Saravana Bhavan

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Hotel Saravana Bhavan
GenreSouthern Indian Vegetarian Cuisine
Founded1981; 38 years ago (1981)
FounderP. Rajagopal
Number of locations
39 (in india), 43 (outside india), 16 (to be opened)
Area served
India, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Oman, Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Singapore, Bahrain, UAE, UK, USA, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, South Africa, Qatar, Hong Kong, Thailand, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand
Key people
P. R. Shiva Kumaar
R. Saravanan
ProductsFood, Sweets, Bakery, Ice Cream
ServicesFast Food, Take Away, Home Delivery and Outdoor Catering
RevenueIncrease29,782.4 million (US$430 million) (2017)
Number of employees
8,700 (in India - 2014)

Hotel Saravana Bhavan is the largest South Indian vegetarian restaurant chain in the world, founded in 1981 with 5,000 capital in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.[1] They have more than 39 locations in India (30 in Chennai) and 87 across several countries in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.[2][3]


One of the most popular overseas branches, located in Edison, New Jersey, United States

P. Rajagopal opened a tiny grocery shop on the outskirts of the city.[4] In 1992, Rajagopal on his visits to Singapore observed the functioning of the multinational fast food joints like McDonald's and used them as a model.[5]

By the 1990s, the Saravana Bhavan chain spread throughout neighbourhoods in Chennai. In 2000, Saravana Bhavan opened its first branch outside India, opening a franchise in Dubai, with a large number of Indian expatriates. It eventually expanded to Paris, Frankfurt, London, New York City, Dallas, Toronto, Stockholm, Doha and Auckland. While the restaurants gained popularity among non-Indians, they mostly target the South Asian expatriate population. They are sometimes referred to as "canteen-like joints are strictly aimed at Indian expatriates missing a taste of home".[6] It is considered to be a high volume, low margin venture which is labour-intensive. Saravana Bhavan sends workers from India to work in their foreign branches.[7] The overseas outlets are run by franchisees.[citation needed]


The chain founder P. Rajagopal was in the public eye due to his conviction and sentence to life prison for his involvement in the murder of employee Prince Santhakumar in 2001 and harassment of his wife Jeevajothi.[8] He was the subject of a long piece in The New York Times mentioning the case.[9] He was released on bail after serving a few months in prison.[10]

On 29 March 2019, the Supreme Court of India upheld founder P. Rajagopal's murder conviction and life imprisonment.[11] As per the order of the Supreme Court, he had to surrender to the authorities by 7 July 2019 and would have spent the rest of his life in prison.[10]

Rajagopal died on the morning of 18 July 2019, after he suffered a heart attack. Rajagopal had been admitted to Stanley Hospital's prison ward. He later suffered a heart attack there; his son Sarvanan made a plea requesting Rajagopal's transfer to a private hospital. The court granted permission to transfer Rajagopal to a private hospital, where he later died.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Founder & Key Personalities". Saravana Bhavan. Retrieved 31 May 2007.
  2. ^ Berry, Rynn; Suzuki, Chris A.; Litsky, Barry (2006). The Vegan Guide to New York City. Ethical Living. p. 27. ISBN 0-9788132-0-0. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
  3. ^ Addison, Bill (30 June 2006). "Diners line up for Saravana dosas". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
  4. ^ Romig, Rollo (7 May 2014). "Masala Dosa to Die For". Retrieved 12 April 2019 – via
  5. ^ The Hindu, Friday, 21 August 1998
  6. ^ "Coconuts Hong Kong Hot Spot food review of Indian restaurant Saravana Bhavan". Coconuts. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  7. ^ Management, Strategic; Asia-Pacific; China; India; America, North. "Indian Restaurant Chains Have Overseas Expansion on Their Menus". Knowledge@Wharton. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Saravana Bhavan founder gets life term for murder - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  9. ^ Romig, Rollo. "Masala Dosa to Die For". New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  10. ^ a b "SC upholds life term of Saravana Bhavan owner for employee's murder". 29 March 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal sentenced to life for murder, SC upholds conviction". The News Minute. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  12. ^ 'Dosa King' dead: Indian restaurant icon and convicted murderer P. Rajagopal dies aged 71

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