The company will soon double in size with the opening of two new restaurants in Bristol, one in central Clifton Triangle and the other near trendy Gloucester Road with brand director Anna Garrod saying the brand’s co-founders are ambitious to “open everywhere” in the UK.
Garrod, former managing director of nightclub group Po Na Na, says the team is mindful of not wanting to stretch operations or dilute the concept and is taking a “devilishly cunning” approach to new sites, and waiting until they could negotiate the right price.
“Together as a team we have a great plan - it’s about being authentic, and doing a mini rollout that’s done with spirit," she says.
“When it comes to sites we are being devilishly cunning, by waiting in the wings, and waiting for sites with big premiums to come back again. If we can’t afford it, we’ll wait. We have a good proposition, and hopefully we are attractive to landlords and they see us as a safe bet.”
The Coconut Tree was founded by five Sri Lankan friends - Parveen Thangiah, Rashinthe Rodrigo, Danushka Fernando, Tiranjan Fernando and Mithra Fernando - and currently has two sites in Oxford and Cheltenham. The Bristol Gloucester Road restaurant opens early next month.
The award-winning restaurant group serves small plate Sri Lankan food, with dishes including unripe baby jackfruit; devilled crispy pork; chicken kotthu; egg hopper and mutton or vegetable rolls.
“We would love to be everywhere, but everywhere authentically. It’s about doing it well, and opening in places that suit our operations geographically,” Garrod added.
“People will always prefer an operation that’s authentic. If you can invest in your people and brand, and not squeeze it to death through cost control, and you can keep the vibe alive, then you can achieve anything.”
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