Numbers employed at the Brody Sweeney-led Camile Thai restaurant group are set to top 1,100 by the end of this year.

Mr Sweeney has confirmed that company-owned and franchised outlets are on course to hit the employee figure in the coming months, arising from the opening of 15 new outlets this year.

The new outlets are in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Currently, there are 45 Camile Thai outlets in operation, including 10 in the UK and three in the USA.

Mr Sweeney also confirmed that revenues at the group last year increased by 23% across Ireland and the UK.

Mr Sweeney was commenting on new accounts which show that profits at a Camile entity, Camile Thai Kitchen Ltd, last year more than tripled to €433,207 for the year.

On the 2020 performance, Mr Sweeney said: "Camile was extremely fortunate during the pandemic to have a business that is primarily located in residential suburbs, and which was doing 70% of its sales off premises before the pandemic took hold.

He said: "It meant for Camile no material fall off of sales, but rather during the year we added sales at a good rate."

Asked on other Covid-19 impacts on the business, Mr Sweeney said: "It has accelerated the move to digital, where now more than half our sales come on our own proprietary app."

He said that it has "introduced a whole new cohort to the idea of hot food delivered to the home, many of whom have stayed with us as regular customers".

The business has also been involved in a trial of Camile Thai orders being delivered by drone in Oranmore, Co Galway in a partnership with Drone partners, Manna.

Mr Sweeney said that thousands of deliveries were done for Camile and other businesses to paying customers.

Mr Sweeney said: "This is the first service of its kind operating in Europe, and we hope to extend the trial into a bigger town later this year."

He said: "Typically from drone to customer takes less than three minutes. Feedback has been extremely positive. Quicker than a car, and environmentally friendlier as well."

On Camile's 2021 performance, Mr Sweeney said: "While there has been some slow down in growth from very high growth 2020, we are seeing that a lot of our new customers are "sticky" and continuing to re-order even as the country continues to open up from lockdown."

Accumulated profits at the company last year totalled €2.5m.