ACF criticises takeaway delivery platforms

The curry trade body attacks takeaway delivery companies for killing restaurants and out of home dining

The Asian Catering Federation (ACF) has criticised takeaway delivery platforms for undermining the hospitality sector and the high street trade in general, ahead of a presentation to leading chefs and restaurants at the House of Lords. 

ACF committee member, chef Binod Baral, a goodwill ambassador for the Gurkha Centre in London, comments: "Delivery companies don't need a multitude of restaurants on the high street – a single dark kitchen cooking a variety of cuisines on an industrial estate suits their needs."

As many retail outlets have moved online and abandoned high street locations, hospitality businesses are now prime drivers of customer footfall and town centres. But with the industry shackled by rising costs and hard-pressed customers suffering from the cost of living crisis, many once thriving high streets are resembling ghost towns with boarded-up windows and 'To Let' signs. 

'Driving down food quality'

Former restaurateur turned hospitality consultant Rajesh Suri (ex Tamarind Collection and Grand Trunk Road), says: "Delivery service platforms have become multi-million-pound industries with huge profits, as our small takeaways and restaurant businesses, faced with commission charges of up to 35%, are closing. This is driving down food quality as business owners are using cheaper ingredients in an attempt to make a profit."

Just Eat has recently ended its sponsorship of the ACF awards programmes, along with several other hospitality organisations. 

"We have been extremely grateful for Just Eat's generous support for our campaigns that have helped raise culinary standards across the sector, but negative mumblings from our members about 'exorbitant' commission charges, with a focus on prices rather than quality, have been growing louder," adds Baral. 

Cut out the middleman

The federation is also calling on customers to contact their favourite takeaways directly and cut out the middleman. 

Nutritionists and dieticians have long warned about increasingly sedentary lifestyles, as many home deliveries are consumed without much thought. Cheap takeaway meals tend to be bad for health, containing high levels of salt, sugar and artificial additives. 

A short, brisk walk to collect a meal, rather than wait at home for a delivery, can help lower blood pressure and boost mental health, among other benefits

At the special awards lunch at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Kamall, the ACF will step up its encouragement for members to take responsibility for their own marketing, build consumer databases, communicate directly, fulfil their own orders and build customer loyalty. 

The event will also be used to launch the annual Asian Restaurant Awards, which will take place in Manchester on 27 August, along with the Asian Curry Awards in London on 17 November. 

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