BOCS Pizza – A Growing Chain of Square Pizzas

'The no cutting corners', Pizza


“We don’t cut corners,” says Arun Kumar Vishveshwaran, the founder of the BOCS Pizza chain, that serves square and rectangular pizzas. Walk into any of their franchisee outlets in South India and you’ll get 22% more pizza than a round one.

No matter how fast paced the world gets or how data-driven we are today, some fundamentals remain solidly relevant. The 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) for instance are still the cornerstone to success points out Arun Kumar Vishveshwara, the founder of BOCS Pizza. He also believes there’s a need for continuous innovation to stay in the race and that’s why his pizzas are square and come with curated dips in addition to the standard ketchup. With so much thinking going into his ventures it’s not surprising that he has added a suffix to his name to differentiate himself. “Arun is a common name and I thought adding Brand Monk to it would help people remember me better,” says the entrepreneur. 

Arun 'Brand Monk' with one of the brand awards
Arun ‘Brand Monk’ with one of the brand awards

Hunger for More

Equipped with an engineering degree and an MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management, Arun worked in multiple corporate organizations before he gave in to his desire of starting a business. After his stint with Reliance Communications handling Mobility products and Tata Communications working on Enterprise solutions, positions with other companies gave him a good exposure to diverse areas of work. In 2009 while he was in a steady job, he invested in a restaurant business after a great deal of research. “I wanted to start a QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) that was not chef-dependent and easily scalable. We started 3 restaurants in Coimbatore but running a business was new to me and we ran into teething trouble and had to shut shop,” confesses Arun. 

'The no cutting corners', Pizza
‘The no cutting corners’, Pizza

Topping Up with More Experience

This failure was no deterrent to Arun who was fascinated by food business and was keen to establish a successful enterprise. When on an assignment to the US he freelanced at different kinds of pizza outlets to gain more experience. “I worked from high-end pizza places to the mass delivery outlets for one year. It was a great learning for me and I became firm in my resolve to start something of my own,” says Arun. By 2014 he started his second venture and it grew well. He soon had 12 restaurants across 2 states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “Unfortunately we ran into issues regarding trademarks. Our brand sounded phonetically similar to another one and this led to us losing over Rs.10 lakhs on the dispute. I decided to close down and come back stronger, bigger and better!,” reminisces Arun about the tough call he had to take. 

Really out of the box

The Thinking Inside BOCS

While this was happening with his businesses, the market was changing. With the introduction of aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato, new dynamics were coming into play. Instagram marketing was growing big. “We believed that to grow faster and scale it would be good to go with the franchisee model. By now we had the knowhow of running these outlets and we decided to use this knowledge to start a new brand. This time around we gave careful thought to having our brand registered. Now I had a very good idea of the kind of names that would be approved based on my previous setbacks involving trademarking. We settled on BOCS (Based on Cheese and Sauce) Pizza. When pronounced BOCS sounds like box and we thought it would work for us and it has,” explains Arun. 

Extensive menu
Extensive menu

Seasoned Entrepreneur

As a low budget food franchise in South India, BOCS Pizza today has a presence in Erode, Dharmapuri, Trichy, Madurai, Kannur, Thoothukudi, Villupuram, Ranipet, Bangalore, Nagercoil, Thirunelveli, Chennai, and Pudhukottai among other places. And the chain is growing. “Everything is process driven. Parties interested in a BOCS Pizza franchise can apply through our website. It’s important for them to have experience in running a business or the maturity to do it and we prefer to have a single outlet in a location so that it does not cannibalise on another. But in areas with more footfall and demand it’s ok to have more than one, like how many international chains do,” says Arun. Once the franchisee has signed up, the BOCS Pizza team goes about doing up the interiors and settling in the machinery followed by training for the team. 

Keeping it Fresh

BOCs Pizza aims to provide a pleasant dine in experience and fresh food. Unlike global brands where the dough comes pre-kneaded and ingredients are frozen and shipped across to various locations, everything is freshly made at each BOCS Pizza. And they have designed their own unique systems including the pan on which the pizza is made. “Also all our outlets have the same brand elements and style. No matter which BOCs outlet you go to you’ll experience the same feel.” They strive to keep the outlet feel upbeat and contemporary. The colours red, yellow and orange are usually preferred by eateries as they are supposed to induce hunger and increase appetite. As these shades are overused by restaurants, BOCS Pizza decided to go the green way. And the design is kept simple and easily replicable. “When we started off we spent a lot more on interiors but now economies of scale have kicked in and we are able to do it at a fraction of the costs,” says Arun. While the dine-in option is the mainstay of BOCS Pizza, customers also have the option of ordering online. 

Cautious Creativity

Unlike international chains which need lead time to introduce any new changes or innovations we are able to move faster as they’re leaner. We have our ears close to the ground and take feedback seriously. Customers preferred to see a large pizza on the table when they came as a family and so we started making rectangular pizzas. Our unique proprietary dips, Fiery Harissa, Mushy Garlic and Smoky Sweet, were introduced after much experimentation. We conduct such test and taste sessions with senior chefs in another exclusive kitchen and don’t let them interfere with the functioning of the chain. We study all implications before we bring in something new,” explains Arun. Any addition to the menu, for example, will reflect on the inventory. With space being limited in every outlet, the necessity to introduce new items is considered thoroughly before implementation. But tweaks and improvements to the existing menu are continuous to keep the visits exciting for customers. That explains their wide ranging menu of not just pizzas but burgers, pastas, starts, beverages and even Maggi options!

Apart from BOCS Pizza, Arun ‘Brand Monk’s hunger for new ventures has seen him start online business support services and grooming for pets too. Going by his perseverant, dust-off-and-keep going attitude, he’s definitely an exciting entrepreneur to keep in sight. 

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