Austins Restaurant, Girvan
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Ambition Case Studies

Kevin Rae fulfils a lifelong dream to open his own restaurant in his hometown.

From a young age, Kevin Rae wanted to be a chef and started training at a local hotel when he was still in his teens.

More than 25 years later – having been employed as Head Chef at some of Ayrshire’s most prestigious venues – the AMBITION programme helped him fulfil a lifelong dream to open his own restaurant in his hometown of Girvan.

Kevin welcomed his first guests to Austins in Knockcushan Street in June 2017. “Throughout my life I’d always liked this building and when it came on the market I felt it was now or never,” explains Kevin. “This was my chance to finally start up on my own and provide a high quality dining experience at my favourite spot in the town.”

After purchasing the building, Kevin approached Business Gateway for support and was appointed a dedicated Business Adviser through the AMBITION programme.

“Starting up your own business can be overwhelming, especially if – like me – you’re doing it completely by yourself,” continues Kevin. “It was such a relief having my Adviser on hand to point me in the right direction on a whole range of issues and offer sound advice. It was like having a friend on the other end of the phone during quite a stressful time. I also received an AMBITION Start-Up grant which I used to help renovate the property. I’m now fulfilling my dream of providing a quality dining venue for local people.”

Seating 42 guests, Austins supports other Ayrshire businesses by using fresh, local produce. It provides full and part-time employment for a staff team of nine, including a manager, kitchen and service staff.