The owner of Scotland’s largest Indian restaurant chain has revealed he is seeking to exit the business.
Sanjay Majhu, owner of the Ashoka chain, is understood to have sold four of his 14 restaurants and is looking for the others to be taken over. The group is present throughout Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Livingstone and Dundee.
Traditional curry houses are facing stiff competition from cheaper cut-price chains, while curbs on immigration are said to have created a specialist chef shortage.
Majhu told the Daily Record: “It is getting harder. I do not see myself expanding into Indian restaurants any more. People like going to World Buffet because they are cheap and cheerful. We don’t have the capability to compete with large businesses like that.”
Over the past year, Majhu has sold four sites, including ones in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“Indian restaurants still do well but they’re up against a lot of competition. Personally speaking, I hope to sell most of them off. I am definitely trying to wind down the business now,” he said. “You are competing now with large chains and they are getting more savvy. It is getting harder to compete with things like that and it is not a market I want to be in.”
Majhu, who is chief executive of the Harlequin Leisure restaurant group, has owned the business for a decade after acquiring it for £8m from founder Charan Gill.
He said that the managers of the remaining Ashoka restaurants would be offered the first chance to buy them. “We have sold four of our franchises. We always had the plan that after 10 years we would sell to existing managers. But a lot of them can’t get money to fund them.”