Indian and Nepalese food businesses in Torbay have benefited from government funding to support their improvement around food safety.
After identifying that these businesses needed extra support, Torbay Council successfully bid for just under £10,000 from the Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide food safety advice, free food hygiene training and business mentoring.
This funding meant that Torbay Council’s Food Safety Team, in partnership with the Asian Restaurant Owners Network (ARON), Devon & Somerset Fire Rescue Service, TDA and Devon, Somerset & Torbay Trading Standards, could provide representatives from 12 Indian and Nepalese food businesses with the right support and advice ranging from food safety, fire safety and business advice.
Out of the 25 Indian and Nepalese food businesses in Torbay, currently six are considered non-compliant with food safety law as they have a food hygiene rating of 0, 1 or 2. Also, in 2018 the Food Safety Team prosecuted two Indian takeaways
Councillor Christine Carter, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services said: “We are committed to helping local businesses to succeed, grow, be successful and survive, which is why we identified that these businesses in Torbay needed extra support and advice. By speaking to them directly we found out what they were finding the barriers to comply with the law where, what simple changes they felt we could make to support them and to also find out whether they required other types of business support. The funding from BEIS has been a great way for us to build relationships with these specific businesses.”
At the community meeting the businesses were offered simple food safety advice focusing on common issues found in these types of business. They were also provided with two free food hygiene training places per business, two hours of free in-house mentoring for those businesses with a 0, 1 or 2 food hygiene rating. Torbay Council’s Food Safety Team also provided a commitment to take on board the suggestions the businesses have made to simplify regulation for them.
Rehan Uddin, who owns Bombay Express in Torquay and is founder of ARON, was instrumental in gaining business support for the event. Rehan said: “Over the past two years the Asian Restaurant Owners Network has been pushing for change within the Asian Hospitality industry. At this meeting we had 14 local Asian restauranteurs join a group meeting to improve professional standards. The group plans to implement a support network to begin later in the year.
“Having implemented ground breaking changes in my restaurant regarding changing the landscape of Asian hospitality, I implored all local Asian restauranteurs to raise their standards, improve community connections and work alongside the TDA to improve skills in marketing and business management. The free food safety courses that Torbay Council are offering are an incredible asset to the business and I was happy to see everyone has signed up even if they could not make this meeting.”
As a result of the meeting TDA have offered to provide bespoke workshops for this sector of the food industry focusing on the importance of business planning, costing and pricing, marketing and how to financially plan.