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News & Views Beware of false claims

Number of local curry lovers made complaints against the Garden of Indian restaurant in Darlington, which falsely claimed it was the BCA 2011 North East Winner in promotional material. In fact it was one of the shortlisted restaurants. The matter has been reported to local trading standards officers who are investigating.

Justine Ali, Director & Producer of the British Curry Awards, says, “Restaurants have to be very careful about how they use the British Curry Awards in press and

advertising material as we will take action against those who make claims that are not accurate, for whatever reason.The British Curry Award is trade mark registered and we will do everything to protect, make diners trust our brand and of course keep promoting the image of the industry in a positive way.”

Awards co-ordinator, Mohammad Raheem, adds,”It is unfair to make such claims and we want to protect the achievements and hard work of the winners.”


Restaurants suffer from immigration raids

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) contin- ues to raid spice restaurants looking for immigrants working illegally. While these raids often have justification, in some cases the restaurant is blame- less, but can still suffer as a result.

An example is Me2Raj in Cleethorpes which was visited by the UKNA, Humberside Police and North East Lincolnshire Council and a Bangladeshi man who was seen running from the kitchen was arrested. However the owner, Mitu Ahmed, claims the main was only visiting. In fact the UKBA has confirmed it is not prosecuting Me2Raj as there is no evidence that the man, who was found to be in the country illegally, was working there.

Despite the outcome, Mr Ahmed claims his business has suffered as a result of negative publicity surrounding the

Spice Business Magazine

UKBA operation. He points out that the restaurant was full of diners when the raid happened and these custom- ers will be put off coming again, while others will get to know what happened and think the restaurant is guilty.

He claims,”People who used to come every week have stopped coming and it is not fair that we should have to suffer because of someone else’s mistake.” He claims it is simply not possible to check the immigration status of every- one who comes to visit friends at the restaurant.

Enam Ali MBE, Spice Business editor and founder of the British Curry Awards, says he is sympathetic to the plight of Mr Ahmed and others like him. He suggests,”The UKBA can raid a restaurant employing legal staff, but the public still view the restaurant in

6 January 2012

a different light and therefore it can lose business. Once damage is caused to a restaurant, it can also affect the social life of the restaurateur as he may be well connected with the local community. “

Spice Business recommends strongly that restaurants do all the necessary checks before employing staff and also call the UKBA for further assis- tance before recruiting. However it also feels the UKBA could carry out raids in a different way to avoid innocent res- taurant owners being punished along with the guilty.

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