Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor, Shottobani
London: The Takeaway & Restaurant Innovation Expo opened on Tuesday 26 September 2017 at ExCeL London. The event is Europe’s largest for innovation in the foodservice industry, takeaways and restaurants. It’s a two day event from 10am until 5pm on Tuesday 26th & Wednesday 27th September with 150 free seminars, 300 exhibiting suppliers, panel debates, networking, expert advice and interactive features.
At a seminar on the first day Bangladesh Caterers Association’s Secretary General Oli Khan highlighted British curry industry staff shortage and how the reduction in Non-EU migration can have implications upon the lack of skilled chefs available in the British curry industry.
Although the first curry house was opened in the UK over 200 years ago, the cuisine has become popular during the second half of the last century. Chicken Tikka Masala is now an integral part of the British Culture. The Bangladesh Caterers Association was established in 1960 and has played a driving role in popularising curry so much so, that it is now called British curry. Despite all the successes, the industry is facing difficulties, the most burning issue is staff shortages. The industry needs about 20,000 skilled and unskilled workers before it is too late to save the curry industry said Oli Khan.
Renowned speakers from the food industry spoke at the seminars. Some of the talks – highlights in the first day were ‘The Future of Delivery: New ways of getting Your Food from Kitchen to Customer’, former Head of Marketing at Pret A Manger, Mark McCulloch speaking on Divulging how you can formulate a winning digital marketing strategy and Managing Director at Just Eat, Graham Corfield revealing the recipe for future takeaway success and day two featured- Head of Franchising at McDonald’s, Abel Campos sharing his insider knowledge on the evolution of the brand.
Bengali organisations Bangladesh Caters Association, an umbrella organisation of approximately 12,000 British-Bangladeshi restaurants across the UK, Asian Catering Federation bringing together organisations and personnel within the Asian food industry and working in tandem with the Federation of Bangladeshi Caterers UK, Curry Life, a bi-monthly magazine, acting as the voice of the curry industry and UniSoft providing Epos software to the catering industry, had stands at the exhibition.