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Rakesh Gopalakrishnan's Q&A

Camile Thai Kitchen Stand: 541
Rakesh Gopalakrishnan's Q&A
Rakesh Gopalakrishnan - Camile Thai Franchisee
In his own words

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 doing my own thing. Franchising interested me in that it is 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 – and 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, really the only section of the restaurant business that did well was the takeaway and home delivery sectors. With more than 70% 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 re-opened 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 are the best bits 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 get rewarded for our hard work by seeing our business growing.

And the most difficult bits?

It’s difficult in this climate to hire and retain good staff – although this is a problem we face with 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 discipline.

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