Story of P Rajagopal: Cleaned tables as a boy, now owns restaurant chains around the globe

Story of P Rajagopal

Born into a terribly poor family, the man had tasted hardship of financial crunch very closely since he was very young. He was born in a remote village with no road connectivity, not even a bus stop. Somehow, on a half-filled stomach, he could study in his village’s government school till STD 7. But his home needed him more than his classroom.

To add to his family income, he was forced to leave his studies midway and turn towards city. To provide at least two meals to his family members, he took up a job in a restaurant where his job was to clean leftovers from the tables after customers left.

While working in the restaurant, P Rajagopal learnt to prepare tea. He felt a little better about himself and switched to working at a grocery store. He was a keen observer and picked up an idea. He wanted to set up his own store but had no money to fuel his dream.

He turned to his father and elder brother for some support and took a leap. He opened his shop in KK Nagar of Chennai and gradually turned it into a tea stall. The business did well and money started seeping in day after day.

He did a survey of the nearby area and found out there was no decent place for people to eat and launched a restaurant named Sarvana Bhawan in the year 1979. To everyone’s surprise, P Rajagopal became the founder of one of the most popular restaurant chains in the world.

In those days, the restaurant culture had not made its way in the country which is why Rajagopal thought it was thought it could be a game-changer to venture into this area. In the initial years, he was very particular about the quality of food Sarvana Bhawan provided and that too at an affordable cost.

This intent incurred him a loss of Rs 10,000 every month but the approach had given him one edge. He became popular among the people of Chennai and had their trust.

Now Sarvana Bhawan is a brand in itself but many don’t know that it is also popular for taking good care of its employees. Rajagopal’s consistent approach has made him the founder of this chain restaurant which today has nearly 60 outlets around the world with a turnover running in crores of rupees.

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