Mr. Pasha Khandaker MBE

Former President of BCA @ BCA1960

Countless decades in the making, curry is a story of
struggle and hope. It is a journey of cultural
endearment and in many respects, a symbol of
triumph and optimism against odds and
Today, the industry having gone through so much,
British curry stands proud owing much of its presence
to the vision of our industry’s pioneers. It was due to
their foresight that we have one of the oldest
grassroots organisations as the BCA to advance our
issues and concerns. And for this, we are eternally
indebted to our founders and pray for them all, for
giving us this beautiful platform that promotes and
speaks on behalf of thousands of curry houses the
length and breadth of Britain, which makes me
immensely proud to be part of BCA.
Now, while our industry has achieved some highlights,
we are witnessing something different over the last
two decades which in summary has suffocated and
continues to harm our industry, daily. It can be said
that the curry industry is undergoing neglect that has
become an established practice. At the national level,
we do not get the recognition that we have been
tirelessly campaigning for decades. We have not got
tax holidays like VAT reduction which we also have
been asking for years. And at the local level,
authorities are not giving our dying trade a second
look even with the onset of falling high street footfall.
This is a tragedy. It’s a failure of authorities to promote
us as well as a failure in us in not being more effective.
But, for a moment, if we put aside external factors and
simply reflect inward then we must work towards
unity. And along with unity, we must address the
challenge of modern work practices. We have
traditional management which we must change. We
are not tech savvy but must do more by talking to
experts, adopting EPOS systems to make integrated
transactions, and engaging in social media to
promote ourselves. We have a very difficult road
ahead and we need to be flexible to keep up with the
COVID, for example, has slowed our business and just
when we thought we could re-start, the conflict in
Ukraine has now added further woes across our
industry on the top growing challenge of delivery
businesses. This naturally affects our menu price and
profit margin, but we need to be realistic. We need
to give a genuine price and not publish below market
prices just to keep the customer happy. We should
look at such an economic crisis as an opportunity to
re-think about our business opening hours and
simplify our menu so that our costs and cooking times
are kept low for long-term margin and growth.
Finally, it is important to be reminded that curry is not
just about feeding people. It is more than cooking and
costs. It is also about introducing and connecting
communities and culture. Curry is the backbone of a
community playing a crucial role in Britain’s multicultural
outlook and reducing its role and contribution
does not benefit anyone. We love our industry and
must stand together to support each other in facing
our common challenges.