Restaurant run by entirely transgender staff finds major success

A restaurant in India is fully owned and operated by transgender community members. 

The Covai Trans Kitchen is so successful, a second shop is already underway. Everything from preparation, packaging and delivery is completed by a trans employee. The group of 10 members founded the business in the wake of the pandemic when Coimbatore District Transgender Association president Sangeetha noticed that joblessness was seriously hurting the local trans community. 

Initially, the restaurant struggled to find a location due to transphobic prejudices. 

“Our restaurant is the first in the state that is run entirely run by the transgender community members,” Sangeetha told Indian Express. “People were hesitant to provide us a space for rent, some of them told [us] they are not sure how we are going to run a restaurant all by ourselves as it has not been done before. After a long struggle, with the help of a lawyer, we found a place in RS Puram.”

However, Covai Trans Kitchen hasn’t had any issues finding clientele. 

“Public and local media has been very kind to us. With their support, we are able to attract more customers. We have started receiving bulk orders, up to 15 kilograms of biryani is sold on a daily basis,” Sangeetha said.

Sangeetha already had experience running her own canteen for 15 years. Meanwhile, other staff members received training in catering services from CSI Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science. 

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