Torquay restaurant owner quizzes Boris

Torquay restaurant owner Rehan Uddin

Torquay restaurant owner Rehan Uddin - Credit: Archant

Torquay businessman Rehan Uddin has gone straight to the top and Boris Johnson as he represents 1,900 Asian restaurants througout the UK

An influential Asian restaurant owner in Torquay has become the voice of hundreds of similar eateries throughout the UK making sure they are heard at the highest level - including Boris Johnson.

Rehan Uddin represents 1,900 other businesses in the Asian Restaurant Owners Network.

He was discussing their interests in a special video conference with the Prime Minister at Number Ten on Tuesday night.

Rehan, head chef and owner of Bombay Express in Torre, asked Mr Johnson in the Zoom call how could British Asians in the south west be more influential in government.

Rehan has already spoken to Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this month to discuss immigration.

He explained: 'We discussed ultimately how the south west can achieve great things and what the government expectations are and what our expectations are from government.

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'The points based immigration system and how it affects recruitment was also talked about.

'From my point of view, the previous recruitment system was easily manipulated and abused.

'I suggested that to bring in a points system it needed to be secure.

'Previously people were bringing in relatives who were not necessarily skilled and we were short of skills.

'So this is trying to implement positive change.'

He described how a clause in the system had meant recruiting a chef from overseas meant they were not allowed to serve takeaways.

Rehan was involved in setting up an advisory group which eventually, after several years, succeeded in getting the clause removed, opening up avenues for recruitment.

He set up the Asian Restaurant Owners Network four years ago with 300 members as an information hub.

Recently, members have been discussing business strategies, how to improve sales and to reopen Covid safe.

Rehan used social media to share information including a music video for Asian hospitality businesses.

His consultancy business helps develop marketing and sales, introducing new digital methods, increasing profits and reducing the labour force.

He has big plans for Bombay Express and will be launching Bombay Lounge, a private dining experience with customised menus and cocktail making.

During lockdown, the restaurant closed for two weeks then as Rehan and his father live together, they joined forces in the kitchen doing takeaways, creating a zone outside the kitchen where food was put for customers to collect