPress site that includes the ability to give you complete customization options.
With BD’s highly customizable form fields, there is no limit to the number of custom fields and questions you can ask to generate unique content in your business directory.
You can create fields for anything you would like – whether that’s the time of day (breakfast? lunch? dinner?) or whether reservations are required. What sets the restaurants apart in your location?
Going mobile with your restaurant directory
How many times have you been in a new town, perhaps driving in from the airport, and wanting to find a good restaurant? How did you find it? I’d bet you didn’t call information! Chances are good that you used your mobile phone to find the restaurant of your choice.
On any website that’s locally focused, being versatile enough to be easily viewed via mobile devices is crucial. Business Directory Plugin offers exceptional mobile options for your restaurant directory. All features of the desktop version of your directory are available via mobile if your WordPress theme is mobile-friendly.
Selling the benefits of a directory listing for restaurants
There are many big directories on the internet today, but none can give the local flair that you can give to a WordPress site built with your local audience in mind. Directories are helpful when they are super local, giving site visitors a feeling of having the “inside scoop” on the local restaurant scene. Plus, it’s great for your local restaurants.
Convincing local restaurant owners to be a part of your directory should be pretty easy. After all, if they aren’t listed in your directory, they may as well not exist to that person! Additionally, people enjoy reading reviews of restaurants, and in fact, reviews have “become an expected and influential part of the purchase journey.”
Research also has recently shown that “an extra half‐star rating causes restaurants to sell out 19 percentage points (49%) more frequently, with larger impacts when alternate information is more scarce.”
Those are some pretty powerful numbers to share with your potential clients! What are you waiting for? Get started building your WordPress Restaurant Directory today.