A STALYBRIDGE fast-food restaurant hopes to serve up victory in the prestigious 2021 British Kebab Awards.
Tokies on Mottram Road has been nominated in the industry ‘Oscars’ and given a seal of approval by Jonathan Reynolds MP.
The kebab industry is worth over £2.2 billion to the UK economy and Tokies – also with shops in Pontefract, Didsbury and Royton – has been a growing part of it for nearly four years.
And the popular business is emerging from the pandemic with an expanded customer base, recognition for its selfless community interaction and now chance to rub shoulders with the Kings and Queens of the fast-food world.
“The nomination came as a surprise because we didn’t receive any prior notice,” said owner Raja Shef Yousef. “That made it extra sweet.
“We do feel a lot of the hard work we have put in is showing itself now. We know how much work has gone into the business to get to where we want to be.
“To know your local MP is recognising it as well as others is extra pleasing.”
Coping with the impact of coronavirus on the company brought major challenges but Shefad has
been delighted with the response from staff and from customers’ demands for Tokies’ kebabs, burgers, pizzas, sides, shakes and much more.
“We had to implement changes in how we operate,” he explained. “Ordinarily, we would have a lot more visitors to the shop.
“But we had to introduce a delivery service and put extra resources into our website rather than have people coming to the shop if possible.
“The staff have been great and coped with the extra challenges.
“We were worried trade wouldn’t be the same but we have managed to get to a level where it has still been very busy.
“I think our success has been a manifestation of how Tameside has taken to us as well. We give back because we get respect and love from the locals.”
Supplying local foodbanks, providing food and drink for NHS workers and involving themselves in Marcus Rashford’s food poverty campaign are just some of the ways Tokies have engaged with the community.
“Philanthropy isn’t about telling people what you do,” said Raja.
“But we do focus a lot on community work which I think is one of the contributory factors as to why we have been so successful.”
• Find out more about the ninth annual British Kebab awards and how to vote for Tokies online: voting.britishkebabawards.com