The award winning Venus Company was founded by Michael Smith, Louisa Newman, and Lee Porter and opened its first beach café at Blackpool Sands near Dartmouth; the site of the original ‘The Venus Tea Hut’, started by Louisa’s mother, Lady Newman in 1958. Today the company is an environmental champion at two beautiful South Devon beach cafes open all year round at Bigbury-on-Sea and Broadsands Beach in Paignton. A third site, East Portlemouth which is a short, picturesque ferry ride from Salcombe opens from Easter through to the end of October.
We are a family business with sustainability at our core. Our environmentally aware business is solely focussed in South Devon. We were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2005 for ‘providing the best al-fresco Mediterranean-style dining experience in a UK beach setting whilst integrating environmental and social care into every business decision’. Winning the award again in 2010, the Judge’s comment was ‘a rare example of a sustainable cafe chain’. Our environmental performance has been recognised in many other international, national and regional honours. We continually strive to improve and now have a major focus on home compostable (zero single use plastic) packaging and materials.
The company’s mission is to be the greenest café operator serving the best locally sourced ingredients with many of the dishes coming from the nearby land or sea. Constantly striving to improve our environmental performance, we banned plastic straws over 20 years ago as our first step to reduce plastics on the beach and in the oceans. Since then we have eliminated plastic in hot cups and lids, cling film, our cake wrappers, crisp packets and our cleaning materials. Our ethos and values are best summed up by our trademark tag line: loving the beach®.
We are dedicated to constantly improving our service, products and the use of the most environmentally friendly products to protect our naturally beautiful environment. As a team we strive to ensure customer's needs are balanced carefully with environmental and social considerations, minimising any harmful effects, and maximising the beneficial influences, of activities on the environment and the community. A significant step to reduce our carbon footprint was implemented in 2020 through swapping conventional serving utensils for bio-based, palm leaf plates and wooden cutlery.