Summer shutdown for Indian restaurant in Old Town
OLD Town restaurant Bombay Lounge has closed for the summer with owner Hanif Robbani looking to address staffing issues.
Hanif said he plans to recruit a new manager for the Devizes Road restaurant and additional workers to bolster its numbers.
In the meantime, the majority of its staff will be working from Hanif’s original Peatmoor Bombay Lounge, which is remaining open.
The news comes as another blow to the Old Town economy following the closure of Cakes and Ale, last month, and salon Talk of the Town, last week. All three businesses are located within just metres of each other.
Hanif said: “Due to current staffing levels, unfortunately we have temporarily closed the Old Town restaurant.
“Finding good, reliable staff in this industry is hard, and we want the service we provide to be at its best.
“By doing this we can concentrate all of our efforts on our Peatmoor site.
“The restaurant is a very popular choice for many people for eating out, so we aim to get it back open as soon as possible, once we have sourced new staff.
“Our Peatmoor restaurant will remain open and we will continue to host our charity curry nights.”
Hanif emphasised that he is determined to reopen his Old Town restaurant, which closed its doors around a week ago. He hopes it will open again in September.
“We are not in liquidation or anything like that,” he added. “We are not going anywhere, I could open tonight if I wanted.
“People probably know me from my two restaurants but I have other business enterprises and, at the minute, the one in Old Town is the least lucrative.
“The business was making money but not as much as I would like and I can probably not devote as much time as the Old Town business deserves at present.”
Hanif said that the summer months were a good time to make changes, suggesting the World Cup and the holiday season has a noticeable effect on restaurant trade.
“We know that when the football is on blokes tend to start drinking earlier, several hours before the matches, and don’t necessarily go out to have something to eat which has an effect on us,” he said.
“Our Peatmoor restaurant is the busier of the two and with the summer months coming up we felt it would make sense to keep the Old Town one closed.
“It is just a question of it becoming more effective and when it reopens I think we’ll have a mini refurbishment too.”
Hanif said he is determined to recruit highly skilled staff to add to his team at the Old Town restaurant.
He said: “There are a lot of factors which have brought this decision, with regards to staff.
“My generation were born and bred in this country and want to go into industries other than restaurants, which makes getting workers hard.
“It leaves staff coming over from Bangladesh and India, but the UK immigration laws make it scarce to get high quality staff, with many already involved in family businesses too.”
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