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Nov 14th Webinar: Website Planning for Restaurants, Food, and Farms

October 15, 2018

For many customers, a business' website is what makes the first impression - something particularly true for businesses that draw customers from beyond their local area. This webinar with Flavor Plate co-founder Holly Machanic will help you think through the impression your website makes.  


Website planning for restaurants, food, and farms

Recorded: Wednesday, Nov 14, 12:00 - 1:00 pm


A good website is vital to any business, and that is especially true of websites for restaurants and farms that cater to the public. For many people, your website is the first place they'll go to find out when you're open, products you offer, and what kind of environment you offer. Holly Machanic of Flavor Plate, a website company that caters to restaurants. She'll share her thoughts on best practices and other ways to communicate what you offer to the public through your website.
We'll cover:
  • The importance of visuals
  • How to set yourself apart 
  • Content planning
  • Design
  • Important elements unique to restaurants
  • Working with a developer 


This webinar was recorded on Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018, 12 - 1 pm


 Here are some additional notes and resources on the topic.

Website planning for restaurants, food, and farms

Holly Machanic is the co-founder of Flavor PlateAs a former front-of-the-house extraordinaire, specialty food retail manager, web hosting support specialist, and design and marketing account manager. Flavor Plate is a website company that caters to restaurants and their software is similar to Squarespace but is a smaller, subscription-based platform, website hosting, focused on restaurants and other food-related industries. Flavor Plate identified a need in the restaurant industry in 2011. They wanted to make the web - accessible, affordable, easy to use and tailored for the food industry.

If you are a VFN Partner Member, you can take advantage of a special offer on website pricing - login to your member account for details (forgot how to login? Email to reset your password). 


Website Best Practices


There is so much competition on the internet, the following list will leave you in good standing with search engines and visitors.

  • Use Original content: Stock images won’t provide an authentic experience or view of your business. 

  • Optimize your your site for speed (Fast Load time):   Make sure your photography is optimized and has smaller file sizes. This can reduce people immediatelyleaving your site while waiting for it to load.your bounce rate

  • Is your site ADA compliant?: Is it easy to read and to use?

  • Mobile responsive - The rise of the mobile phone makes this a necessity.

  • Secure server (SSL) - Security is of the utmost importance. You wouldn’t want your site to get hacked or your data stolen.

The bottom line is that Google wants everyone to have the best browsing experience and has written algorithms to reward good sites. If you currently have a website and are wondering if it is time for an update...


  • Content planning: Research competitors or other local businesses to see what they’re doing well, what you don’t like.

  • Authenticity is the key. If your website doesn't accurately reflect your restaurant or food business brand, there will be a disconnect with visitors and customers. 

  • Gather content: photography doesn’t have to be professional, but if you have any budget, it’s good to splurge on professional photography to provide a good sense of the place, the food, human aspect.  Check out our webinar on professional photography.

  • Tell a story, create a scene, make a connection to the experience and place. Bring life to your website through both its written and visual content.

  • Your website is ALIVE - Make sure your website includes current info, menu, up-to-date bios and social media links that work. Don’t just build a website and leave it there. Update your content and offer new information.

  • Update your visual content for the season.

Do you need a custom site or a turnkey site? Or are you going to build your own?


Custom sites cost a lot more (thousands of dollars more) vs. turnkey/ templated designs that can be adapted to fit your needs. Professional web design companies often can offer you either option. It really comes down to what your needs are.

If you want to build your own site, there are a number of website builders out there. Here’s an article which illustrates some of the options. The 5 Best Website Builders for Entrepreneurs -- and Which Ones to Use, and When.

Questions to ask yourself:


Site Management: Does more than one person in my organization know how to update the site?

If I were to look at my website from a customer’s point of view, what kind of story does it tell?

  1. Is it usable?

  2. How does it look? Is it visually appealing? Does it reflect our business and environment?

  3. Is there a way for a customer or visitor to connect with us? (Make a purchase or reservation, buy a gift card, join the mailing list, inquire about a group event)

  4. Does my website offer the information that people need?

You can find recordings and notes from our past webinars in the "Webinar Resources" category of this blog. These webinars are free for everyone, but we sure don't mind if folks become VFN Members to help support this and other programming designed to strengthen our local food businesses.



Thank you to Flavor Plate for donating their time and effort to the design and co-development of our website.