Restaurant Reservations passes 10,000 downloads

After the release of version 1.3 last week, the number of downloads of Restaurant Reservations sailed pass 10,000 downloads. I didn’t even notice for several days. I’m extremely proud of this plugin. It’s light-weight, does it’s job in the simplest way I can imagine, and is incredibly extensible for developers.

It’s everything I would want if I were searching for a plugin myself.

When Food and Drink Menu passed 10,000 downloads I wrote a little preview of my plans for the next 10,000 downloads. Let’s try it for Restaurant Reservations. At this rate, that may come pretty quickly.

rtb-10000-downloads

Big plans for extensions

Right now there’s only one extension for Restaurant Reservations — the MailChimp addon which lets you subscribe a booking email to your mailing list. But I have many more exciting ideas for extensions to the plugin. I just need to get in gear and make some progress on them.

The extensions I have planned include templates for email notifications, PDF/Excel export of bookings, Zapier integrations for improving your bookings management workflow, and even a live bookings manager with table assignment.

But the first one I’ll release will be an addon for creating and managing custom fields. I get a lot of requests for this.

Your restaurant, bar or cafe might want to collect some other piece of information that isn’t included on the booking form. Developers can quickly and easily customize the booking form using the plugin’s extensive hooks system. But regular users need a point-and-click approach.

I’ve put a ton of energy into making the process as easy and intuitive as possible. Here’s a quick preview:

cffrtb-field-lists-editor

I hope to release this extension in the next month or two. But I won’t get to all of my plans in the coming year. If you have one you’re dying for, drop me a note.

Improving the core plugin

I’m pretty happy with the features of the core plugin. Keeping it simple and straightforward means it’s easy for novices to set up. It also keeps my support load down so that I can focus on providing better support for my customers.

But I have a list of improvements I hope to make to the core plugin this year. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Sending emails from the bookings list
People often want a quick way to get in touch with someone who has made a booking request straight from the admin panel. There should be a simple way to send out an email, so you can suggest an alternative time if you’re full or get more details if you need them.

Searching bookings
It’d be nice to know if someone has booked before. Or maybe you just need to quickly find someone’s booking by their name or email address. This should be possible from the bookings table.

Email validation
This is requested a lot. I’ve hesitated to validate emails so far because there is a risk of rejecting valid emails — there’s no way to be 100% sure the email you’re rejecting isn’t valid. But I think it’s time to add support for this.

Coming soon(ish) to a WordPress site near you

I’d love to promise to get all of this done and more this year. But the truth is that there are a lot of ambitious plans here which will require time to do well. The plugin doesn’t generate as much revenue as I’d like — I’m hoping more extensions will change this.

But the plugin, and the extensions planned for it, are a big part of my business strategy for the themes I sell. If you’d like to hear about new product releases when they come, sign up for my mailing list.

And thanks for all the support so far!

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