Rakesh Gopalakrishnan explains what attracted him to Thai food brand Camile
How did you first get interested in franchising?
I had been working in the hospitality industry for a number of years as a restaurant manager and always had an eye to do my own thing. Franchising interested me in that it’s a way to reduce risk and work for yourself, but not by yourself.
How did you find out about Camile?
I got a job with Camile as a restaurant manager in their first London restaurant in Tooting Bec.
I knew Camile ran company-owned as well as franchised restaurants - and was aware that a number of the franchisees were doing well and expanding to more than one restaurant.
I subsequently became an operations manager in Camile and when they decided to franchise the original London restaurant I knew it well, knew the Camile team and was happy to work with them.
With some financial support from Camile, I got started with my own Camile franchise.
What’s special about your industry?
During the height of the pandemic, the only part of the restaurant business that did well was the takeaway and home delivery sectors.
With more than 70 per cent of our business being home delivery before the pandemic started, we just ramped up a gear to deal with the additional demand.
Since then, the industry has boomed and while our sales have come back a bit from the peak since restaurants reopened for dine-in we’re still ahead of 2019 before the pandemic started.
We’re really good at home delivery - from logistics to packaging, to a great online ordering experience, to a delicious healthy menu. The industry has grown hugely over the last couple of years and shows no sign of slowing down.
What do you like best about running your own business?
I love being responsible for my own destiny, building a team of great people to help achieve our business goals, making our guests happy through satisfying their hunger for delicious and healthy food and getting rewarded for our hard work by seeing our business grow.
And what’s the most challenging part?
It’s difficult in this climate to hire and retain good staff - although this is a problem faced by all restaurant businesses - and we have some good strategies in place to deal with it.
I don’t love financial administration, but know it’s really important to have the discipline.
At a glance
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
UK, Republic of Ireland and US
Minimum capital required:
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