Lifetime dream turned tea room into thriving restaurant

PUBLISHED: 08:58 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:58 17 July 2018

Andy and Annette Witheridge of The Salty Monk with their Sid Valley Business award. Ref shs 28 18TI 7660. Picture: Terry Ife

Andy and Annette Witheridge of The Salty Monk with their Sid Valley Business award. Ref shs 28 18TI 7660. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

What’s the history of your business and what does it do?

Andy and Annette Witheridge of The Salty Monk with their Sid Valley Business award. Ref shs 28 18TI 7660. Picture: Terry IfeAndy and Annette Witheridge of The Salty Monk with their Sid Valley Business award. Ref shs 28 18TI 7660. Picture: Terry Ife

“The Salty Monk was the pinnacle of a lifetime’s ambition from starting work in the industry at 16 years old.

“We started the business from a dilapidated tea room barely trading and have built it into a restaurant with rooms with fitness studio and spa.”

What inspired you to start it?

“We loved the area and had been franchising a restaurant from a hotel in Venn Ottery that was closing; with nothing on the market we decided to approach several local businesses to see 
if they would consider selling to us.

“The Salty Monk was going onto the market the following spring but they bought the date forward for a keen buyer.

“The rest as they say is history and we have been here now for 18-and-a-half-years.”

How did it feel to win your award?

“We were delighted to win this award, we use awards systems as a way of bench marking our business, it helps with team morale and training.

“We have dedicated ourselves to maintaining a high standard and have been lucky to have 
won both national and local awards consistently for 15 
years.”

What advice do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business in Sidmouth?

“Sidmouth is a fantastic place to live it has a vibe that tourists come back for time and time again.

“Its location is a strong point, local people expect high quality and an ‘old fashioned friendly service’.

“Careful planning might be boring but is essential for success, time taken early on will reap benefits later.

“Over recent years, we have faced huge changes within the industry to ensure the restaurant’s success. We have invested in training and development as part of a local school’s GCSE programme.

“We are passionate about educating the next generation of chefs but also believe that 
forging strong links with the local community is the best way to survive in the current climate.”

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

“We would like to thank all our customers and especially those who have supported us all the way through – we wouldn’t be here without you.

“We are thankful to have great local suppliers, low food miles and fantastic produce and are passionate about helping and supporting local businesses and artists – it’s a major part of our ethos.

“Are we unique? Not totally but we are different and we like it that way.”

The judges said...

“Andy and Annette have been offering high quality food at the Salty Monk since they took over in 1999, as you would expect 
from a restaurant that has won countless accolades and awards.

“The most impressive thing is that they don’t rest on their laurels but continually strive to improve and innovate.

“The rooms upstairs are as lovely as the food. Andy and Annette are very involved in supporting local businesses and training youngsters for their industry.”

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