The value of Dishoom’s new delivery offer has stretched beyond its contribution to sales, managing director Brian Trollip has said.

Speaking at MCA’s Restaurant Conference alongside Dishoom co-founder Shamil Thakrar, Trollip described delivery, which the group introduced through a collection of dark kitchens in July last year, as “more than a lifeline.”

Starting with just four sites across London, Dishoom has since expanded its delivery reach outside the capital into Brighton, and more recently, Cambridge.

Clearly, the new revenue stream has provided a boost for the balance sheet the closure of dine-in, but Trollip also highlighted the role delivery has played in keeping its teams together, and driving engagement.

“It’s kept people employed,” he said. “It’s been something that we’ve managed to get really excited about and put a decent amount of energy into while our restaurants have been closed.”

For now, Trollip said the group was focusing primarily on improving the offer, though there is “certainly one eye” on expansion, and “half an eye on what the [at-home] market might look like when we reopen and people can come back in, sit next to each other, and enjoy the restaurants.”

But as its two recent dark kitchen openings suggest, delivery could form a part of the business’ regional strategy going forward, added Thakrar.

Thakrar said the business may use delivery – as it has done in Brighton and Cambridge – to meet demand as consumers “transfer from central to local,” but it will not distract from Dishoom’s traditional approach to growth - large sites in high-footfall locations.

“In the short-term it won’t be easy to get everyone back into town,” he said. “It’s going to take a little while. There’s going to be a party effect, where everyone wants to get back out, but I think there will also be an effect where there are less people around, and it’s going to take some time to grow back to previous volumes.”

In the meantime, Thakrar said Dishoom will “work really, really hard to get people back in,” but the business remains confident that central locations will adapt and recover.

“In the end we do believe the town centres will work,” he said. “They’ll be exciting places and people will come back in to play and to be together. The middle is the middle for a reason, because everyone can get to it.

“The town centres aren’t going to empty out and in due course I believe people will live more in town centres. So, we’re still excited about our big, beautiful restaurants, but we might be doing a couple of other things too.”

To watch all the footage from the event please click here.

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