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North-east restaurateur joins forces with taxi firm to get business through lockdown period

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The duo have teamed up to help give back to their communities, and to weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stonehaven businessmen Raj Hamid who owns Indian restaurant Carron to Mumbai and Nu Spice takeaway and Derek Sedge of DMS Taxis have joined forces to help keep their businesses going.

Teaming up to bring Raj’s food to the masses, the friends will work together to get food delivery orders to towns and villages local to Stonehaven to widen delivery and revenue  opportunities.

With hospitality still closed under the Scottish Government restrictions except from takeaway collection and fewer people using taxis, the duo believe this is a great chance to keep all of their staff busy while meeting the needs of customers who live close by who are unable to travel.

Raj Hamid preparing one of the dishes available at his Carron to Mumbai restaurant.

Raj said: “We partnered together at the very beginning of lockdown but Derek was running his business himself. Now he has four drivers that he’s able to use so we’ve decided to work together to help get the food to people further afield who don’t feel safe coming to collect it or don’t want to travel due to restrictions.

“I don’t really feel like I am able to welcome my guests in the manner I usually would as you can’t really interact with one another which makes takeaway collection not very personable. I love speaking with my customers but it just isn’t the same for anyone so we’ve decided to partner up and see if we can both help each other.

“People aren’t feeling as confident when it comes to picking up food. In Stonehaven there isn’t many people out and about, and when people go to pick up their takeaway it is a social occasion – walking along to the restaurants to catch up with other friends who have also ordered. But because no one is really socialising with one another there’s less people meeting in this way and getting takeaway like this.”

Delivery and ordering

Offering delivery options to those living in Muchalls, Newtonhill, Chapleton, Portlethen and Inverbervie seven days a week, customers are asked to call Carron to Mumbai or Nu Spice to place their order a day in advance when possible, or by 4pm the same day to avoid disappointment.

Local drop off areas and times have been put in place for those looking to order, and they can meet the taxi driver at the designated areas to collect their food.

Raj says payment can be taken in advance, or, if customers prefer, they can pay when they pick up their order from the taxi driver.

Raj Hamid and Derek Sedge (DMS Taxis) outside the Carron to Mumbai restaurant.

He added: “We have different timeslots for different areas. Stonehaven delivery will be available anytime from 4pm to 10pm and we’ll have drop off delivery areas where the taxi drivers will be based from where they will take a whole heap of orders to to be picked up.

“For those in Muchalls we’re doing a drop off at 5.10pm every day, for Newtonhill we’ll be at Tesco car park at 5.30pm every day, we have a slot in Chapleton at 5.45pm every day and Inverbervie around 6pm, and Portlethen, too.

“Customers order a day in advance, or they need to call by 4pm on the day at the very latest so we can ensure everything is ready in time. Everyone looking to order must call the restaurant and once your order has been placed we will then get the food out the next day, or that day if you’ve ordered on the same day.

“There will be a minimal charge of around £2 per order for the deliveries included in the drop offs. If we can get around 10 orders in one slot, then we wouldn’t charge delivery fees, it would mainly be if there were small numbers of orders that we’d charge a delivery fee for. We can take payment on the phone, or the taxi drivers will also be able to take payment as and when the order is collected from the delivery point or at their doors in Stonehaven.”

Teaming up

Having worked together on and off for the past 15 years and getting together to help local charitable causes regularly, the duo are looking forward to seeing what they can do to further service local communities, and their businesses.

Raj said: “Like every taxi firm, they are all struggling. Derek has been great in giving me a hand with any of my charity work like delivering food to elderly people. I am delighted we can work together to try and survive this together.”

Raj Hamid outside Carron to Mumbai in Stonehaven.

Derek Sedge, owner of DMS Taxis added: “I’ve known Raj for around 15 years and I’ve worked with him before. We wanted to do something to the community and I’ve been doing this job for around 30 years and the locals have always been so good to me.

“I’ve been delivering meals for the elderly and for children at home since the first lockdown, and I helped deliver food to the homeless in Aberdeen on Christmas Day.

“We’ve both got to make a living, but we want to be able to help the community at the same time. We’re trying to get out to towns and villages further afield to be able to offer them the chance to order food from Carron to Mumbai and Nu Spice as it is really hard to get out and we think this is a good idea.”

Free school meals

As well as launching the new delivery service, Raj’s five daughters have also been busy helping out my handing our free meals to children every Sunday.

Bushra (7), Jamila (8), Maryam (10), Hazera (11) and Kolsuma Hamid, who is 13, all attend Mackie Academy and Arduthie Primary School, gave out free meals on Christmas Day to those in need.

Pictured L-R – Bushra, Hazera, Maryam, Kolsuma and Jamila at Carron to Mumbai

Since then they have continued to give back to the local community and launched a free children’s meal service which has seen hundreds of meals handed out to youngsters.

Raj added: “My five daughters have also been serving up free cooked meals from the restaurant to children, too, and we have around 200 to 250 of them turning up on the Sunday between 4pm and 4.30pm to collect their meals.

FIVE SISTERS FREE SCHOOL MEALS Lovely to see the smiles on our kids faces picking up their free food god bless.thats it for this Sunday folks time now 4.39pm and only 4 containers left out of 200 let us know how the food wasSee you all next Sunday the Valentine’s Day

Posted by Carron to Mumbai on Sunday, 7 February 2021

“It has been a huge success. There’s a different menu every Sunday but last weekend we ran out of food within 15 minutes. They don’t have to place an order, they just have to come and pick it up. It is for all children of all ages, primary and secondary school pupils, too.”

For more on Carron to Mumbai…

Five sisters plan to spread festive cheer by handing out hot food to those in need on Christmas Day

North-east restaurant boss offers free food to NHS staff and people over 70