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Critically-acclaimed Stratford restaurant credits business support

A critically-acclaimed restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon says the business support it has received has been a key ingredient in its recipe for success. Salt has been praised in The Good Food Guide Editors’ Awards and named Best New Entry for 2017, with a cooking score of five.

The fine-dining restaurant was opened earlier this year by Paul and Rhiain Foster, after Paul left his role as Head Chef at Mallory Court Hotel. The restauranteur couple ran a successful £100,000 crowd-funding campaign to open the eatery, and also received free help and advice from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.

Based on Church Street, the restaurant specialises in serving Modern-British food in a relaxed fine-dining atmosphere to the highest standard of cooking.

Paul, who started out as a trainee chef at Henley College Coventry, has extensive experience as a chef in Michelin Star restaurants and Rhiain has a background in business, with a degree from Coventry University. The pair decided to open the restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon after identifying a gap in the fine-dining scene in the area.

Rhiain said: “We’ve been open for four months now and it’s going much better than we could have ever imagined, it was a big step and we have had a lot to learn. “There are a lot of good restaurants in Stratford, but most restaurants cater for tourists. Restaurants like ours are usually quite formal, but we’re very informal in our approach, so you can really relax and enjoy the food.

“Paul is brilliant at what he does and it’s a great location, we’re just a little bit off the beaten track which is what we wanted. “We have lots of ideas long-term, we’ve already discussed opening more restaurants and running a cooking school upstairs in the restaurant.

“You can’t learn about business in a book really, you need to talk to people who have actually done it and that’s where the Chamber were so helpful.

“We were allocated our mentor Tanya, we’d come up with ideas and she’d be saying similar things which helped us to know we were on track. Having that positive feedback and confirmation gave us the confidence to move forward.”
The pair also accessed free marketing and business planning workshops from the Chamber.

Tanya King, business coach at the Chamber, said: “It is fantastic that this early in their development Salt have been recognised in the Good Food Guide. “The restaurant is already a huge success story. Paul and Rhiain crowdfunded the venture from the start and took advantage of the free advice they were able to access from us, taking it all on board.

“I’m looking forward to following Salt’s development in the years to come and I’m sure this award is the first of many for the restaurant.”

The Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils.

For more information or to book on to the Business Support programme call the Chamber on 024 7665 4321 or log onto www.cw-chamber.co.uk.