Chicken korma and chips could soon cost you £30 because of massive price rises

Curry houses are having to choose between charging up to £30 a dish or shutting down in the face of soaring costs, an industry leader has warned.

Shale Ahmed, a Birmingham-based restaurateur who runs a community upskilling organisation in the city, said many chefs are seeing their shopping bills rise by 40%.

Together with a tripling of energy bills, this is forcing restaurants to shoulder massive losses in order to keep their menu prices reasonable, he explained.

Speaking at a conference at Aston University this week, he said: ‘The cost of [cooking] oil has gone from £17 for 20 litres to £44. And restaurants go through about 100 litres a week. Even the price of onions has gone up a lot.

‘If you charge customers accordingly, a curry would have to cost between £25 to £30, which is not sustainable and restaurants don’t want to do that.

‘People will not come, even now loyal customers are now only visiting one a month or a quarter rather than every week as purse strings tighten.

‘It’s certainly not suitable in its current form. I don’t think many businesses will last through winter let along into the next year.

Mr Ahmed, 41, who runs street food company called Saucy Burger, called for ‘immediate help from the government’ to avoid ‘the loss of a Birmingham institution’.

He added: ‘People are not going to come through the doors and we’re going to have empty restaurants and takeaways which will be forced to close.

‘We have seen figures saying around seven in ten pubs will close – well this number could easily be the same for curry houses.’

His warnings have been echoed across the industry, with Argentinian steakhouse chain Gaucho claiming they would have to charge £100 for a steak if they passed increasing energy costs to diners.

Many restaurants have warned they are still struggling with staff and skill shortages lingering on from the Covid pandemic.

Mr Ahmed added: ‘In this city, these businesses have been passed through generations of families and we’re going to lose that if we’re not able to do something.

‘People in the trade up and down the country and are experiencing exactly the same thing and I really fear for our industry.’

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