Theme Force targets restaurants with WordPress


Theme Force for restaurants

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Noel Tock, the creator of Theme Force. Theme Force has a singular focus – websites for restaurants. Noel and his development partners, Tom and Joe of Humanmade, are targeting restaurants across the globe with fully hosted, WordPress based, website solutions.

Theme Force has been selling WordPress themes for restaurants since mid 2010. However, the end goal for Tock is “to sell an end-to-end solution where a customer can log in and manage everything from there.” Thus, the end goal is not  building products for WordPress, but building a web application on top of it.

Theme Force doesn’t consider other WordPress theme shops as competition, but rather other non-WordPress based restaurant website providers like Culini and Let’sEat. They have created a framework for their themes so end users can manage theme options, event management, and menu management.

Menus and Events utilize custom post types to help users easily accomplish previously difficult (PDF anybody?) features for restaurant websites. Theme Force also has features to integrate easily with popular social media sites like Yelp and Foursquare.

Starting July 1st, Theme Force’s fully hosted version will be available for $49 per month. Furthermore, Tock shared with me that they were transitioning from a split-GPL license to 100% GPL. He said the philosophy fit with his practice of writing WordPress tutorials and releasing free themes, whereas Humanmade have been contributing their share to the open source community through a series of github repositories (including WP Remote and WP Thumb).

If you’d like to view a video runthrough of the Theme Force backend and their newest theme, Fineforce, take a peak after the jump. I’d also love to hear what you think about their plan, which is certainly a bit out of the current mold of WordPress business models.

11 thoughts on “Theme Force targets restaurants with WordPress

  1. Thanks for the article Brian! Just to expand on some of the things you’ve said, our goal is really to sell to end-users (restaurant owners) and not web developers/designers (not that we have anything against our own kind, we just feel it’s the more profitable model 🙂 ). WordPress as a result, is a means to an end and not the final ‘business scope’ in terms of audience / customers. As a result, we’re also continuously trying to market ourselves differently, i.e. by creating “ready-made websites” and not “WordPress themes” so that our products are ultimately more accessible (even though we’re all using the same software here). I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to work together with Tom, Joe & Matt from Humanmade, who also happen to be awesome guys and very talented. I’ll keep you posted on our experiences & thanks again for mentioning us, it’s well appreciated.

  2. The hosted service sounds like a great solution since of course not every restaurant owner will be willing to deal with the technical parts of installing and maintaining a WP install. I’ve enjoyed looking at your themes. Great set of features.

  3. I think this is a great niche, there are many restaurants that don’t even have a website and many of those who have websites their menu is never updated and the prices are old. With WordPress site, updating menus, giving promotions and changing prices should be super easy. Its 2011 no more excuses for any restaurant not to have professional website, Best of luck

  4. I hope you have an option for them to upload their pdf menu. {kidding}

    Turn-key solutions like this are great and hopefully a good business model. Best of luck with it!

  5. Hi Noel,

    I like your business model. In fact, I think there are still many sectors that WordPress developers can focus on to produce turn-key complete solutions and not just a theme (nothing against themes though, those solutions are build on top WP themes anyways)

    What was your biggest challenge when dealing with restaurant owners while bringing’em in to the world of WordPress?

    All the best 🙂

  6. Hi Brian,

    Great article. I’ve been making restaurant sites in WordPress for a few years now and I’ve always had a hard time with creating menus, regardless of the theme that’s being used. I started using this plugin along with premium themes for the best results:

    It allows for unlimited menus, menu categories and menu items for $10. It can conform to your own CSS or you can customize the CSS file.

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