The Shrewsbury Food website launched in 2011 as findmyfood.
The idea behind findmyfood was to provide a menu for every restaurant in Shrewsbury. After discussing the feasibility, we decided to scale back the idea. It would have been time-consuming to first collect every menu. Over time, the accuracy would suffer due to the transient nature of menus.
The website developed into a directory of Shrewsbury restaurants, cafes and bars. The focus shifted to editorial content. The editorial side of findmyfood covered restaurant news and announcements. The content developed and included recipes and long-form restaurant reviews.
We wanted to grow the website into a lively community destination. Local business listings, reviews and content for food lovers. Monetisation would come later once the website had an audience. Promoted listings, the sale of adverts and articles to cover local business promotions.
It felt wrong promoting directory listings based on payment. We dropped this idea early on to focus on sponsored content.
The larger businesses in Shrewsbury had success with their existing advertising. The chains had national advertising backing. We found little success selling advertising to smaller independent businesses.
Business owners were happy to speak with us, photograph and write up a free directory listing. But they were sceptical when it came to our sales pitch. The website was unable to secure the support and backing to continue its development.
Shrewsbury Food now exists as a directory to promote local independents.