Free loo roll with every breakfast at east London cafe

A cafe owner is helping customers who have been caught out by coronavirus panic-buying by offering a complimentary toilet roll with every cooked breakfast.

Shuhel Ahmed, 42, who runs the Cafe Zara Lounge in the Isle of Dogs, east London, began the offer after noticing all the empty toilet roll shelves in his neighbourhood.

He told the PA news agency: “I saw that people couldn’t get enough toilet roll and I have enough from my supplier so we are not short of it.”

Mr Ahmed estimates his offer only costs him 10p to 15p per meal in wholesale prices but said, so far, most customers have declined to take the toilet roll.

He said: “They probably don’t need it yet – maybe in the coming weeks, more people will take it. If they need it, I will be happy to provide it.”

Mr Ahmed began the cafe just five months ago, but has run a minicab business in the area for the past 20 years.

Usually around 30 to 40 people come for a sit-down breakfast every day, but the business has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Ahmed is also extending his offer to anyone elderly people in the area who might not be able to make it to the cafe themselves.

He said: “If there are any elderly people self-isolating I am happy to do free delivery on any food they order.

“Also, if they need any anti-bacterial or sanitisation products – like tissues or hand wash – they can order through me and I can get it from my supplier and I will do free delivery at cost price.

“It’s just to help the local people stuck inside, not for business, just to help.”

He continued: “The local elderly people are having a problem around here because when they go to a shop it is first come, first served, and there is nothing on the shelf.

“But there are loads of products with the supplier, so they don’t have any issues.”