Regional Brand

Second Serving

Jayaram Banan has elaborate plans to revive Sagar Ratna’s fortunes having bought back his stake from India Equity Partners

Photographs by Vishal Koul

“Agar baccha bigad jaye, usko theek karne mein bhi thoda time toh lagta hi hai (If a kid goes wayward, it takes time to reform him),” says Jayaram Banan, the 64-year-old founder of Delhi-NCR’s favourite south Indian food chain, Sagar Ratna. Banan’s journey is a quintessential rags-to-riches story of a 13-year-old who ran away from his village in Karnataka, after flunking an exam; worked as a waiter in Mumbai and then finally in 1986 set up Sagar Ratna in Delhi. Over the next two decades, the restaurant found a fan following across Delhi — a market where people had limited options for authentic south Indian food.