Camile Thai Kitchen has partnered with Reef Technologies to open a new dark kitchen in London, as it looks to grow its presence in the delivery-only space.

The first ‘neighbourhood kitchen’ to open under the new partnership will be in Canary Wharf, and it is hoped to be one of several planned for the UK.

The operator said that dark kitchens were an important component in its non-traditional franchising growth strategy and would offer a new avenue for urban consumers to access their brand.

Dublin-based Camile Thai recently announced plans to open 15 news sites in the UK and Ireland, with the expansion into dark kitchens to form part of this expansion alongside bricks and mortar restaurants. Seven of these locations will be in the UK.

Jonathan Dockrell, UK general manager, Camile Thai, said: “Camile is embracing ghost kitchen opportunities to expand their reach beyond traditional brick and mortar restaurants in every neighbourhood across London.”

He said the appeal of these kinds of kitchens were that they could introduce the brand to denser, urban areas, without the overheads associated with operating a traditional restaurant space.

Speaking to MCA in February, founder Brody Sweeny said that delivery was in the brand’s DNA, and that it could see the company building itself up as “a Domino’s for Thai food”.

Camile Thai also announced last month that it would be rolling out a contact-free tipping solution, over the coming months, which would enable customers to tip the company’s delivery drivers directly.

The Thai chain currently has 37 sites, including six in London. Its upcoming openings including Epsom, Twickenham and Streatham. Camile Thai told MCA that Covid restrictions had “impeded our momentum” but that it hoped to open in Epsom in June.

The business is planning to raise €10 million euros as part of its plans to progress to a technology-centric strategy. “Our chain of restaurants was the first in Europe to deliver its menu by drone earlier this year and has plans to automate its kitchen operations with robotics in 2021,” it said.