I had been reading about the Dabbawala’s of India and the extraordinary system of lunch delivery that exists in Mumbai. Their system of delivering over 130,000 lunches a day with incredible accuracy was astounding to me and I wanted to adapt the model to our school lunch deliveries, to ensure the accuracy of the orders coming from the restaurants.
As explained by Sukhada Chaudry in her article “Dabbawalas, All You Need To Know” on Culturetrip.com, the true genius of the dabbawala system lies not in the quantity of tiffins (lunchboxes) delivered but the quality in which they are – the method in which the deliveries are organized and coordinated. For the last 126 years, the dabbawalas of Mumbai have perfected a delivery system that has been the subject of many academic studies.
The origins of this fascinating model started in the year 1890 when a Parsi gentleman employed at a bank recruited a man from one of the villages near Pune to deliver a lunchbox from his home to office every day. Word spread and more men from nearby villages were employed. In the same year, Mahadeo Bhavaji Bachche began a tiffin delivery service with a team of 100 men. This was the beginning of the dabbawala system as it is known today and now there are over 8,000 dabbawalas in Mumbai.
Known for their dependable service (they are always on time with their deliveries.) They persevere and have proven to be the most efficient and cost-effective food delivery system in the world, by quite a large margin.
We've learned a lot from studying the core pillars of the dabbawala’s system, and continue to incorporate what we’ve learned into our processes and procedures, so families who order a Kiddos lunch can trust their child will receive it…and we have the dabbawalla’s of India to thank!