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News & Views Masala World abandons expansion plans


The Masala World restaurant group is reported to have abandoned plans for expansion primarily due to its inability to bring in chefs from the subcontinent because of immigration restrictions. Masala World is in need of chefs with specific skills and it seems that it cannot find them in the UK. Yet legislation introduced last April means it cannot bring them in from overseas.


Namita Panjabi, of Masala World, is quoted as saying: “The legislation makes it impossible for us to employ


people to actually cook the food. Gourmet ethnic restaurants need cooks that understand the difference between mediocre and great tastes, and that generally takes significant immersion in the cuisine.”


Masala World is not the only company which has encountered problems as a result of the rules. The Hakkasan Group and Busaba Eathai chain are also cited as having to curb plans because of a chef shortage . Busaba Eathai is said to have decided to modify its menu so


that it relies less heavily on Thai chefs, but this is an option most would prefer to avoid.


There are strong indications that the Asian casual dining sector , which has been growing significantly in recent years, has now slowed due to the new rules. Rather than helping create new UK jobs, the rules appear to be hitting a sector with the potential to help the economy grow.


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Spice Business Magazine


29


January/February 2013


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