A Leeds takeaway owner has spoken about the challenges of running a street-food business while raising kids and maintaining a marriage. While nursing her youngest, she couldn’t fit inside her own trailer and had to shout orders to her staff from outside.
Rita Prasher, 38, is a mother-of-two, Aryan, six and Esha, three, and she currently runs an Indian-street food trailer with her husband Vik. Rita’s Indian Kitchen currently operates in Leeds Dock, the city and Kirkstall Abbey.
The business started out as Rita’s “side hustle which became my main hustle”, she left her previous 15-year career as a maths teacher to bring her traditional and adapted cuisine to the public’s hungry mouths. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing admits Rita.
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The Bradford woman, whose heritage lies in Punjab, launched the business in 2017 and left teaching in 2021. She said: “I started this business in 2017 with zero setup and transitioned in 2018 to a trailer. I had two kids in between when I was starting the business, which I don’t advise If you want to keep your marriage safe!”
At one point, she wasn’t able to “fit in” to the trailer as she was carrying her daughter Esha around in a sling when she was seven-weeks old. Rita said: “I had Esha in the sling, I had this big baby in front of me and because of that I couldn’t fit into the trailer. Plus there were health and safety issues as well.
“I had to tell people what to do from outside the trailer. I was like ‘now get this, now do that, cook this’. When everything was ready, full flow, I was just watching by the side whilst nursing my daughter in the sling.
“It was actually quite enjoyable! I was just telling people what to do just standing there on the side, it was brilliant. Usually it was quite frustrating when I couldn’t cook but my husband is pretty good at overseeing it.”
Rita says “balancing” responsibilities of parenthood and running a street-food trailer can also prove challenging at times. Rita and Vik have to get up at the crack of dawn on weekends to load the trailer for Kirkstall Abbey, then have to get the kids ready once that’s done, packing their bags.
Vik then takes the children to either football practice or the park, while Rita takes the trailer to the historic abbey. Then another family member will help, so Vik can help with the trailer, and they’ll make sure the kids get their homework done.
Rita said: “It’s about being super-organised, balancing and being disciplined. It’s about making sure that over time we do have time with our kids. First and foremost, it’s family first.”
Rita says she’s never taken her trailer with her to drop the kids off at school. She laughs: “I think they would be ashamed at school then. I think they would be embarrassed. I am not going to do that one!”
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