A BRADFORD based chain of restaurants has launched an online forum for fellow restaurateurs to meet and share ideas to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Ishfaq Farooq, one of the directors of MyLahore, set up the Zoom meetings which began earlier this week, as a way of sharing ideas ahead of reopening as the lockdown eases.

Mr Farooq told the Telegraph & Argus: “As the hospitality industry is getting ready to re-open after the devastating pandemic closure, at MyLahore I thought It would be good idea to organise an online operators meeting with several leading restaurants owners to discuss and share ideas for a safe and successful re-opening.

“During this lockdown I have been speaking to many operators sharing ideas and helping them to survive in the pandemic as we are all in the same boat.

“After the lockdown there is a chance that many restaurants will close their doors for good, and many jobs lost so its very important to come together and help each other survive this.

“I have created a forum for restaurant owners and operators to regularly meet, share best practice, insights and problem solve in a structured, friendly yet professional environment.”

Those taking part included representatives from restaurants such as Omar’s Balti House in Bradford, Toro’s Steakhouse, as well as from The Indian Lounge in York, Jilani’s Cafe in Manchester and Saracens Cafe in Nottingham.

Mr Farooq added that award-winning MyLahore, which runs restaurants in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, is a pioneer in the British Asian food industry and is always looking for ways of uniting the community and sharing ideas.

Rubel Choudhury of York’s The Indian Lounge said: “The call was highly beneficial to myself personally, and I’m sure it was for all those who attended as we shared our insights and how we are gearing towards reopening on July 4th.”

He praised Mr Farooq for bringing people in the industry together, adding: “Promoting collaboration in the Asian restaurant space hasn’t always been seen, and moving forwards it will be necessary more than ever - something I look forward to being a part of.”

Tariq Kataria of Saracens Cafe in Nottingham said he found the meeting particularly useful as they only opened in February, before going into lockdown four weeks later.

He said: “The uncertainty that’s surrounds the industry, the challenges and the lack of clear government advise surely brings about more apprehension than we are all already experiencing. The meeting demonstrates the lengths that Ishfaq and MyLahore are going to to work selflessly and your encourage the sharing of best practices for all operators.”

Any restaurateurs interested in joining future meetings should email Mr Farooq on ishfaq@mylahore.co.uk.