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Story of SGR 777 - Your Trusted Source for Processed Food

praveen

Life is a dream
Staff member
#1
777 brand is a popular household name in many brahmin families. Ever wondered what its origins were and how they evolved? Read our exclusive article on the brand to know more.


SGR (777) Foods Pvt Ltd has grown from a small south Indian restaurant in Parry’s into one of the foremost brands in the FMCG ethnic process food space. Right from 1930s, the organisation’s dedication to quality and service has succeeded in making them a force to reckon with both home and away…

To understand the evolution of SGR (777) Foods Pvt Ltd (website), one must turn the clock back to 1933, when a small restaurant by the name of Hotel Sri Rama Bhavan was opened in Thambu Chetty Street, Parry’s. Little did the founders envision back then that the eatery would go on to become an icon in the by lanes of Madras, let alone lead to a highly regarded brand in the ethnic process food market. A typical Palakkad Brahmin restaurant founded by brothers R S Narayana Swami Iyer and R S Ganapathi Iyer, the joint was begun with an initial vision of pure survival.

A typical Palakkad Brahmin restaurant founded by brothers R.S. Narayana Swami Iyer and R.S. Ganapathi Iyer, Hotel Sri Rama Bhavan in Thambu Chetty street, began with an initial vision of pure survival.

Speaking about the early years, R Srikanth, Director, 777, says, “Our first big milestone came in the year 1954. We were serving fresh food up until that time. It was then that we decided to branch off into the market of packaged food. 1954 led to the formation of both the 777 and 3-7 brands. The necessity for us to market ourselves arose because we wished to diversify into the distribution business – so that retail stores in India and abroad could stock our signature products.”

Today, SGR (777) Foods Pvt Ltd has under its wing, the brands - 777, 3-7, 777 Divine (the retail outfit), and 777 Divine Caterers (the outdoor catering arm of the division). A typical FMCG ethnic processing food company, SGR’s reasoning is quite simple: They cater to anyone with an appetite. The company’s wide range of products contributes close to 40 per cent of the grocery requirement for the average domestic household. Apart from an impressive standing domestically, the 400-strong organisation accounts for up to 30 per cent of its sales from the international market (65 per cent of this figure comes from the brand’s presence in over 4,000 retail stores in the United States). “As far as our current product portfolio stands, we are looking to serve two classes of people – one being class, and the other being mass. Our product category is designed in such a way that it targets both these aforementioned entities. SGR’s range fits into the smallest petty shop, kirana stores, and the latest organised retail outlets (including online portals). The brand’s products range from Re. 1 all the way upwards, effectively stating we can be available everywhere,” S Balaji, Business Head – Retail Division, Divine Caterers, says. Products such as ethnic pickles, instant rice mixes, instant culinary pastes, thokkus and chutneys, masala powders, pure spice powders, appalams, sharbats, rice sevai, vermicelli, asafoetida, gingelly oil, and instant cook mixes are offered by SGR’s 777 brand, while 3-7 markets a variety of non-vegetarian masalas.

Ever since the institution forayed into the packaged processed food market in the mid-50s, challenges like infrastructure, technology, transportation, and communication (all the regular period-related trials) have occupied the mind space of SGR’s top brass. But as all good businesses do, these tests presented themselves as opportunities to the company. Srikanth puts it aptly when he says, “At that time, since there was limited availability of ethnic packaged foods, we took advantage of the prevailing scenario to build our company by providing products that weren’t readily available to consumers.” And, even after all this time, it is safe to say that SGR has continued to carry the legacy of the brand over generations. This testament to quality and service has ensured that SGR (777) Foods Pvt Ltd is an ISO 22000:2005 FSMS & HACCP Certified Company as well as a Halal Certified brand (for international markets).

Speaking in detail about the challenges being currently faced by the Indian food space market, S Balaji, says, “Insufficient regulatory systems – which allow unethical competition, permitting half-baked companies to enter the market by lowering prices – are the biggest issues being faced by the sector. More stringent food safety/regulatory standards are the need of the hour. That being said, over the last four years, the ease of doing business has definitely improved.” SGR is attempting to win over the prevailing situation by improving quality standards, contemporary packaging, bettering the supply chain, increasing product value addition, as well as the value chain.

sgr_777-jpg.6936 Story of SGR 777 - Your Trusted Source for Processed Food

From the left: Mr. Balaji & Mr. Srikanth​

As for the road ahead, things look brighter than ever for the organisation. “Any appetite is our consumer – so, the sky is the limit for us, really. The way forward is a geometric progression. We are looking to strengthen our product portfolio distribution and supply chain, step up our marketing/branding activity, and double Capacity Expansion (CAPEX),” Srikanth says. In addition to this, SGR plans on branching out into fresh food catering, food services, and QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants). This last facet, we are told, justifies the brand’s genetic makeup. The company recently opened its exclusive outlet in Nanganallur. They also have a franchise store in Ambattur. It goes without saying that the organisation is looking to inaugurate more stores in the not-so-distant future.

Check out SGR 777's online store at: http://www.sgr777foods.com/online-store/

At the Helm

R Srikanth, Director, 777
With a vision to support the organisation his forefathers had built, R Srikanth equipped himself with degrees in Food Chemistry, a Masters in Business, and a Masters in Foreign Trade. Being part of a family business, he involved himself in the process of food manufacturing from an early age. This exposure helped him provide valuable expertise to the family-run company in later years


S Balaji, Business Head – Retail Division, Divine Caterers

Balaji has a B.Tech in Computer Science and a Masters in Marketing. Even in his youth, he had a strong inclination to join the family business, but felt he needed the right exposure before he could dive into the company’s day-to-day operations. In order to gain invaluable insight into the modern trends of lifestyle (keeping SGR’s future growth in mind), he worked with a leading food delivery company for some time. He has been directly involved with the business for a couple of years now, ushering it to the next level as we speak.


Written by Mrinal Rajaram for TamilBrahmins.com
 
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#2
But they have to improve marketing. Have seen in Deepawali Malars of yester years, half page advt. of 777. Apart from this they have not done any advertising, which is critical nowadays.
 
#3
That was an inspiring write up I have heard of their humble beginings thru the words of my father Late Venkatasubramanian who have made me to resolve be a creator jobs rather a job seeker.
 
#4
We were living in Armenian Street in 60's and 70's and can recall the initial days of the 777 products. One Mr. Ramani (as we know him), son of one of the brothers you have mentioned was instrumental in manufacturing and marketing of 'dhideer' items under 777. Why there is no mention of him?
 
#5
Was there a branch or a manufacturing place on Neeliveerasami Chetty street, Triplicane in the 50's? I remember seeing the board, Ganeshram products.
 
#6
Rigorous advt required in the competitive age.I recollect those nostalgic days when as a family used to visit the hotel to have tasty sumptuous breakfast ..For Ayyappa yatras these ready foods are a must in 1960s 1970s . Nostalgic memories indeed.
 
#7
For any product ingredients are the vital parts. In those days whatever ingredients grown in our soil used to have its own taste and flavour. But, these days with the growing pollution rates, chemical fertilizers spoiled our fertile lands to a great extent, although the age old products preserve their preparation methodology, because of the differing taste in ingredients many products' taste or so called standard has deteriorated to a great extent and this product is also not exempted from it. Otherwise, in those days we were very specific in selection of this product for our family.
 
#8
In those days, people who go abroad preferred 777. Now a days there is no prominent presence in the retail stores. Because of that, most of the untrusted brands have come into the market as mushroom.
 
#9
Mr Ramani who was also heading the Food Processing Industry association was not only a well-known member but a key person to launch the broad across the country. I remember meeting him often in 1996, when he tried to marry both the old ways of doing business and new management processes. All the popular and big brands like Aachi etc hardly existed whereas 777 had both FDA US and UK Regulatory approvals which speaks for their unquestioned quality. I have been using their products for the last 20 years and the quality is impeccable though supplies are erratic. They not only need patronizing by our community members but a formal recognition would motivate them and similar such entrepreneurs.
 
#10
Products are very good. Normally buy pickles and powders - rasam, etc. As mentioned in other posts, marketing has to be done. This forum will also help.
 
#12
Visited Sri Rama Bhavan in Thambu Chetty Street in the late 60s & early 70s. Very popular for Idly with special coconut chutney. No coffee. It is the Milagu Rasam that was famous there. The 777 brand of Thideer items came only later.
 
#13
I have tasted their dhideer items and can vouch for their authenticity, being a Tambrahm myself. The daughter of the family is a personal friend of mine, who had introduced me to the pastes and pickles. As someone mentioned above, their marketing and advertising needs to keep up with the times. Newer and less authentic and tasty brands seem to be overtaking them.
 
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