Restaurant owners warn of curry ‘crisis’ in Weston-super-Mare
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Restaurateurs are warning Weston-super-Mare is facing a curry crisis, as the Indian catering industry is suffering from staff shortages which could cause businesses in the town to close.
Indian takeaway and restaurant owners in Weston are calling on colleges and the Government to do more to provide training and encourage people from different ethnic backgrounds to join the industry.
They are warning businesses are facing closure, and say three takeaways and three restaurants have already closed in Weston because of a shortage in chefs.
Sayd Ahmed, chairman of the Bangladeshi Association who has worked in catering for 19 years, said: “There are not many staff around in the Indian sector.
“The shortage has been going on for 10 years but now we are feeling the full effect.
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“If this crisis continues for any longer then a lot of local people will lose their business and will be unemployed.
“This whole industry will fall apart and a lot of jobs will go.
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“The solution to the problem is to train local people from different backgrounds.”
Mr Ahmed, who runs Pappadoms in Milton, said one of the problems was the Government’s new immigration rules, where people from non-EU countries earning less than £35,000 risk being deported.
Mr Ahmed said: “This is unsustainable as it is really expensive.
“There are not many people coming in to do the job, and there are also not many home-grown chefs and cooks because all our youngsters are not choosing to come into this industry.
“They are choosing other professions, rather than coming into the catering sector.”
Mr Ahmed said the advantage of taking on staff who are taking part in catering courses at colleges is they are committed to the job, and already have the basic knowledge of hygiene and food preparation.
He said the restaurants can then teach people how to mix spices and create the food.
Mr Ahmed and Moslek Uddin, who runs Chutney’s in Weston and runs Indian Restaurant Staff Required met with MP John Penrose to highlight the problem.