The last month has seen both Casanova in Crookes, and Broomhill’s Balti King — both well-loved, local businesses — be put up for sale because their owners are seeking to retire.
The news has been followed almost instinctually by the question, “who will they be sold to?”.
In a time of perpetual economic crisis it’s also important to say that co-operatives are generally more resilient than conventional businesses and they are better at coping with market fluctuation. 76% of new co-ops survive their first five years, compared to only 42% of new companies, because risk is shared collectively rather than held by one or two owners.
And co-operatives also unlock wider benefits for their communities. Not being restricted to one or two generations of owners before being sold off means that co-operatives are more firmly rooted within their communities, which means more local spending, and often more interest taken to the future of their area. In a co-op, profits are not taken by owners or absentee shareholders, but are under the control of all their members to decide democratically how they think they should be used...
Having a worker-owned balti house would mean a more even distribution of the work process that recognised that all tasks — whether cooking, cleaning, waiting on customers, administration, accounts, and so on — are equally essential to a well-functioning restaurant, and should be rewarded accordingly.