Dabbawalas to come up with food processing start-ups

13 April, 2018


After 125-years of successfully delivering lunch tiffins across Mumbai and its suburbs, the Mumbai dabbawalas are setting up a start-up business, in the food processing sector, reports revealed.

Ritesh Andre, president of the Mumbai dabbawalas, revealed the start-ups plans of Dabbawalas and said the startup will supply organic produce, possibly organic vegetables.

“We are in the process of developing a business model for our start-ups. Most dabbawalas come from farming families that grow organic grain and vegetables. The idea of the business is to deliver organic produce through their Six Sigma-certified supply chain. We will use technology for the same purpose,” he said.

In 1890 Bombay, Mahadeo Havaji Bachche started a lunch delivery service with about a hundred men called as ‘Dabbawala’, which became India’s first food delivery start up successfully running up till nowdays.

Andre spoke about how dabbawalas are embracing technology. “Various IT companies approach us with a number of business models, but it is difficult to implement them with the same efficiency and we continued with our existing model. However, after the implementation of goods and services tax (GST), we are in the process of adopting financial technology,” he explained.

Notably, Mumbai Dabbawalas too has a Fortune 500 clientele including Deliotte, KPMG, Philips, Siemens and Uber, Ola too, among plenty of others.

“We are getting software made to manage funds from their inoperative income, which comes from advertising, training and lecture sessions and even charity. All this income is deposited in their  trust,” said Andre. He also said that their team is expanding to cities like Chennai and Pune.

Recently, Mumbai Dabbawalas partnered with Paytm Payments Bank, a digital bank from PayTM which provides zero balance accounts and zero charges on digital transactions. As part of this partnership, around 5000 dabbawalas is now able to collect instant payments for their Dabba service through Paytm QR.

The Forbes magazine gave the dabbawalas a Six Sigma performance rating or a 99.99999 percent of precision, which means they make one error in 16 million deliveries! In the last 125 years, there has not been a single instance of a lunchbox that has not been delivered to its destination. The New York Times reported in 2007 that the 125-year-old dabbawala industry continues to grow at a rate of 5–10% per year.

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