The development of Dishoom’s delivery business enabled it to avoid redundancies and keep up with its Meal for a Meal initiative last year, and it will “work really hard” on bettering the service this year, said managing director Brian Trollip.

Dishoom, which retained its title as Best Concept for the third year running at MCA’s Retailer’s Retailer Awards last week, usually provides a million meals a year to children in the UK and India as part of its charitable work.

Trollip said that when the pandemic hit and it had to close all of its restaurants, the business was concerned about both its people – in terms of their mental and financial health – and how it was going to continue to provide meals to those that can’t afford them.

“We had to figure out a way to make sure that those meals kept on coming so we adapted by switching to a delivery model and building a business that we are more and more proud of,” he said. 

Venturing into delivery for the first time last year, the business now has eight delivery-only kitchens in operation in London, Brighton and Cambridge with Deliveroo Editions.

Trollip said the world had definitely moved on in terms of delivery and eating at home – including cook at home kits. “I think that creativity that has been let out of the box is going to continue,” he added.

“I can’t wait to be up and running again to start creating a bit of magic in our restaurants and make people feel special again,” said Trollip. On top of improving its delivery business, he said Dishoom would also look to develop the “tiny little collection” of products it is currently selling on its online store.

Trollip said that its foray into new sales channels, combined with the times it was able to open last year, meant “we were able to provide over a million meals a year to kids to couldn’t afford them, we were able to avoid any redundnancies and keep our teams together”.

He said he was cautiously optimistic about the second half of the year and that it could be exciting provided all goes well with the vaccine and the business can be up and running with as few restrictions as possible as soon as possible.

Following the launch of its latest site in Birmingham last year, Dishoom now operates eight Irani-style Bombay cafés across four cities, each with their own rich narrative backstory.