As a young man, I didn't set out on my journey expecting to reach the position I've been fortunate enough to be in today. Success and glory weren't the goals, just the by products of a firm belief in being the best version of yourself. Inspired by great leaders – Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr – my life was guided by their resilience. Challenges are but character builders, failures are but the windows to new opportunities.
Seeing the fruits of your labour visualise into successful brands, loved by patrons spanning the Middle East and India, has been gratifying. Being able to leverage this success to give back to society and positively impact its development, even more so!
Work hard, be true to your integrity, imbibe strength from your surroundings and offer only positivity in return. And on your path to success, never compromise on your compassion to humankind and nature.
On this note,
My very best wishes,
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Kesavan Muraleedharan was born in the year in 1956 in Anchal a town in the suburbs of Kollam in southern Kerala. Post his education years, Muraleedharan turned his interests to pursuing a career in the Middle East, a place, back in the day, believed to unfold men's dreams and destiny. Having arrived in 1976 with nothing but heavy hopes and a sturdy will, Muraleedharan soon rose to become one of UAE's top-ranking entrepreneurs in less than a decade.
Today, he is the Chairman and Managing Director of SFC Group, a business conglomerate with 12 different companies, with interests in hospitality and food, located across India and the UAE. In the 70’s, when Muraleedharan was starting out, UAE, with its expanding oil industry and free trade, was undergoing a monumental transformation - a far cry from the modern, organised and thriving metropolis it is today.
He began his career as an account, in a well-established Indian-owned company and rose to become a partner in the same company through his sheer dedication and hard work. However, his strong entrepreneurial drive prodded him to look for challenging opportunities beyond what the company offered. With the blessings of the owner, himself, his tenacious pursuit led to the birth of a prosperous business empire. There were a few false starts, plans that didn’t take off and later it named as SFC Plus.
The instant success of Southern Fried Chicken’s ‘fast- food restaurant’ concept ultimately led to the establishment of several now popular hospitality brands including Avenue Hotel and the award – winning India Palace in the UAE. India Palace is the only brand in the UAE that has been honoured with the coveted Dubai Service Excellence Award from HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of UAE for the best Service Performance Restaurant Brand for 4 years in a row.
For the immense popularity that followed, Muraleedharan dedicates his everyday success to all those who stood by him during testing times. “The success of our Group lies in the hard work and dedication of our team comprising of over 3000 professional and enterprising associates from various nationalities”.
SFC Group operates Hotels, Fine Dining Restaurants, Quick Service Restaurants, Catering & Life Support Services, Dairy Farming, Real Estate & Healthcare companies under its management.
Officially incorporated in 1989, the company services a large number of patrons in the Middle East and in India. The company employs over 3,000 staff whose hard work and commitment have led to its success over the years.
The Group is an ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 22000 certified company and an accredited organisation with specialised operations in various spectrums of hospitality.
Southern Franchise Co. LLC (SFC Group of Companies)
India Palace Restaurant LLC
Golden Dragon Restaurant
Avenue Hotel – Dubai
Southern Food & Catering Services
Muralya Properties Pvt. Ltd.
Muralya Hotels & Resorts Pvt.
Muralya Diary Products Pvt. Ltd., Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Southern Fast-food Co. Pvt. Ltd., Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Companie De BMR Limited
Besides his exceptional business acumen and master flair for entrepreneurship, Muraleedharan is also a passionate philanthropist. He takes a keen interest in social and developmental activities and spends a significant part of his time promoting various charitable and social activities in UAE and India.
His foray into social welfare, by distributing 10 kg of rice to 100 of his villagers every month 36 years ago led to the formation of the Muralya Foundation that is solely funded by him. With diverse philanthropic activities in Education, Healthcare and Welfare both in India and abroad, the foundation has adopted his native panchayat, introduced monthly pension schemes, palliative care, housing, health care, supplementary nutritional food to the school children and continues to fulfil the needs of the panchayat in coordination with ward representatives. He has also conducted the wedding of 36 couples in conjunction with his own daughters’.
The Muralya Foundation has adopted an aided school, (NSVVHS Valacode, Kollam, Kerala) establishing modern infrastructural facilities while supporting the 600 students with their complete schooling needs. The Foundation ran an eighty-bed hospital in the village where all BPL card holders receive free treatment for nearly ten years. The Yeroor Panchayat honored the foundation by celebrating its tenth anniversary in the presence of prominent political and social leaders to set an example for others to follow.
In 2000, he organised thousands of NRI’s to establish Vidya International Charitable Trust (VICT) with a vision to provide quality higher education to the financially challenged, academically brilliant students. VICT has expanded with two highly reputable engineering colleges in Thrissur and Trivandrum districts that run purely on merit catering to 4000 students, out of which 22% students enjoy different educational scholarships. He continues to hold title of Founder Chairman at VICT.
Muraleedharan is the Founder Chairman of the Care and Share International Foundation that extends medical assistance to financially challenged patients of varying age groups including free heart surgeries for children below 12 years. It also focuses on driving awareness on social evils like smoking, drug addictions, etc. Padma Shri Mammooty, a famous South Indian film star, is chief patron and leads the campaigns.
Gandhi Bhavan in Kollam and Ashraya in Kottarakara are two professionally run homes for the destitute that are under the mentorship and chief patronage of Shri Muraleedharan. Together they provide shelter for over 2000 homeless senior citizens, mentally and physically challenged, orphans, street children and addicts.
As Chief Patron and mentor of the Sreenarayana Vanitha Samithi, he organizes over 250 service minded women and runs a school for those suffering from hearing and speech impediments and offers counsel for family relationship and social welfare. He is the Chief Patron and mentor of the Thengumpanna trust in Kollam focused on better living and talent development for the youth.
Over the years, Muraleedharan's efforts have been recognised both at home and in the UAE where he has repeatedly been acknowledged for excellence in professional, social, cultural and philanthropic sphere of work.
Muraleedharan credits his life achievements to those who have inspired him. Yet his inspirations have not been limited to world leaders or notable personalities, he embraces the values of all those around him, irrespective of their status or position in society.
He is a staunch follower of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and constantly strives to inculcate them in his way of life through the principles of non-violence, compassion to all humankind and leading a simple existence.
APJ Abdul Kalam has influenced Muraleedharan’s professional life and philanthropic activities in many ways. Kalam has been one of the key motivations in his career and he constantly attributes his success to Kalam's key mantra for life - unwavering dedication and hard work. Many valuable lessons from his book "Ignited Minds" have been stitched into the very fabric of the Muralya Foundation.
He is an avid reader, with award-winning writer C Radhakrishnan topping his list. His clarity of thought and ease with which he explains complex political situations and scientific theories for the common man being the biggest drawing point.
For Muraleedharan, UAE is now home and he attributes his life achievements to the country, its people and rulers for an environment so conducive for growth. One of his closest mentors is HH Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who has supported and motivated him from the earliest days of his business ventures.
“Dream Dream Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts into action”
Southern Franchise Co.LLC
3rd Floor, Al Dhaheri Building (Lulu Centre)
PO Box- 44145
Tel: 00971 2 677 6999
Fax: 00971 2 678 8864
Southern Fast food Co. Pvt. Ltd
1st Floor, Karukatharayil Plaza
Near Infopark Expressway
Cochin- 682 037
Tel: 0484 298 1002