MPs write to government on ‘exploitative’ dark kitchens in Haringey

Catherine West and David Lammy wrote to the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng about dark kitchens in Haringey

Catherine West and David Lammy wrote to the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng raising what they see as the issue of a growing number of dark kitchens across Haringey - Credit: Chris McAndrew / Nigel Sutton

Two Haringey MPs have written to the business secretary to raise concerns about what they describe as the “proliferation of ‘dark kitchens’” in the borough. 

Dark kitchens focus only on deliveries. While some do allow customers to collect their takeaway themselves, there are no options for customers to sit-in.  

It is currently unclear how many of them exist in the borough, though Haringey Council states that several operate from an industrial strip in Cranford Way in Hornsey.

One is run by Deliveroo, which also has a retrospective planning application in for a site in Finchley Road, Camden.

Guillemot Place in Coburg Road, Wood Green, is another location mentioned by the council. 

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, and David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, wrote to Kwasi Kwarteng to raise concerns about the effect dark kitchens are having on businesses in Haringey, as well as potential issues relating to hygiene. 

In the letter, they said: “While dark kitchens can be inspected like any other restaurant, they face less indirect accountability than a business with a front counter and public reputation to maintain would.” 

Haringey Council also provided a series of proposals, including regulating the cut that delivery apps can take from small business sales, and requiring apps to clearly state when food is made in a dark kitchen. 

Most Read

Ms West said: “Haringey is home to fabulous food, especially around Green Lanes, but traders are really worried that dark kitchens are growing.   

“They can be bad for local restaurants, disruptive to residents and exploitative to workers. The Royal Society for Public Health has found concerning evidence that chefs in these secret kitchens are hidden away in “cramped and low paid” environments.” 

Lewis Freeman, owner of Dunns Bakery and head of the Crouch End Traders Association, said that while he believes dark kitchens are of “negative net-worth to the high-street”, he has not come across any issues first-hand. 

Leader of the council Cllr Peray Ahmet said: “We want to help small business and cultivate thriving high streets. Buying food on delivery apps is part of that – it brings in extra orders when people want to eat at home.  

“But more and more food on apps comes from dark kitchens – prepared on industrial estates, closed off from the public.  

“The law needs to catch-up with a fast-changing world before our traditional high streets lose what makes them special.”