Bosotto Bros spreads its wings

After three decades of playing it safe, the bakery has now drawn up big expansion plans, K. RAJ KUMAR tells LIFFY THOMAS

July 29, 2016 06:45 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 12:45 pm IST - Chennai

Photo: K. Pichumani

Photo: K. Pichumani

During the hour-long interview with K. Raj Kumar, who holds the reins of Bosotto Bros, I notice his eyes flit often to the customers biting into their puffs.

“Everybody makes puffs but keeping them crispy is the challenge,” he says, adding that he listens to the crackle of a puff being eaten.

The crackle is part of the secret behind the recipe that has been passed on by his grandfather B. Muslapa Chowdhry, explains Raj Kumar, sitting in the newly-opened 550 sq.ft duplex outlet of Bosotto Bros in Spencer Plaza.

A photo of Queen Elizabeth cutting a cake adorns the shop. The photo was taken at Rajaji Hall, during Elizabeth’s visit to Madras in 1961. Bosotto Bros had supplied the cake. A copy of the black-and-white photo now hangs at each of the other five Bosotto Bros outlets in Chennai, which are located in Harris Road (Pudupet), Nelson Manickam Road, Egmore and Nungambakkam and Wallajah Road.

Raj Kumar has not seen his grandfather, but believes he has inherited the patriarch’s keen business sense.

“I have heard stories about my grandfather supplying snacks and baked biscuits to tea shops. Although I joined the business only when I was in my 30s, I used to help out my dad earlier,” he says.

Opening this outlet at the shopping mall is a big step forward for the Bosotto Bros family.

“We are back in Mount Road where it all started,” says Raj Kumar.

Since 1954, his grandfather was running the bakery at Mount Road, near Anand Theatre, which was demolished a few years ago.

Two years ago, Bosotto Bros had to vacate the premises to allow the owners to construct a commercial complex.

They only had the Nungambakkam outlet then, which had been opened by Raj Kumar’s father, M. Krishnan, in 1972.

“I entered the business in 1990 and helped get corporate orders. There was never a need to expand, but as companies started reducing their budget and the corporate orders dwindled, we had to set up more outlets,” he says.

One unique feature about Bosotto Bros is the location of their outlets.

“All our outlets are proximate to our production unit at Wallajah Road,” says 74-year-old Krishnan, who takes care of the centre.

In 2015, Raj Kumar opened two outlets, one at Harris Road and another at Nelson Manickam Road.

Spencer Plaza may not be as popular a hangout as it once was, but Raj Kumar believes Bosotto Bros will do well there.

“We are located right next to the escalator and there are not many bakeries at the shopping mall,” says Raj Kumar, crediting his friend T. Venkatesh for identifying the place.

This year, he also opened a kiosk at Egmore.

Raj Kumar plans to open one outlet a year and might go for the kiosk model, which results in lower overheads.

As we leave the outlet, a customer comes enquiring if it is the same Bosotto that was on Mount Road.

“We are the same people,” Raj Kumar says with a smile.

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