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Saravana Bhavan to open more outlets

June 25, 2003 11:39 IST

Just three months since its launch in north India, the south Indian food chain, Hotel Saravana Bhavan has firmed up its expansion plans.

The Rs 70-crore (Rs 700 million) restaurant chain, which opened its first north Indian branch at Delhi's Janpath in March this year, has zeroed in on a high-traffic area like Karol Bagh in the city for its second outlet.

By November, a large 25,000-sq feet multi-storeyed outlet is expected to be operational.

Though the company officials are tight-lipped about the details of further expansion, sources close to the company say that Saravana Bhavan is also planning to develop highway properties.

Currently, it is checking out locations on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road and the Delhi-Agra highway.

Back at its second outlet in Delhi, the company has designed a self-service section, an ice-cream parlour, roof top restaurant, AC and non-AC sections.

The new restaurant will be housed in a three-storeyed building with dining facilities spread across all floors, including the basement.

To kick-start its north Indian operations, the Chennai-based Hotel Saravana Bhavan floated a new company, Thanigai Murugan Restaurants, last October.

Speaking to Business Standard earlier, the company's promoter and managing director, P Rajagopal, said: "We've earmarked Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) as investment for the 12 restaurants we plan to open in Delhi alone." He admitted that Saravana Bhawan was also eyeing the Mumbai market.

Changes at the restaurant's Janpath outlet are also on the cards. The outlet will soon have special privileges for its VVIP customers. There will be a separate section for Parliamentarians and customers who move with bodyguards.

"There has been an increase in the number of VVIPs visiting our branch. The reasoning behind setting up a separate section is to avoid discomfort to our regular customers," says a restaurant source.

Since its opening, the 190-seater Janpath outlet has had on an average 1,800 people choosing from the vegetarian menu daily. HSB's first outlet opened in Chennai in the late 1970s.

As of now, it has 18 restaurants in Chennai alone, where between 80,000 and 1,00,000 people eat every day. It also has five franchisee outlets in Singapore, Dubai and California.

Over the past few years, HSB has moved into various avenues of the food and hospitality industry.

Besides restaurants, it operates fast food centres and outdoor catering. It also manufactures ice creams and confectioneries.

Yusuf Begg in New Delhi