Many years ago, when we first created the restaurant based lunch management company concept, we recognized how important the accuracy of lunch orders would be to the program. It was not something we could leave up to chance and our previous experience having the restaurants we partnered with deliver the lunches, was simply inconsistent and woefully inadequate.
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.
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.
After reviewing some of the core pillars of the dabbawala’s system, we began to hire and train our dedicated delivery dabbawalas, but the schools we served were still experiencing lunchroom confusion. The orders were incredibly accurate, yet the food was still not reaching all of the students in an organized and accurate way. We decided we needed to take over distribution of the lunches to further ensure that the students we served would receive their ordered lunch and that we had someone in the lunchroom, looking over and out for our young customers, thus the Onsite Angels. So we combined the use of dedicated Dabbawallas and Onsite Angels at each of the schools we serve. These warm hearted and extremely capable Kiddos team members are trained extensively in our system of delivery and lunch distribution. Since we have begun this system, we have increased the accuracy of the over 100,000 lunches a year we serve, ensuring families that if they order a Kiddos lunch, they can rest assured, their child will receive it, and we have the dabbawalla’s of India to thank for that!