This is a real rags-to-riches story of a man who once worked as a waiter and merely earned Rs 4 monthly. Aspiring for a better life, he dared to set up a small roadside stall and over the years, successfully converted it to India’s one of the famous restaurant chain.
Over five decades ago, 10-year-old Suresh Poojari arrived in the city of dreams Mumbai from a small village in Karnataka named Padukone. He began working as a commercial help in a small South Bombay-eatery against Rs 4 a month. After that, he started working as a waiter in the Bombay Port Trust canteen for Rs 6/month.
Around 1962, Suresh dared to dream bigger. He created ‘his own menu’ with fresh fruit juices and Mumbai’s favourite Paavbhaji. He had started his eatery on a cart in Chowpatty. This cart model, menu choice and quality of food struck a chord with his customers and also revolutionised the city’s fast food culture.
With the help of a distant relative, Suresh installed another stall opposite Naaz Cinema on Lamington Road. The area is an electronics hub and gave birth to a small joint serving fresh a variety of vegetarian snacks (Pav Bhaji, Sandwiches, Idly, Chinese fried rice etc.) and fresh fruit juices. Suresh Poojari lovingly named it Sukh Sagar.
After this successful attempt, his family urged him to do something in South India, too. It was then when Suresh decided to launch his first Sukh Sagar restaurant in Bangalore. Today, Sukh Sagar has 22 units – eight in Mumbai, seven in Bangalore, one in Mysore, one in Chennai, two in Dubai, one in Saudi Arabia and two in Qatar and many more in the pipeline.
Brands like Zaffran, Kobe’s and City Bar are some of Bangalore’s favourite eateries. All these joints are managed and run by Suresh’s eldest son Siddharth. After working for six years for his father, Siddharth was promoted and given the charge of the Sukh Sagar chain in 1999. Today, he is the Managing Director of Sukh Sagar Hotels Ltd.
Not just this, Sukh Sagar also manufactures packaged foods like namkeen, sweets and ice-creams. The next expansion is planned in the area of spices and masalas. Also, Sukh Sagar is all set to establish a warehouse in Dubai from where they plan to export these products to international market.
Apparently, while battling hunger 50 years ago, Suresh had laid the foundation of Sukh Sagar primarily to feed people. This ideology survived and flourished even after he tasted the sweet nectar of success. Sukh Sagar (translating to Ocean of Happiness) feeds and educates underprivileged children at their own cost as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Suresh Poojari is more than just a success story. He is an inspiration both as a human being and an entrepreneur. We truly need more people like him. Share the man’s story and create your own ocean of happiness.