Friday, 29 April 2016


by Imran Chowdhury
Curry business in the United Kingdom is the trade mark and signature traits of the sprawling Bangladeshi Bengali community. The architect of the business have been very successful in making the curry a life style food of the British nation. It has come a long way from it’s humble beginning in the mid fifties of the last century. The end product of this thriving business is known to the world as one of the most aspiring food and cuisine to the rest of the world.
The Industry has encompassed the whole length and the breadth of the United Kingdom from Lands End, to South end and from Fort William, to Balham and from Cardiff, to Dover and the rest. There is not a single town, village and sub urban dwelling where there isn’t a curry take away or a restaurant. It has only happened due to the perseverance and resilience of the community itself & the passion of British people for their versatile habit of consuming foods from the world of cuisines.
The dish famously known as the most favourite dish of the People of the British isles is a Curry called Chicken Tikka Masala ; is synonymous to the Curry and one would be surprised to know that a child from the age of 4-6 comes to know the name of this unique dish. They climb up the ladder of spicy food hierarchy starting from Korma - Masala to Madras to Vindaloo. This is how much the penetration of curry trade has into the hearts and minds of the British people. 
The name curry is itself the best USP for the industry has. With the relentless support of the consumers and service providers the brand ‘’ CURRY’’ rides above all the waves of the business marketing and sales traits.
The Curry Story ;
Historically the Bengali community from erstwhile East Pakistan (Bangladesh now) are the one who started the trend of setting up curry businesses; restaurants and take aways. Since, Its rudimentary beginning in the early - mid fifties of the last 20th century the industry has grown from strength to strength.
The abundance of work force; newly migrating to the UK needed their much desired income and at that crucial juncture the curry business rendered the jobs and the industry slowly and gradually started to blossom full to the brim. The Bangladeshi community in the UK and in Bangladesh owes a great deal of homage and gratitude to those hardworking risk taker, buzzing and maverick entrepreneurs. 
Who stood firm against all the odds, abuse of relentless racism, lack of finance , lack of knowledge of rules and regulations, lack of facilities from the local authorities and above all poor vocabulary to turn that boutique business into a thriving pan UK SME venture. Nothing could faze them, when the going got really tough those battle hardened soldierlike entrepreneurs got themselves going. The pioneers of the bengali diaspora’s flagship signature weathered through all the odds, impediments and obstacles.
Till date the industry is run, managed and owned by many of the descendants of the doyens. their third and fourth generations are now the proud bastions of the industry.
The new arrivals who joined the industry at a later stage by joining hands with their predecessors added an extra glorification to the business and with their flair, new outlook, and PR along with various social, political and corporate exposures the CURRY became life style choice for all most all house holds of the United Kingdom and beyond. 
There are now circa 20000 outlets owned by Bangladeshis in The British Isles selling curry day in day out. Serving in excess of half a million portions of Chicken Tikka Masala a week. Chicken Tikka Masala is the most sold dishes ; about 20-22% of all curries sold are chicken tikka masala.
No matter how posh or opulent or up market the establishment of the curry outlets are ; they still attract more discerning guests and customers who would like to treat their tastebuds with all the favourite dishes. Those age old favourite 4-5 main dishes, 4-6 starters, 2 vegetable side dishes with 2 types of rice and 3 types on bread. These are predominantly the best selling items of their menus. In order for to quantify those; these would not be imprudent to say, these above generic favourites constitute about 60- 65% of the total turnover of the business. ( a conservative guesstimation).
The Curry business and its paraphernalia and the backyard linkage support chain trades alone is proving an estimated 150,000 employments in the UK and the total conglomerate gross turn over may reach close to £ 10 billion a year. 
There are a whole host of other auxiliary businesses in the UK are thriving on the back of this CURRY industry. Accounting firms, Legal Practitioners, Travel Agents, Groceries, Distributors, Whole Sale and Retailers, Banks, Training Institutes, Millers to name a few. The Curry business today in the UK stands like ship emulating the Giant TITANIC and those mentioned above sailing with this giant ship to prosperity on board the mother vessel.
No wonder it makes one feel so proud to be a owner of a such success story.