‘Eat Unique’ is a thriving healthy Grab & Go café based in Monksland, Athlone a large town found in the midlands of Ireland. Created in 2015 by local sisters Celine Folan and Edel Larkin, along with Celine’s partner Nigel. This dynamic trio set about developing a creative and healthy food concept for the midlands which focuses on local, seasonal and quality produce. The trio have backgrounds in sport, nutrition and food which provide valuable knowledge, skills and expertise to combine with their passion in creating a unique foodie destination.
The demand for more delicious healthy food options that were both accessible and easy to eat on the go have been on the rise in their town in line with food and health awareness and trends. The team at ‘Eat Unique’ saw a growing need for fresh, nutritious and tasty meals. The busy nature of people’s lives often makes it difficult for
them to prepare their own healthy meals. Convenient options are often not the healthiest choice and their aim was to change how people think about and choose the healthier options and how better choices can be tasty and satisfying. Each morning the team prepares the food from scratch using fresh, local and seasonal produce. From their humble beginnings, on a very small budget but with big ideas, they set about creating their vision.
Their food spoke for itself and over a short period of time they saw their customer base grow with increasing demands for more produce and a wider menu. high quality service; from food sourcing, food preparation, staff training, and customer service is at the core of ‘Eat Uniques’ ethos. Customers loved the clean and simple approach that ‘Eat Unique’ have developed and over time they have seen this as their “unique” community has evolved and grew into a strong loyal following. They pride themselves on knowing their customers on a first name basis and are proud to say that many of their first customers who walked in the door at the beginning are still loyal regulars today.
They have a diverse customer base from elite athletes, working professionals, business CEO’s, busy parents, young teenage sports enthusiasts to those just beginning their journey in choosing better food options on the go.
This shows the increasing need and demand for healthier options that are both accessible and affordable.
Their ethos is to provide a friendly environment that is inclusive and accessible to everyone in the community.
Due to the rising demand for ‘Eat Unique’, they have now opened a second operation in a local Sports Centre in October 2019 and have launched the wholesale of their signature salad dressing in food shops and butchers in the Midlands.
We asked Celine how she found taking part in a Female specific entrepreneurship programme and if it helped her and this is what she had to say. ‘The support from the EMPOWER mentor team especially the ladies on the programme was invaluable. It took away my feeling of isolation that is so often felt by most of us women who are self-employed. The daily struggles of running your business while raising a young family can be challenging and knowing I was not alone on this journey really helped me”.
Celine mentioned that she benefited and found inspiration from others by “listening to the stories of challenges some of ladies on the programme were faced and how they overcame them helped”.
She also commented that “being a female entreprenur is a lonely journey but having likeminded people to talk to and get advice from helped me enormously”. The programme also helped Celine look into fleshing out the idea of opening a second facility and gave her the confidence for this to become a reality in 2019.
Eat Unique have picked up numerous awards such as Midlands Take Away of the Year and a Finalist in the Best new Business in the Midlands Style Awards. The future looks very bright for this empowering unique trio.