Eilidh’s foodie venture fills a gap in Lochgilphead
An experienced hospitality worker has fulfilled her dream of opening her own café.
Eilidh Thomsen has 12 years of service in the sector – from waitressing and managing hotels to gaining culinary skills to become a cook.
Last year, however, she decided to take the leap and open her own café.
With support from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, Eilidh launched Salty Dog Café in Lochgilpead, which caters for everyone and offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Eilidh said: ‘Last year I needed to make a change and give myself a challenge so I took the steps needed to open a café in August. I knew that there was a gap in the market for a café in the town and I had the confidence to believe I could make it work. After planning applications and working out costs we opened in December which was a very proud day. The local response I’ve had since then has been fantastic. My customers feel that our café is a real asset to the town and was much needed.
‘The support I had from Business Gateway was great. I had one-to-one advice and went along to workshops that helped me with my bookkeeping which ultimately gave me the confidence to do my own books.’
Salty Dog Café offers a range of homemade food, snacks and drinks that cater for various dietary needs including gluten and lactose-free. Eilidh has also turned the wall space into a gallery for her father’s paintings.
Eilidh added: ‘My first hospitality job was waitressing in a vegetarian restaurant and then I began working at the Cairnbaan Hotel. Eventually I became duty manager but I was always keen to learn new things and gain different experiences so I left and became a deputy cook in a very tourist orientated location. After 12 years in the business I amassed various skills and I knew then that I wanted my own business as I enjoyed cooking, baking and knowing people enjoyed my food.
‘I’m loving running the café and it’s been fantastic getting to know all my customers in person and on Facebook. My dad is a talented artist and showcasing his paintings on our walls was the perfect finishing touch to the café.’
Donald Melville of Business Gateway Argyll and Bute said: ‘Eilidh used our services to learn more about how to successfully set up a business. Through our advisory support and workshops, she learned vital skills that allowed her to confidently launch Salty Dog Café.’
To find out more about how Business Gateway can help you set up and develop your own business call 01546 808363 or visit www.bgateway.com/argyll-and-bute
Eilidh Thomsen in the Salty Dog Café.