Mumbai’s Dabbawalla!!


Dabbawalla refers to a person who collects hot tiffin from home and delivers it to the destination on time!

How did this concept start?

In the 1890s, a Parsi banker from Mumbai’s old business district, Fort, wanted home-cooked lunch delivered to his office, and so, he employed a young man to get his tiffin every afternoon. And now after so many years, that one-man Tiffin service grew into a Mumbai institution and famous in other parts of India too. And it is pleased for the Mumbaikars to hear that the Dabbawallas of Mumbai are a case study for management students at several institutes across the world.
But the question here arises “How did the service survive, amid the competition of online food delivery applications and, without any technological developments or marketing?”
The dream and crave of the people for inexpensive, home cooked and yes hygienic food.

The perfection of these perfectionists is remarkable!

1. 50% dabbawallas are illiterate. But when it comes to delivering a dabba (tiffin), they know the address, the phone number, everything correctly! They believe their brain is a computer and proud of it.
2. In 120 years not a single time, it happened that it was the lunch time and the Dabbawalla was late.
3. Error rate: 1 in 16 million transactions. Wow! This means they have a six-sigma accuracy level.
4. Cost: 300-500 INR per month
5. “No strike” Record since 1890
6. “No police or court case” since 1890
7. Not a single Dabbawalla left the organization in last 120 years.
8. One tiffin box shifts hands and transit at least 6 times. Still, no error and no complain.
9. One among the top 50 Entrepreneur in India is the Mumbai’s Dabbawalla.

Some Stories!

1.Once a customer was asked is the Dabbawalla’s good at their job?
His reply was, “They are excellent and I have full faith in them.”
Again he was questioned, “ The Tiffin is yours, the content is yours, still, they are excellent? And why do you trust them?” To which he answered, “If I forget my spectacles, my wife sends me my spectacles with my tiffin. And on the day of salary when I am scared to carry the salary in my bag as I will be traveling through Mumbai Local. After the lunch, I put my salary in the empty tiffin and it reaches home at perfect time without any loss.”

2.When Prince Charles was getting married, only three Indians were invited. One of them was Mumbai’s Dabbawalla.

3.Once CM of Maharashtra was invited to address the Dabbawalla, he came 5 minutes early. When he was asked “Sir, you get late for every program and now you are 5 minutes early for Dabbawallas? He replied, “If I was late by 2 minutes, the Dabbawalla’s would have gone to their duty and it would be an insult to me.

Work is Worship is the only motto of the Dabbawallas. The dabbawalla’s are for sure a great example to emulate for everyone.

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