Fast-grow­ing chain has roots firmly in county

Gloucestershire Echo - - BUSINESS - [email protected]­ Olivia FOX

FROM hum­ble be­gin­nings on a street cor­ner to open­ing five restau­rants within three years, this sen­sa­tional business is proud of its Chel­tenham roots

Thanks to its win­ning com­bi­na­tion of Sri Lankan street food, warm hos­pi­tal­ity and pared back, street style in­te­ri­ors, The Co­conut Tree has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of many

From ceil­ings plas­tered in Sri Lankan news­pa­pers to a bar adorned in cop­per pen­nies set in resin, white and blue enamel bowls to beau­ti­fully colour­ful food – you would be for­given for think­ing that you might have walked into an em­bod­i­ment of a Pin­ter­est search for “shabby chic”.

The Co­conut Tree is an in­de­pen­dent Sri Lankan restau­rant chain that be­gan its suc­cess story in St Paul’s, Chel­tenham and has now been nom­i­nated for the New Business Of The Year award at the Glouces­ter­shire Live Business Awards thanks to its undis­puted suc­cess since open­ing a mere three years ago.

The Co­conut Tree be­gan serv­ing Sri Lankan street food in Novem­ber 2016, launched by five friends who orig­i­nally had a vi­sion and a head full of ideas but no ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial back­ing at the time.

The former pub was en­tirely gut­ted, re­dec­o­rated and of­fi­cially opened its doors, shoot­ing to the No1-ranked restau­rant in Chel­tenham on Tri­pad­vi­sor within three months.

Wher­ever pos­si­ble, the com­pany utilises lo­cal sup­pli­ers and busi­nesses to cover ev­ery as­pect, from Bath Road Butch­ers in Chel­tenham to lo­cal win­dow clean­ers.

This in turn means that although the team is bring­ing the bril­liant spices and ex­plo­sive flavours of Sri Lanka to Chel­tenham, they’re also still proud of their Glouces­ter­shire roots and work to sup­port other lo­cal busi­nesses, ac­knowl­edg­ing how im­por­tant this is.

Fol­low­ing their suc­cess, the team now have an as­tound­ing five sites, with a few more on the hori­zon. Orig­i­nally start­ing with five founders work­ing evenings to set up the restau­rant while still hold­ing down day jobs, they now em­ploy just over 150 staff across all of their sites, with this num­ber ex­pected to soar to 200 by the end of the year.

Last year saw two restau­rants open in Bris­tol with the most re­cent launch in

Cardiff city centre, which opened in June. There is no stop­ping them as they plan to open at least two more sites next year in key lo­ca­tions.

The Co­conut Tree is just one of the bril­liant fi­nal­ists in the Glouces­ter­shire Live Business Awards. To find out more about the awards and to get your hands on those all-im­por­tant tick­ets, then visit https://reach­ events/ west/ glouces­ter­shire-live- business-awards/

Pen­nies set in resin make an eye-catch­ing fea­ture at The Co­conut Tree, which now has five out­lets

Where it all be­gan for the team in St Paul’s, Chel­tenham

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