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Real Eating Company is moving to the former Costa Coffee opposite Starbucks in King Street, Maidstone

An independent coffee shop chain which has opened a new branch in a former Costa is hoping to host a Starbucks competition in the area.

The Real Eating Company has moved into the former coffee shop unit in King Street Maidstone, opposite the popular American brand.

Staff outside the Real Eating Company store in King Street Maidstone. Photo: Real Eating Company

Managing director and founder of the company Helena Hudson explained that the company wanted to move before Christmas, although the Costa did not close until January 20.

Explaining the business model, she said: “We are like a big small business so every individual store matters to us.

“It’s a bit of a hybrid coffee shop/café with half of our turnover coming from hot drinks, but we also do breakfast.


“We make our stuff fresh on site every day.

“We think Starbucks could use some competition and we tend to do well in busy towns and cities.

Helena Hudson, CEO and Founder of Real Eating Company. Photo:Helena Hudson

“Commercially it used to be a Costa and we just thought it was a fantastic location.”

Helena said the branch has sold more breakfasts than any of the other nine locations since it opened.

This is the second store to open in Kent and the first to move to Whitefriars in Canterbury in 2019.

The store currently employs eight employees.

Helena explained what it looks like to buy the ingredients from local producers.


It also creates a unique coffee cup design for each city, highlighting an important feature of the landscape.

The specially made Maidstone cup with an illustration of the buildings on the River Medway. Photo: Real Eating Company

The store had a soft launch on Bank Holiday Monday (27 May) and officially opened the following day.

Helena started the company 24 years ago more as a restaurant company, but slowly it changed into the Real Eating Company of today.

She said: “It’s a good concept and it works well.

“We are truly independent and would like to collaborate with like-minded people.”

The other branches are in Chichester, Horsham, Portsmouth, Cambridge and London.

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