Pramod Thankappan, Camile Franchise Owner & Camile Franchise Consultant
I began my career at Camile back in 2011 as a manager, and I never imagined that I would be the owner of 4 franchises, with more on their way.
Camile was only in its infancy when I joined, with only 1 restaurant in Dublin to their name. I had never encountered a fast-casual restaurant that is insistent on using fresh and high-quality ingredients. Camile deserved to be classed apart from your average takeaway, whose food is usually riddled with MSG and is generally very unhealthy.
Over the years, we built a strong brand and reputation as the Best Thai in Dublin, which allowed us to successfully open restaurants every year. As a company, Camile now has 10 company owned restaurants and 11 franchises.
I had significant management experience in the food industry and that allowed me to progress through the company and become Camile’s first head of operation. I saw that Camile’s business model was thriving in the Dublin market and the more I’ve seen of this market develop, the more you can see people’s attitude towards food is changing. More traditional restaurants are giving way to fast casual and delivery restaurants and it’s an exciting market to be a part of.
As a franchise, it is great to be able to be in an environment where you work closely with people in the Camile head office. There’s always a worry that a company may lose interest in a restaurant once it becomes franchised as their responsibility diminishes. That hasn’t been the case at Camile, as they have been very attentive to all my needs and offered their support when I’ve faced certain issues.
Camile has grown and developed enormously since I first joined, but it has still kept the core culture and principles which drive it. It has been a pleasure to have been working with Camile for the last eight years. I’ve learnt a vast about the restaurant industry and that has enabled me to achieve success with my 4 franchises. I hope that I’ll be working with them for many more years to come.
Q&A with Rakesh Gopalakrishnan
Camile Thai is proud to announce Rakesh Gopalakrishnan as the first owner of a Camile Thai restaurant franchise in London. Camile Thai has over 30 restaurant locations across the UK and Ireland and is known for its healthy Thai food, delivered expertly to its customers. With over 19 years of experience within the hospitality industry, Rakesh has an intimate knowledge of the store he recently acquired, as he has been managing it for over a year. We spoke with Rakesh to find out a little more about this exceptional man.
Where were you working before Camile?
My last job before joining Camile was as a Multi-Site Manager at a chain of restaurants based in London. Prior to that, I worked as a General Manager in London’s West end with a group of Thai restaurants. Although I started my career working in hotels, most of my experience comes from managing high volume restaurants across various parts of the country.
What about Camile attracted you to the job?
I’ve worked in high-end Thai restaurants before, so I was familiar with the cuisine, but what attracted me to Camile was the health-focused, community-oriented, dynamic nature of the role. I could see a huge opportunity with a lot of space to grow and experiment. Camile does bring a lot of life and creativity to the concept of management. I decided to take on the franchise opportunity so I could fully realize what I wanted to do with the business. The support that I have has never been matched by another employer, in terms of one-to-one contact and interaction.
What is the secret sauce to being a Camile Thai franchisee?
Lots of hard work, energy, curiosity and eagerness are the key factors. You have to be hands-on, lead by example, and manage your team from the front. I always try to bring positive energy, and passion, and I’m not afraid to ask questions or implement new ideas.