Much loved Luton takeaway Chicken George closes its doors after almost four decades

But owners have pledged to continue supporting the town and its community
The Luton branch of Chicken George has now closedThe Luton branch of Chicken George has now closed
The Luton branch of Chicken George has now closed

A well-loved Luton takeaway has closed its doors after almost 40 years in the town.

Award-winning Chicken George, which opened on Hitchin Road in 1985, had closed earlier this year for an extensive refit.

But amid questions over its future, its owners have now said the shop is too small to be viable and it will not reopen.

Its shops in Bedford and Hitchin will remain open.

Founded by Ray Cheah, Chicken George is now managed by his son Chris, who has worked for a number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

He said he had been subjected to “a lot of abuse” since the takeaway closed its doors.

In a message to customers, he said: "Since we closed, I have been constantly receiving lots of personal messages and a lot of abuse from people wanting to know what’s going on and saying that I’ve forgotten my roots, to remember where I came from and to bring back George Snr and to start thinking about the community and not just myself.”

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But he said that after conversations with his dad, they had reached the sad conclusion that they couldn’t let their hearts rule their heads, and made the “hugely difficult” decision to close the Luton branch for the foreseeable future.

Chris said: "I was born and raised in Luton and since taking over the running of the business I have constantly been supporting and donating to local charities and the community as a whole. I have spent thousands on sponsoring local children’s and adults football teams as well as providing over 3,000 free meals to children who can’t afford to eat during the school holidays and also helping to feed the homeless through the local church.

“We, like everyone else, are currently having to deal with a huge increase in costs right across the whole business, with energy price rises, suppliers price rises and increases in food costs, soaring business rates and fuel price rises etc.”

He added: “I understand that this decision will upset a huge amount of people, and because of this, I will probably receive a lot of negative comments and abuse. Luton is where my roots were planted, where I was born and bred, I know these streets as much as any Lutonian and I know we would not be where we are today without you guys. But rest assured, we will still continue to support both the town and wider community as we always have done in the past.

"Sometimes we all have to make extremely difficult decisions and make changes, and believe me this has been a very difficult decision to make that me and my dad have deliberated over for a long time. But now, no matter how hard it is, we all have to adapt and now look forward, and maybe, before you know it, we will be back again in Luton bigger and better than before, giving you just what you want, Chicken for the People.”

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