I set up Ross on Wye Menus just over three years ago with no real plan. I’d seen another town do it, so I thought I’d give it a crack for Ross. The timing wasn’t brilliant as all restaurants were closed to diners, and it would be another couple of months before they were able to reopen.

Takeaways were fine though, so I got their menus uploaded and revealed my creation to the town. It went down really well and I could see the hours I spent scanning bashed up paper menus in and getting them online was worth it.

As I said, there was no real plan and the website was created in the space of one evening. I think in the first couple of days I only had less than 20 menus online and maintenance was easy. The way I went about doing it was long winded, old fashioned and a right faff to do for the next 30 menus that eventually appeared that summer.

But still, the website was a hit and I was pleased. It was good to see it being recommended and it was a laugh to present New Golden Horse a sticker for “most viewed menu”. However, over the coming years it was becoming harder and harder to maintain. The site was slow, the method of uploading menus was archaic, it just looked like something from the 1990s. It wasn’t great. In addition, with the cost of living crisis, restaurants were updating their menus fast with higher prices and I couldn’t keep up, coupled with the fact I wasn’t aware of their changes. All menus became out of date really fast.

So, over the course of a few months I was thinking in my head where I wanted it to go and how it was used. I published a questionnaire which helped. I started noting what was wrong with the current site and how could it be improved.

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Roll on this week and I’ve changed the way restaurant information and their menus are displayed. The entire site has been revamped and looks more modern. There is now a “popular” section on the front page, hours show live status as to whether a restaurant is open or not, customers can leave reviews and there is even a map on each listing as to where the restaurant is. Maintaining them is far easier and in time the ability for restaurant owners to login and maintain it themselves may even appear. There’s also the welcome addition of a search box, something that was missed in the old site.

Finally, I like to think the site has a new mission: to celebrate the town’s hospitality sector. I look forward to adding new restaurants onto the site, trying them out, and share their news with the rest of the community.

I’m delighted with the way it looks and I hope it makes it even easier for you to find your menu.

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