Popular Sri Lankan restaurant chain takes cuisine to another level with Target

One of the UK’s leading, award-winning Sri Lankan restaurant chains, The Coconut Tree, is taking the industry by storm and with the help of Target Catering Equipment has just opened its fifth restaurant within three years.

It all started with a group of friends living in London and Cheltenham coming together with a vision to change their lifestyle. In 2016, their dreams were about to become a reality and it didn’t take long for the group to relocate and set up in a place they were to call home above a small pub in the backstreets of Cheltenham.

Once relocated, they realised they were sitting on something with potential and sought permission to lease the bar and kitchen of 59 St Paul’s Road, Cheltenham. After a quick renovation, The Coconut Tree was born.

It became clear after being opened and operational for a short time that the outdated and disorganised gas-powered kitchen needed upgrading in order to keep up with demands and make a safer, more comfortable working environment. Through recommendation from a friend, The Coconut Tree contacted local catering equipment manufacturer and supplier Target Catering Equipment for help.


Initially seeking advice on how to improve ventilation in the gas fired kitchen, Target recommended that they should consider switching to induction cooking technology due to its benefits of use within a small kitchen space and minimal extraction requirements.


Following trials of the equipment at Target’s demonstration kitchen, the advice was taken on board and with the money saved on not having to install a gas safety compliant ventilation system, funds became available to invest in other equipment needed for the kitchen, allowing for a complete kitchen overhaul.

The Coconut Tree engaged Target as commercial kitchen designers and equipment manufacturers to upgrade the entire kitchen, installing the latest energy saving induction wok technology along with bespoke fabricated items, specifically designed and manufactured to meet the restaurant’s unique requirements and ensure customers would be treated to only the very best Asian cuisine.

Following the success of the Cheltenham restaurant, the team of friends decided to expand their venture by opening a restaurant in Oxford and two further restaurants in Bristol, each with the help and guidance of Target to design layouts, manufacture bespoke stainless steel equipment and supply the latest kitchen equipment.

At the end of June 2019, The Coconut Tree was on schedule to open its fifth restaurant in Cardiff, all within three years of opening its first.

The team at Target, Gloucester-based family-run business that has been providing bespoke catering equipment to the foodservice industry for over 30 years, installed a range of modular equipment including wok induction hobs, ovens and grills, helping the chefs to serve up the authenticity of its renowned Sri Lankan tapas style dishes.

Rodrigo Rashinthe, Operations Director for The Coconut Tree, said; “Following a recommendation from a friend, we decided Target Catering Equipment were the perfect choice to help design our new, sustainable kitchen spaces across our chain.

“Our restaurants were getting busier and busier so we needed equipment that could cope with the growing demands of the business. The Target team offered a friendly, knowledgeable service and we couldn’t rate them highly enough for their exceptional induction equipment.”

The Coconut Tree prides itself on bringing Sri Lankan street food to the UK, where guests can experience an explosion of flavours in its wide range of vegetables, meats, fish and its famous fiery Cocotails.


Since opening, the chain has won several nationwide awards including; The Observer’s ‘Best Value Eats South West 2018 RU’, So Glos’ ‘Best Restaurant in Gloucestershire 2018’, and ‘Best New Business’ in the Bristol Life Awards 19/20, to name just a few.

Rodrigo added; “The equipment has allowed us to provide a better quality of service to our customers and our chefs are finding the innovative catering equipment technology a lot easier and safer to use.”

Target Catering Equipment is widely known for its commercial induction ranges, which have been recognised as highly sustainable products by industry body CESA/FCSI and the Carbon Trust. The company also specialises in designing sustainable commercial kitchens including kitchen ventilation systems, assisting customers with overcoming difficult kitchen ventilation and layout issues.

David Pedrette, Managing Director of Target Catering Equipment, said; “We’re delighted Rodrigo and all the team at The Coconut Tree are enjoying our equipment as much as their customers enjoy their tasty Sri Lankan dishes! We hope they continue to enjoy the many benefits of sustainable induction equipment in the many years of successful business to come.”

The Top Benefits of Going Sustainable in the Kitchen for Food Industry Businesses

The Oxford dictionary defines sustainability as ‘the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level’, and the ‘avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance’.

When thinking of sustainability, we often think of climate change and the massive steps required by the world to reduce our carbon footprint, but the truth is, sustainability matters in all types of environments, no matter how big or small, and there are a number of things you can do to improve your business’s sustainability, whilst helping in the battle against climate change.


The modern commercial kitchen, for instance, has for many year’s relied upon gas and electric cooking equipment, but how sustainable are they for businesses and how do they compare to the latest cooking technologies including ever-popular induction cooking ranges?

Selecting the right cooking equipment is crucial to any restaurant or other catering business as acquiring the best solution can save on energy usage and reduce overhead costs amongst many other benefits, which ultimately increases profits. So, it’s a big decision to make!

Here, we list some of the top benefits of choosing a commercial induction range for your commercial kitchen and how it can help your business become more sustainable:

Induction - Faster than gas and electric radiant plate hob cooking

One of the foremost advantages of induction cooking technology is its speed. While an electric hotplate takes just under ten minutes to boil 1 litre of water, and gas burner roughly eight minutes, a 3.5kW induction hob can achieve the result in well under three minutes.

Induction technology works by generating heat within the pan base rather than through the transfer of heat from a heating element or flame beneath the pan. Induction technology transfers 90% of energy used directly into the product inside the pan with only 10% waste heat going to atmosphere, compared to a gas which wastes 60% of energy. Making induction hob cooking much more energy efficient, saving time and more importantly energy, which results in a significantly more sustainable cooking process.

Induction - Concentrated heat to reduce energy wastage


It’s well known that commercial kitchens with gas and electric ranges can get incredibly hot especially in summer months. Heat is generated from a source beneath the pot and transferred through the pan into the product, however, in most cases this can result in over half of its heat being lost into the surrounding environment. Whilst this makes for difficult working environments for chefs, it also means 60 percent of the energy it takes to cook something is being wasted, which is an unprecedented amount in the grand scheme of trying to achieve a more sustainable business.

An eco-friendly attribute of the induction range is stopping excess heat from escaping by generating heat directly in the pan and transferring the concentrated energy into the product.

Thus, also keeping kitchens cooler avoiding the need for energy-zapping kitchen ventilation systems and air conditioning heating and cooling systems to keep the room at a comfortable working temperature.

Induction - Glass ceramic cooktops offer long-term durability

The eco-friendly glass ceramic material used in induction cooktops carry many additional benefits.

For instance, glass is a poor heat conductor meaning minimal heat is transferred from the pans across the surface. In fact, you can put your hand around the glass cooking area while the pan is in use and would only be warm to the touch.

The easy cleaning and rapid cool-down of the material also means chefs don’t have to worry about burnt on food, ensuring a durable, easy clean range for long-term commercial use.

Induction - Integrated with smart technology


Another major benefit of the induction cooking ranges is that they can come equipped with many bells and whistles, most of which increase sustainability. Some models, for example, have sensors that can recognise the pan temperature and beep to alert the chef or switch off in a pan boil dry situation.

Overall, induction offers the power, responsiveness and control of gas and the safety with the sustainability of renewably sourced electricity. It can generate high temperatures in a short time, while also being able to heat pots and pans at very low precise temperatures in a short time, while also being able to heat pots and pans at very low precise temperatures, so chefs can cook and boil faster, and simmer with more precision. Its energy saving capabilities make induction cooking significantly more sustainable than its gas and electric alternatives, and help create a healthy, productive and profitable cooking environment.

For more information on induction cooking technology - Click Here