Since 1890, dressed in white outfit and traditional Gandhi Cap, Mumbai Army of 5,000 Dabbawalas fulfilling the hunger of almost 200,000 Mumbaikar with home-cooked food that is lug between home and office daily.
But covid-19 pandemic has hit their business to the largest, with no offices and networks opened for delivery, Dabbawala were among the worst to have got affected by the pandemic.
In another biggest delivery move that could change the delivery business in India, Dabbawala may tie up with Zomato for delivering a bigger set of restaurants available on Zomato’s network.
They recently tied up with Mumbai-based Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality that owns restaurants like Social, Smoke House Deli to name a few and Food Matters India that operates restaurants like The Table, Mag Street Kitchen to name a few.
“We are doing 5-6 deliveries from these brands daily,” shared Kilas Shinde who is one of the Dabbawala doing delivery for these brands and is open to working with any restaurants since they have no work at present.
In the past Dabbawala had only catered to office-goers at their workplace by delivering tiffins to them through their network of bicycle and local train.
The restaurant is working on 50:50 revenue sharing models wherein for each delivery of Rs 100, a Dabbawala will be given Rs 50 for the delivery done.
“We are doing delivery in Dadar, Bandra, Colaba and Churchgate area,” he added pointing that they are open to deliver to any location that the restaurant caters to.
Meanwhile, Dabbawala is also working on their own orders for 5 hours in the evening, doing around 7-8 orders for around Rs 300-350 daily.
For them, they take around 30 minutes to 45 minutes delivering food from restaurants to the customers.
They are also in talks with many other restaurants and discussions are in pipeline.
Dabbawala have been serving 2,00,000 people with a network of about 5,000 through bicycle or local train. And, it all started about125 years back when a Parsi banker wanted to have home cooked food in office and gave this responsibility to the first ever Dabbawala. Many people liked the idea and the demand for Dabba delivery soared. It was all informal and individual effort in the beginning, but visionary Mahadeo Havaji Bachche saw the opportunity and started the lunch delivery service in its present team-delivery format with 100 Dabbawalas.