Brody is a serial entrepreneur. In what seems almost like another lifetime he was the founder of O’Brien’s Sandwich Bars. At their time they were innovative and introduced a lot of new ideas into the sandwich business. Successfully rising in close step with the Celtic Tiger, they also experienced the subsequent challenges that hit all of Ireland, and went into liquidation in 2009. Undeterred Brody launched Camile Thai @ in 2010 and is now overseeing it’s subsequent growth and expansion across Ireland and into the UK.
— Jared Huet (@jaredhuet) May 15, 2015
How was 2014 for you? Wins?
2014 was good and bad. We tripled our business, which was great, but year on year revenue did not match this. The economy is still in a state of recovery and this impacted upon our business returns. We experienced 70% growth, increased our number of Irish outlets, and added our first one in London, so overall going in the right direction.
Anything you’d do differently?
No, except growing the brand quicker. With O’Briens we had over 140 outlets in the UK, but they were from Plymouth to Aberdeen. This time we are going to be carefully targeting London first. That’s three Irelands there alone!
Goals in 2015 and moving forwards?
We’d like to grow to 100 outlets. Initially by focusing on growing in the London market.
Some of our more delectable delights pic.twitter.com/vOtQ6iRJ5a
— Camile Thai (@CamileThai) April 20, 2015
Why did you chose Thai food, any plans to move into other genres too?
We identified a gap in the market. With increased broadband penetration more and more people are online but there was only one type of hot food being delivered to people’s homes, pizza. This is not the healthiest option. Thai food holds it’s heat well, is healthy, and we can even deliver a clear calorie count of under 600 per serving, with each order. We identified young millenials, in front of a computer all day long, coming home, to relax with their online devices. The opportunity was clear, to offer something hot that was not pizza. The more we researched it, the more we found out about all the healthy qualities of Thai food, and it’s fortunate ability to retain it’s warmth longer than many other types of food too.
How big a factor is the ‘healthiest takeaway in Ireland’ in your customers choice in buying your products?
Among our key demographic, very important. 60% of our customers are women. Not to generalise, but based on research, women are more interested in eating healthy food and being aware of their calorie intake. Therefore what we are offering matches closely with the group we are targeting. We are now offering brown rice as the default option and we have been surprised by how quickly this has been taken up by our customers. We are also able to easily offer vegetarian options, as well as celiac friendly options too.
— Camile Thai (@CamileThai) May 1, 2015
Camile Thai has an active online social media presence, how much important has this become for your business?
This is a very important part of how we do business. Over 50% of our orders come from online ordering. We are active on social media, to ensure that our customers know about us in the places where they are active. We are active on facebook and twitter, to ensure we can stay in touch with our customers and let them know about our latest offers.
It's vegetarian week so just to remind you all that we have loads of vegge options for you to choose from. http://t.co/MirHn8nqAK
— Camile Thai (@CamileThai) May 18, 2015
You don’t use twitter personally, why?
Camile Thai is very active twitter with over 7,000 followers. For me though, no. I wouldn’t want to start it, and then tail off later on. I’m 54 too! It’s not something I’m currently using.
What tips would you give to new entrepreneurs starting out today?
Read the Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I’d even insist that every entrepreneur read it. Make your MVP (minimum viable product), test it, get feedback quickly. Have a plan too. Even if you have to make changes, still have a plan you’re working from. Build up a good reputation too. I worked hard, and then built up a reputation that I worked hard. I’m not saying that I worked as hard as people though, just that I had the reputation that I was a hard working.
What are you strategies for work / life balance?
See my hard working reputation above!
We enjoyed your book, any plans for another one?
I’m really proud of my first book, and much less so of my second. I think I’ve done enough for now! I’m not a writer, better to leave that to other people.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?
We are a growing tech based company. We are looking for tech whizzes who love food. If you match this get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.