Curry house trialling UK’s first drone delivery service

The Shish Mahal in Glasgow has teamed up with drone pilot John Crawford to try out the drone deliveries.

Curry house trialling UK’s first drone delivery service SWNS via SWNS
The Shish Mahal in Glasgow has teamed up with a drone pilot.

A curry house is trialling the UK’s first drone delivery service – and said the eco-friendly takeaways are the quickest way to get food to customers.

The Shish Mahal in Glasgow has teamed up with drone pilot John Crawford, 60, to try out the drone deliveries – which would get food to their customers faster than by car.

Owner Asif Ali, 48, described drone deliveries as the future and said he hopes to see the service up and running soon.

Dad-of-three Asif, from Glasgow, said: “We are very excited about it, it’s the future.

“It is still in the testing stages, and safety is paramount, but we hope to see drone delivery very soon.”

Drone operator John, who runs Eye in the Sky Glasgow, developed the idea during lockdown after seeing crowds of people queuing outside takeaways.

John, who is a regular at the curry house – famous for ‘creating’ the chicken tikka masala – approached the owners with the idea and arranged a test flight in December.

Asif Ali and Andle Ali - owners of the Shish Mahal. SWNS via SWNS
Asif Ali and Andle Ali – owners of the Shish Mahal.

He said the idea is still in the ‘research and development’ stages but thinks drones could be the future of delivery services.

John’s drones travel up to 50mph and stay in the air for 30 minutes – and he said the eco-friendly service would help keep cars off the road.

Grandad-of-four John said: “I have been a customer at The Shish Mahal for years and when I came up with the idea I spoke to the owners and they were interested in it.

“We decide to test it outside the restaurant attaching a carrier bag to the drone just with cardboard inside and fly it around the street.

“The bag hanging underneath the drone didn’t really work, it’s all about the weight.

“So now I am looking at creating a polystyrene box which we will attach to the drone and do more trials with that.

“I had thought about drone takeaways before lockdown, but I think covid just accelerated the idea.

“I was driving along Great Western Road to pick up my takeaway during lockdown and could see all these people queuing to pick up their food for various places.

“We are in the research and development stages with it but I would love to progress it.”

And restaurant owner Asif said it could change the future of takeaways – and even be cheaper for customers.

Asif added: “We are doing this with quality in mind, drone deliveries will help get food to customers faster and still at top quality.

“We want our customers to get their food the same way it left the restaurant.

“In my experience delivery drivers get lost and traffic can be an issue – anything can happen really, and we think the fastest way to deliver food is as the crow flies.

“Its eco-friendly, drone produce no emissions, and we are very conscious about the environment.

“It could end up being cheaper for the customer.”

John, from Glasgow, said his drones can lift up to 1kg.

He said: “It’s innovative and totally different – I really think it’s the future that drones could be delivering takeaways in the next few years.

“The drones can fly about five miles away, travel up to 50mph, and stay in the air for around 30 minutes.

“The drone I have just now can lift up to 1kg and your curry and rice doesn’t weigh that much anyway.

“It would be very eco-friendly and help get cars off the road.

“Drones don’t emit any fumes, they are rechargeable, and most parts can be recycled.

“We are in the early stages just now but if we can come up with a box that can be lifted and is easily detached it would be a UK first– no one else is doing this right now.”