Why Are Curry House Closing?
Why Two British Curry Houses Are Closing Down Every Week
Statistics show that 2 curry houses close every week in the UK. This is similar to the fact that every week there are approximately 29 traditional British pubs closing down in the UK.
It is without a doubt that curry changed the British eating habits and became part of the British culture. That is the reason why there is Curry Out, Curry night, Saturday night curry, Friday night curry and so many other words as well as phrases that were added into the British dictionary that relate to curry. Curry significantly changed the British culture as well as bring positive changes to the whole industry.
By the late 1990s, chicken tikka masala was declared Britain’s national dish. That was quick and a big achievement to Britain’s attitude to a new food. This clearly shows that the attitude can rapidly change if we do not react fast.
Wrong business model
First, I will like to say that the British curry house business model is not right. This is because curry houses only operate in the evenings and mostly in the weekends, while the business owners pay rent and other taxes for 24 hours and 365 days a year. The escalating rents are forcing many business owners out of their traditional town centres, corner spots, and prime locations, and their places are being taken up by giant chain food stores like Costa, Papa zones, Pret A Manger and so on. I think we need to find that business model, that unique menu that will run from morning to evening every day without depending on these locations.
Customer education and costing is not right
I have noticed that some of the restaurants that have been performing well for the last 20 years are not doing so well nowadays. All they do is just to balance their books at the end of the week and nothing more. I have also realized that the price of curry is more or less the same for the last 18 years. However, the price for the ingredients used in the preparation of curry is sky-high and the portion served remains the same.
Most of the traditional business owners match their prices with their competitors.
Due to stereotype, curry from the high street is considered unhealthy because of the ingredients we use for example cream, sugar, fat, butter, and salt. Unfortunately, these products are not cheap and if the customers do not like them, why are we even adding them? As an experienced chef and business owner, I know that curry can easily be prepared without garlic, ginger, onions ghee, turmeric, and butter. Normally, sugar is not required and salt can be reduced. So why are we even using these products?
The British supermarkets
The presence of supermarkets is yet another factor. In the past, there were no supermarkets offering Indian curry. However, today each and every supermarket you enter is offering high-quality restaurant food with guarantee productions date, all standard food specifications like best before and use by date, calories calculations, ingredients, the origin of the product, allergen list, and chilled or frozen form.
At the same time fast foods, grab and go, big chain and cafes are shelving some form of Indian food like curried soup, snacks, tikka wrap, bowl food and so on. In other words, we are competing with all food operators.
The curry market is already saturated unless someone comes with a new theme. Almost everyone is in the food business including big chain operators. There are approximately 60 Indian takeaways within 3 miles from my house. And despite this, you will find someone still opening a curry house.