Two curry houses closing every week amid skills shortages

Research by Cobra Beers shows worrying trend despite UK's appetite for Indian food remaining as strong as ever.

Curry houses in the UK are closing at the alarming rate of two per week, according to research released by Cobra Beer.

Based on data collated by the Cobra telesales team, this year has been the worst seen in the 25 years it’s been looking at the trends.

The news comes even though there are no signs that the popularity of Indian food is starting to wane in the UK. A lack of chefs skilled in making Indian dished is to blame; leading to Cobra launching an initiative to find more skilled workers in the industry.

The skills crisis is largely down to an ageing workforce, with many skilled chefs reaching retirement age and the younger generation failing to pick up the mantle. UK visa requirements are also locking out many skilled chefs from overseas as they do not reach the required salary bracket.

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Chefs Cobra is working with to help with the initiative include: Vivek Singh (formerly of Tamarind kitchen), Alfred Prasad (The Cinnamon Club and The Cinnamon Kitchen), Cyrus Todiwala (Café Spice Namaste) and Mehernosh Mody (La Porte des Indes).

Cobra Beer founding chairman Lord Bilimoria called the skills crisis in the industry “a chronic problem; lasting more than a decade”.

The staff in our restaurants are ageing, they are retiring and new generations of chefs are not coming into the industry,” he said.

“The problem has been compounded by the lack of immigration into this country, hence the shortage of staff. You need a group of people to run the restaurants, and if you don’t have new generations of people joining you need to bring people in from abroad.

“Slowly the staff shortage is affecting food, service, and affecting the business, hence we are seeing the level of closures we see now.”

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Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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