How to create a restaurant directory in WordPress with a free plugin

BONUS: Add a marketplace of orderable menu items from each restaurant
geodirectory resturants directory plugin

You are a passionate foodie and want to build a side hustle to generate extra income.

You have tried many of your city’s restaurants and have a blog where you review your own restaurant experiences.

Or you are an Airbnb Host and want to build a restaurant directory to recommend the best gourmet experiences to your guests (and collect commissions for every customer referred).

You are in the right place; no matter what reason is pushing you to start a restaurant directory, we have the best restaurant directory plugin and themes for you.

This tutorial will teach you how to build a Restaurant Directory Website with WordPress from A to Z.

Or you can add a directory to your existing food blog built with WordPress. It is very easy.

While at it, I will also show you how to add a marketplace.

Where restaurant owners can sell their menu items for pick up or delivery.

You collect a commission for each item sold on your restaurant directory and decide the percentage to retain.

But first of all, let’s see what a Restaurant Directory is.

A Restaurant Listing website quick overview

Grubhub is a modern Restaurant Directory with menu items marketplace

A restaurant listing website lists restaurants in an area (it can be as small as one street or as big as the entire globe), along with basic information about them.

The most modern and profitable directories allow you to order from its restaurants’ menus for delivery or pickup. I’m talking about sites like Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Grubhub.

If you’re going to eat at a new place, you can use a restaurant listing website to research the restaurant and decide if it’s the right place.

The site will tell you about the menu, hours of operation, how many people are allowed in at once, and what the atmosphere is like.

It’ll also give you reviews from other users who have eaten there before, so you can get an idea about whether or not this is something that would be right for you.

Some of these websites also list the types of food served and whether or not they are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

Examples include Yelp, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and Zomato.

yelp one of the first giant online restaurant directory

You can also find coupons and discounts on these sites!

What are the essential features that a Restaurant directory website should have?

geo resturants directory
GeoDirectory and Elementor PRO Directory Plugin

The essential features that a restaurant directory website should have are:

  • A database of restaurants where users can search for the one they want to eat or drink at and see the location filtered by “Open Now.”
  • Reviews from other users are written by people who have been there, so you know what to expect before you go.
  • A map showing all the restaurants in one place, with pins indicating where they are located and the option to get directions.
  • It should have a user-friendly interface.
  • It should seamlessly work on all devices.
  • It should provide users with detailed information about restaurants (e.g., contact details, menu items, etc.)
  • A rating system for restaurants. With fair and unbiased rankings.
  • Photos of each restaurant’s interior and exterior so users can see what they’re getting into before they commit to going there!
  • Contact information of each restaurant so you can make reservations or ask questions if you need more info about their menu, hours of operation, etc.
  • Some advanced search filters like open now, different types of cuisine, price, take-out, and Dine-in options.
  • To engage visitors, they should be allowed to add their favorite restaurants to a list.

How to Start Building a Restaurant Directory

restaurant listing geodirectrory
Restaurant Listing GeoDirectory plugin

You know how it goes: you start with a plan to make a site that lists all of the restaurants in your city, and then you realize that there are so many challenges.

First, how do you organize all of this information?

How do you show it in an easy-to-use format?

How do you make it look good?

And even if that works perfectly, how do you get people to visit the site?

The easiest solution is to hire someone else to build your website.

But let me tell you the most exciting part, you can easily do it yourself in a short period using WordPress and Geodirectory, the best restaurant directory plugin for WordPress.

Our Directory Plugin will allow you to create the perfect restaurant directory website for your community’s needs or interests.

GeoDirectory is excellent for creating restaurant directory websites.

It allows you to easily create restaurant listings with their addresses, phone numbers, social media links, hours of operation, and customer reviews.

geodirectory restaurant listing reviews
GeoDirectory Restaurant Listing Reviews

You may accept listings submissions from restaurant owners, who will also be able to edit or delete their listings if necessary.

The plugin also has features that make it easy to add helpful information about each restaurant, like whether or not they serve gluten-free options or have outdoor seating.

And if you want even more customization options or need help getting started with the initial setup, we recommend buying a premium membership!

Prerequisites for Launching a Restaurant Directory

When you’re ready to launch your restaurant directory, there are a few things you’ll need to do first.

1. Select a Domain Name.

The first thing you must do when beginning your site is select a domain.

It is the website’s URL, so make sure it is memorable and unique.

register a domain with namecheap
Register a domain with Namecheap

You can purchase it from any domain registrar, such as GoDaddy or Namecheap.

2. Webhosting.

Next, you’ll need web hosting. 

This is where your website lives online. 

There are many different types of hosting available; selecting one that provides unlimited bandwidth and storage space is ideal.

Cloudways is optimal for GeoDirectory
Cloudways is optimal for GeoDirectory

We recommend Cloudways and its Vultr High-Frequency 1GB plan which costs only $13 per month and is an excellent choice for 99% of Local Restaurant Directories.

3. The restaurant directory plugin for WordPress: GeoDirectory and its GeoMarketplace add-on (to allow restaurant owners to sell directly)

you’ll need a directory plugin that can scale to your desired listings and handle the traffic.

GeoDirectory is the way to go.

GeoDirectory is the Best Word Restaurant Directory Plugin

GeoDirectory is suitable for all directory listing types and works perfectly fine with any page builder and WordPress theme.

This tutorial will show you how to build a Restaurant Directory Website using GeoDirectory and Elementor pro.

Suppose you prefer not to use Elementor PRO. In that case, there is an alternative: The Kadence theme, for which there’s a dedicated restaurant website demo that you can import with one click and then personalize according to your unique brand voice.

In fact., we have two ready-to-use demo Geodirectory sites for your restaurant directory that you can import and personalize afterward. You can see them here:

  1. GeoDirectory + Elementor pro
  2. GeoDirectory+ Kadence theme

You’ll probably notice that they are almost identical.

Method 1: Elementor pro + GeoDirectory

elementor restaurants directory
Restaurant Directory Built With Elementor

Once you have selected your Webhosting and have WordPress set up and ready to be used, you can install any WordPress theme, but we have selected the “Hello Theme” for this tutorial.

You can install the theme as follows; Go to Dashboard > Themes > Add New Theme > search for “Hello by Elementor,” click on install and activate.

install hello theme
Install Hello Theme By Elementor

Then install Elementor.

Install Elementor and Elementor Pro plugin

Go to: Dashboard > Add New plugin > Search Elementor > Click on install and activate.

install elementor
Install Elementor

Now go to and get the Elementor pro plugin if you don’t already own a license.

Next, upload the Elementor pro plugin to your WordPress website, as we usually upload any plugin.

Go to: Dashboard > Add New plugin > Upload the “Elementor Pro” zip folder.

upload elementor pro
Upload Elementor PRO

After installing it, activate it.

Install AyeCode plugin

The free AyeCode Connect plugin connects your website to the GeoDirectory website and allows you to import the demos.

It will let you automatically sync license keys of purchases as well as remotely install and update purchased products.

So, let’s install the AyeCode plugin.

Go to plugins > Click on Add New plugin > search “AyeCode Connect” click on install and activate.

install ayecode connect
Install AyeCode Connect

After activation, you’ll find two tabs under the AyeCode menu.

  • AyeCode
  • Import Demo Data

Now, click the connect site button to connect your website with GeoDirectory. If you already registered, log in using this site connect button.

ayecode connect menu
Connect Site

Why do you need to register?

We require registration to import a demo because some may come with premium add-ons.

Connecting your account allows verifying if you have a license for these add-ons.

If so, we will install them automatically. However, If you do not have a license, we will install the demo anyway but exclude any premium add-ons.

Import Elementor Demo for restaurant directory

Now, you can import the Restaurant directory demo created for the Elementor Pro website builder.

Go to AyeCode > Import demo Data > Elementor restaurant directory.

import elementor restaurant directory
Import Elementor Restaurant Directory

Click on View to start importing the demo.

You’ll notice some paid add-ons installed on the restaurant directory demo.

If you have already paid for a GeoDirectory membership, these add-ons will be automatically installed; otherwise, the demo will be installed without the paid-add-ons, which are not essential for this tutorial.

After clicking import, you will get a site identical to our demo. installed on your server in a matter of a couple of minutes.

The listings are dummy data that are there to help you get started.

You are ready to start customizing your restaurant directory with your logo and branding. Modifying all pertinent information and adding your actual listings.

You can add your listings one by one or in bulk via CSV file import.

Method 2: GeoDirectory + Gutenberg and the Kadence Theme

This method will work if you don’t want to install Elementor and Elementor PRO on your website.

import kadence restaurant directory
Import Kadence Restaurant Directory

You can import Gutenberg Demo that uses the Kadence theme, which is free.

Get your WordPress Webhosting

The first step is like the previous method: You’ll get Webhosting for your website. Once you have selected your Webhosting, the next step is installing WordPress. Most web hostings come with a one-click WordPress installation.

Install AyeCode connect plugin

Install the AyeCode connect plugin as we have installed it in the previous method.

Connect with the AyeCode website

After installing the AyeCode plugin, you’ll be asked to connect it with AyeCode plugin so you can import the demo.

Import the Gutenberg Demo

We’ll import the Gutenberg demo for the restaurant directory in this step.

Go to Dashboard > AyeCode > Import Demo Data > Import the Kadence restaurant directory demo.

After installing either demo, you can easily personalize the demo content per your brand’s requirements.

Now let’s explore how you can configure and customize GeoMarketplace to enable restaurant owners to sell their menu items via WooCommerce.

Monetizing the directory – How to configure GeoMarketplace and allow restaurant owners to sell Menu Items directly from their listing

product visible restaurant listing shop tab
Restaurants can Sell menu items from the listing

as previously mentioned, GeoMarketplace integrates GeoDirectory, WooCommerce, and MultiVendorX, allowing listing owners to create and sell products directly from their listings.

With GeoMarketplace, each listing becomes a shop, where the listing owner can sell their products, and the directory admin can earn a commission from each sale.

In this case, the restaurant owners can create their menu items and sell them for pick up or delivery.

Prerequisites for the Restaurants’ menu items marketplace

Install Woocommerce (free)

install woocommerce
Install Woocommerce

First, you’ll have to install WooCommerce.

Go to Plugins > Add New > Search WooCommerce > Install and Activate.

setup woocommerce
Setup WooCommerce

Configure WooCommerce according to your needs. The store details will include your industry, product types, categories, shipping, and tax details.

Install WCMarkeplace (free)

install wcmarketplace
Install MultiVendorX

WooCommerce will set up your basic store settings, but it allows only a single vendor to sell products; therefore, you’ll have to install a marketplace plugin to make your store sell with a multiple-vendor setup.

GeoMarketplace works fine with most multivendor marketplace plugins, such as Dokan, WCFM, and WCV.

Still, for this tutorial, we have selected WCMarkeplace.

Go to Plugins > Add New > Search MultiVendorX > Install and Activate.

setup MultiVendorX
set up MultiVendorX

You can set up the percentage of the site’s admin from the commission on sales. Payment distribution of vendors and allowing vendors to edit and publish their products.

Install GeoMarketplace (premium)

setup geomarketplace

The GeoMarketplace plugin is the last piece of the puzzle. It connects the three previous plugins and makes them work as one.

You will need a paid license to download and install this plugin on your server.

Suppose you have the AyeCode Connect plugin installed and your account connected to our website. In that case, you can go to GeoDirectory > Extensions and install and activate the GeoMarketplace add-on.

If you downloaded the GeoMarketplace plugin to your desktop, go to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin > in this step. After that, activate the plugin.

Now we can add the “Shop” Tab to the Restaurants listings. This is where the Menu Items will appear.

To do so, go to:

Restaurant > Settings > Tabs > Insert “Shop” tab > click save.

add shop tab
Add Shop Tab to Restaurant Listing

How can users add a listing, sign up as vendors and create menu items to sell

To allow users to signup as vendors and access the vendor’s dashboard after their vendor application is approved, you’ll have to create two links, “Vendors Registration” and “Vendors Dashboard,” and add them anywhere on your website.

add vendor registration and dashboard
Add Vendor Registration and Dashboard Links

We added them to the main navigation menu through Appearance > Menus in this example.

Now you must ensure users can register: Go to the WordPress General settings and enable the “anyone can register” option.

anyone can register WordPress

Create the Listing

the restaurant owner will go to the Add Listing page and create a listing.

In GeoDirectory > General > Show Advanced > Enable Allow posting without logging in?

GeoDirectory allow posting without login
GeoDirectory allows posting without login.

Non-logged-in users will be able to post listings from the front end.

The add listing form will also ask for an email and username, which will be used to create the user.

create user add listing
GeoDirectory “add listing” form. – Creates a user and adds a listing

After adding all restaurant’s details and submitting the form, the system will send an email to the user with a link to set their password and another email to let them know that the listing has been submitted and needs admin approval.

After approval the restaurant listings is live.

restaurant listing created
Restaurant Listing Created

Once approved, the listing owner can start creating the menu items.

But first, the restaurant owner must apply as a vendor and get the admin’s approval.

After logging in with the newly created password, the restaurant owner may proceed to the vendor dashboard and click the “Apply to become a vendor” button.

apply to become vendor
apply to become a vendor

The site owner can access the vendor application under the WCMp To-do list.

Once the site owner has approved the vendor’s application, the vendors can proceed to create their products.

admin approves vendor application
admin approves vendor application

Create an orderable menu item and list it for sale

Once the site owner has approved the vendor’s application, the vendor’s dashboard will appear differently.

To add products, the Restaurant owner (from now on, the Vendor) will proceed to Product Manager > Add product > create a new product.

GeoMarketplace create new product

The vendor will select the category where this item will be listed.

We have selected “uncategorized” for this tutorial, but you can create and select as many categories as possible. Examples could be Entrees, Main Courses, Desserts, or Beverages.

Next, product details need to be added. Things like product title, description, price, and images. If the product is downloadable or virtual, we’ll leave this last option blank as we add a physical product.

geomarketplace product details

Finally, the vendor will click the GeoDirectory tab and select the listing to link the product to.

In this case, it’s “My Restaurant”, and click on submit.

add product select listing
Add a product & Select a listing that sells that product

After the vendor submits a new product, the administrator should review and approve it. There is an option to Auto Approve to save time if needed.

The site admin will receive another task on the “To-do list.”

admin product approval
Admin Product Approval

The product finally appears under the new listing tab “shop,” and the directory visitors can buy it.

Now for every item sold, the admin will collect a commission.

product visible on listing shop tab
product visible on the listing shop tab

However, this is not the only way to monetize a directory website.

Monetizing the directory – what are my other options?

Sell Premium Listings

geodirectory featured listing on top
Featured Listings offer more visibility

if you have several listings and decent traffic, you may sell premium/featured listings offering more visibility in category pages and search results.

Other perks for premium listings? Add more pictures, one or more videos about the restaurant, a longer description, and a link to their website or social media accounts.

You could limit free listings to be contacted through the directory and allow premium listings to be contacted directly.

Premium listings could include extra services, like photography, website development, SEO (search engine optimization), social media management, and more.

You will need our premium Pricing Manager Add-on to start selling premium listings.

Paid Claim Listings

GeoDirectory Claim Listing Form
Claim Listing

Suppose you add the restaurants’ information to your directory, and restaurant owners realize you can send enough customers. In that case, they might want to improve the information you added about them on their listings.

In this case, you may offer them to claim their listings to be able to modify any pertinent data autonomously.

The claim listing process can be free, but you can also force an upgrade to claim and, in that case, charge a fee for restaurant owners to manage their listings.

To start charging for allowing business owners to claim their listings, you will need our premium Pricing Manager and Claim Listing add-ons installed.

Sell Ads

geodirectory ads on top of search results
GeoDirectory ads on top of search results

Besides selling premium listings, you may also sell advertising spaces throughout your directory website.

You may add ads on the top of the sidebar of search results. The ads can be made to look just like listings.

You can show ads on free listings but not on paid listings.

You can sell ads on your blog, home page, or, depending on your website, wherever they will get more impressions.

You will need our premium Pricing Manager and Advertising add-ons to sell ads on your business directory website.

Here ends our tutorial; creating a restaurant directory using the GeoMarketplace plugin is not difficult. Try yours now, and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section.

Obviously, with GeoDirectory you can build any kind of Directories. Check this tutorial on How to create a Directory Website with the Kadence Theme.

You can get GeoDirectory here today:


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Published by Paolo

Paolo Tajani, co-founder and marketing lead at AyeCode LTD, works alongside his business partner Stiofan to develop key WordPress plugins such as GeoDirectory, UsersWP, and GetPaid. Starting his journey with WordPress in 2008, Paolo joined forces with Stiofan O'Connor in 2011. Together, they have been instrumental in creating and marketing a range of successful themes and plugins, now actively used by over 100,000 websites.