Featured Business - The Sukh Sagar Story

Posted by fshsfhsfh on Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This post is based on an interview with Siddarth Poojari, a second generation member of the Sukh Sagar family.
The Sukh Sagar Story:
In 1962, a young man, Suresh Poojari from Kundapura (a town near Mangalore), went to Mumbai (the City of Dreams at that time for a lot of Indians from the smaller towns). He worked in the docks, local restaurants for a few years. Suresh started his own business by selling fresh fruit juices on a cart in the Chowpatty area. This cart model became famous and thus was born Sukh Sagar – a small joint serving fresh a variety of Vegetarian snacks (Pav Bhaji, Sandwiches, Idly, Chinese fried rice etc.) and fresh fruit juices.
With a successful business under his belt, Suresh’s family urged him to do something in the south – thus was born the first Sukh Sagar in Bangalore – in the Gandhinagar area with a 1000 sft space serving the same cuisine as in Mumbai, with the addition of a variety of Chaats. The proposition was the same – reasonably priced Vegetarian snacks and fresh juices. In the meantime, business in Mumbai expanded with “Sukh Sagar Welcome”, a place which had an AC section and a non-AC section.
Today, Sukh Sagar has 22 units – 8 in Mumbai, 7 in Bangalore, 1 in Mysore, 1 in Chennai, 2 in Dubai, 1 in Saudi Arabia and 2 in Qatar, with a few more already planned (4 in Chennai, 1 in Dubai). A North American foray in the works (based out of Toronto). All these units are company owned and operated.
The company is now managed by Suresh Poojary's three sons. They believe in controlled/conservative growth and have shied away from Venture Capital investments to fuel growth. The company is working on a franchise model though to drive future growth. The first franchise is expected to be operational in Bangalore very soon. The plan is to create a model unit in each city, set-up centralized procurement and support systems and then expand in the city through the franchise model. Their business model is very flexible and depending on the space and the investment the franchisee brings in, they will create a suitable format – QSR, Sit-down restaurant etc. The typical investment range is 30 lakhs to 2 Crores depending on the format.
According to Siddarth Poojari, who also operates City Bar (in UB City), Kobe Sizzlers (Koramangala) and Zafran (St.Mark’s Road), restauranteurs will need to line up enough investment to sustain about 7 months of operations (3-4 months of pre-operating expenses and 3 months for the restaurant to establish and break-even).

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