Canapé: An Elegant Free Restaurant Theme for WordPress

There is nothing worse than visiting a restaurant website and having to download a PDF in order to view the menu, especially when browsing on mobile. This is one of the most clunky, inconvenient experiences on the web. Unfortunately, when visitors encounter a PDF menu, it’s often because restaurant owners don’t have websites that are easy to update. Instead they opt for updating a PDF document that can be swapped out whenever necessary.

With the right theme, a WordPress-powered restaurant site can provide a more seamless experience while also making it easy for restaurant staff to update the menu.

Canapé is a new theme that features support for menu creation, featured menu items, and testimonials – all in one elegant, responsive design. Even though it was just released in May, the theme is already installed on more than 800 websites.

canape-home

The homepage design is created by assigning a static page. The title, body text, and featured image of the page correspond to the full-width header and featured content box on the homepage. Images for the featured menu items section can be easily assigned via the customizer along with testimonials.

Canapé includes support for six optional widget areas in the main sidebar (in blog view and on pages), front page, and footer. The theme also offers an OpenTable widget for online reservations.

Canape-menu Jetpack’s custom content types module powers both the testimonials and the menu functionality. Building a menu is then as easy as adding individual items and menu sections. There is also a screen under Food Menus that allows users to bulk add menu items quickly and assign them to a section.

The blog template is often an afterthought in many niche WordPress themes, but Canapé’s blog design is simple, tasteful, and fits in with the rest of the site.

Check out the live demo on WordPress.com to see the theme in action. Resizing the screen shows how nicely the design responds to smaller screens and mobile devices.

All you need is a logo and a few beautiful photographs of featured dishes to customize this theme for your restaurant. Self-hosted WordPress users can download Canapé from WordPress.org or via your site’s admin themes browser.

3 Comments


  1. I’m glad to see that someone has taken on the challenge of providing a restaurant menu system inside a theme, however, it’s always difficult for a theme developer to take into consideration the nuances of all restaurant menu systems.

    My company has some experience in developing websites for restaurants. We’ve only done a few, but as part of the product development effort, I investigated all the available restaurant menu plugins for WordPress and couldn’t find one that was suitable for my client. A recently got a call from another restaurant and they had a menu structure that had a few areas no restaurant menu system I have researched can handle, without custom development.

    The fact is, while it seems that all restaurants follow a general format, menus can be so complex and so convoluted, that it’s almost impossible to handle every use case.

    And, while it’s great this theme probably sets a custom content type to handle the system, if you leave the theme, then you leave the data, as well.

    I ended up using Open Menu, which has a WordPress plugin. Open Menu’s system is so advanced, that I was able to do things like add weight of items in ounces (like a recipe) or add variable pricing for sizes, when there were more than three sizes.

    For me, Open Menu provides one of the most robust menu systems available and it works with a WordPress plugin pulling data into the page, making it SEO-friendly.

    While I applaud the effort to create this theme, I would urge anyone building a restaurant website to make sure that plan the website from the menu out. Not the website in. You have to really know how your menu is going to be structured before you decide on a theme with a menu system that may handle some uses cases, but certainly not all. Open Menu can support most use cases, because it’s a menu system that can plugin to WordPress and not the other way around.

    Do your homework before you dive in, because if you don’t, you’ll get stuck and burn hours. Then you’ll go back to your client with your tail between your legs, because you didn’t think through the application of any theme or plugin to the menu system. It’s absolutely critical you understand your client’s menu and all that it entails, before you do anything else!

    If you have the budget and the heart, you can certainly create an awesome custom menu system using Advanced Custom Fields, like we did for http://posanarestaurant.com. Even then, there are issues when the business owner needs to change categories and possibly break the template, because of the character length or doubling up on categories for wines. For example, we had American Wine. Now we have American Red, American White, and you have to sub categorize them for region, a s well. How to link to categories and anchor-link to subcategories can be very challenging.

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    1. Hi Tony,
      Thanks for sharing your experience! You said that you’ve already made a deep investigation of all available WordPress restaurant menu plugins and chose Open menu, but we would also highly appreciate your assistance if you could take a look at free MotoPress Restaurant Menu plugin for WordPress that we recently developed: https://wordpress.org/plugins/mp-restaurant-menu/ – it’s an ultimate solution for building unlimited menus with full eCommerce support.
      If you have a minute to check it, would be happy to receive your expert feedback and recommendations.

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