Flood update: Devastated restaurant owner thanks her loyal customers

Pam Mills

The owner of a restaurant who feared her business might be ruined following last month’s flood has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support of customers, who returned in their droves to show their support.

Varanya King was devastated when Kai’s Kitchen was inundated by water as drains across town struggled to cope with the unprecedented rainfall on August 24.

The restaurant was forced to close for three days as staff worked tirelessly to clean up the mess and replace as many of the damaged kitchen appliances as possible.

But as word spread, Mrs King found herself struggling to fit customers in.

The mother of two daughters said: “When we reopened it was very busy as lots of people had come to show their support. They told me they had read about what had happened in the Times and wanted to book.

“I am really grateful to them.”

She admitted the shock meant she is worried about any future flooding.

“Every time I hear it raining heavily, I think to myself ‘oh please, not again,'” she said.

And despite the well-wishes from loyal customers, the damage has had a lasting effect on the business.

She said: “Lots of kitchen appliances are still broken and we may be forced to close for up to three weeks to fix structural damage.”

Mrs King also said she had called Kent County Council (KCC) about concerns regarding the drain outside but has yet to see any action.

She said: “We called KCC on the Wednesday after the flood to come and clean the drain but even though they said they would come and check it, we are still waiting.”

Her son in-law Andrew Free, who is helping her deal with the insurance claim, estimated the ongoing costs to the business are at least £6,000, and set to rise.

He said: “The initial shock took a few days to get over and it seemed like the business was ruined. The insurers have paid £5,000 up front but there will be more costs incurred.

“The restaurant is still needing work and has dehumidifiers running round the clock.

“I don’t want to point the finger of blame at anyone but I back Greg Clark’s calls for an investigation into the floods.”

Despite the Times’ repeated attempts, KCC refused to confirm it has yet to inspect the drain in question.

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