Our story

Established in 2004, the Real Eating Company is an independent café & coffee business. Shaped by the people who own and work for us. To us, being small and independently-owned means doing the right things for our customers, staff and suppliers – not shareholders or a share price.  We believe satisfied customers lead to a sustainable, profitable company. Our energy and entrepreneurial spirit has created the business that is working today in your community. Creating jobs for local people, sustaining local producers and bringing great food and drink to our customers.

Our story

The Real Eating Company was created by Helena Hudson in January 2004. Helena moved to the South coast in 2001 with her family. She quickly spotted the potential for a high-quality British casual dining café and coffee concept in the South East.

Following a successful advertising career in London, Helena diverted her business expertise, energy and funds into creating her own business from scratch. Today, the Real Eating Company is a well-established business in the South East.

Helena Hudson
Rosebud Preserves team

Carefully sourced food & drink

We’ve built up a strong network of small producers in the South of England over the last decade. They’ve grown with us, as our business has grown. There is a wealth of small food and drink businesses who make really good stuff but often don’t have the time, resource or cash to manage a relationship with a large national chain. That’s where we come in.

We’ve always believed in using good-quality local produce wherever we can, long before it became fashionable. It’s a really important part of our DNA, part of being an independent business, and we believe it’s something that matters to our customers too. We work closely with our small producers to bring what they put so much care and attention into, to a wider audience. We hope that you enjoy it

Picture: The Rosebuds Reserve team, who make our jams.

Our Values

Being an independent and family owned business, we have a lot of freedom to make the right long-term choices on what we offer to our customers. This includes serving high-quality products from small producers, being sustainable and engaging with the local community. You can learn more about how we do this below.

Our Coffee Cups

As an independent business, we’re very much a part of our local communities. To reflect this our take away coffee cups feature sketches that are hand-drawn of each place that the Real Eating Company operates in.

The cups are 100% compostable and environmentally friendly, breaking down naturally into the environment (they don’t contain any plastic).

Our Coffee

The coffee we serve is freshly roasted to order every week by a small independent coffee roastery using 100% arabica beans and blended to the Real Eating Company’s specifications.

We are incredibly proud of the feedback that we get about our coffee, often told that it ‘the best in town’– which always makes us smile!

Plants Not Plastic

Without doubt, food and drink packaging has contributed to the plastic waste hazard in our environment and we really wanted to do something about this.

We’re really pleased to now say that all our take away packaging is 100% plant-based, sustainably made and biodegradable.