An Indian restaurant is gearing up to recover after purchasing a £3,000 combi oven thanks to a grant from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Tamarind Fine Indian Dining in Blofield, near Norwich, will be able to serve customers indoors from 17 May and the new equipment will allow its team of chefs to maintain social distancing and keep up with the orders coming into its busy kitchen.
Funding for businesses in the hospitality, leisure and related sectors was introduced by the LEP and applications administered by New Anglia Growth Hub. Across Norfolk and Suffolk, the Visitor Economy Grant Scheme has awarded £347,053 to 131 projects and the Wider Economy Grant Scheme has delivered £251,853 to 95 projects.
Restaurant capacity at Tamarind will be reduced from 90 covers to 60 to ensure diners are kept safe and the menu will also be restricted ahead of reopening. Its new oven will ensure that staff can also adhere to Covid rules.
“There is a lot of hustle and bustle in the kitchen, so we are very mindful of the space and people working close together,” says head chef director Jaman Ahmed.
“We are minimising the menu and the oven means someone can put something in the oven on a timer for five minutes and do something else at the same time, whereas before we had to have someone physically doing that job.”
When lockdown forced the restaurant to close, the business provided for the first time a takeaway and delivery service, operating four days a week. While this provided some income and introduced the business to potential new customers, Jaman says the takeaway process makes it difficult to maintain the temperature of dishes and the high standards its restaurant customers have come to expect.
He discovered that grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 were available via the LEP’s scheme via social media and admits the restaurant would have struggled to finance the new equipment without the funding.
“The process was very smooth and the people at the Growth Hub were really helpful,” says Jaman. “They are willing to help and wanted us to be able to stay in business.”
Senior Business Growth Adviser Glen Moore said: “The hospitality sector has been very badly it by the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdown. So, we were delighted to be able to provide some support for Jaman and the restaurant, and we hope his new oven will help him adapt quickly to the new operational environment.”