Companies

Dosa chain Sagar Ratna ladles out an expansion menu

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017

sagar ratna





Twenty five years after he first set up a humble Udupi style restaurant in Delhi, founder Mr Jayaram Banan is cooking up ambitious plans for his Sagar Ratna brand, fuelled by a $35 million equity infusion from India Private Equity Partners.

On the menu are 100 more Sagar Ratna branches in the next 4-5 years.

Mr Banan's JRB group which runs the Swagath chain of restaurants as well, has plans to get into the ready-to-eat foods category and branded packaged snacks segment, for which it has launched trial runs.

The company has set aside Rs 70-80 crore for just the expansion. Currently, it runs 28 Sagar Ratna branches on its own steam, while another 42 outlets are run under franchisee agreements.

Quality standards

“We are going to focus on running our restaurants on our own rather than expanding through franchising agreements in the future as we believe that will help us control quality standards across the chain,” said Mr Banan.

The New York-based private equity fund, India Equity Partners, now owns a controlling stake in Sagar Ratna Restaurants Private Ltd, and is driving the restaurant chain's expansion drive, which will be predominantly in North India.

Mr Banan's JRB group (which he controls independently) will pump in about Rs 10 crore annually to expand his other restaurant brand Swagath. “We plan to open 4-5 restaurants under Swagath in the next 4-5 years,” he said. While Sagar Ratna focuses on multi-cusine vegetarian food, Swagath has created a niche in the non-vegetarian fine dining business.

diversification into hotels

JRB Group has already diversified into the hotels business with a 4-star hotel called Ocean Pearl at Mangalore. “We will look at building our hotels in other destinations. We have already identified two additional locations including Goa for the expansion,” Mr Banan said.

The company now plans to enter the packaged snacks business with its namkeen mixtures. “The trial runs are on in Punjab for branded packaged snacks such as namkeen mixtures and based on its success we will decide to expand in a phased manner,” he said. The company has already set up a processing unit in Noida. He added that the company is also eyeing the ready-to-eat foods category.

In its silver jubilee year, Mr Banan now wants to steer the Sagar Ratna brand to its next level of growth. “The company needs to be steered towards the next level by professionals, which led us to get the private equity team on board,” he said.

>Meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

Published on April 23, 2012

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