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Reliable Food Delivery by Dabbawalas of Mumbai

dabbawala_mumbai Dabbawalas of Mumbai are well known worldwide. They collect lunch box (dabba) from the residence of a customer or mess and deliver it at his/her work place without any delay and without any error (no wrong delivery). It is surprising to note that before the introduction of mobile phones, two way communication was used by customers through written messages in their dabbas. Also Dabbawalas are invited by Management/educational institutes , private & multinational organizations, government and semi government organizations to give lectures about their service with dedication, teamwork and hard work. (The above photograph is from Dabbawala website)

Some interesting information available on Dabbawalas are:

  • Service
    • Started in the year 1890.
    • Only available at Mumbai.
    • Reliable service – no strike.
    • 100% customer satisfaction.
    • Charges vary from INR 250 to 500 per month depending upon the location.
    • Six Sigma certified.
    • ISO 2000 certified.
    • Uses no fuel: uses public transportation – Mumbai local train network and by bicycle/walk.
    • Uses no modern technology.
  • About Dabbawallas:
    • Education: 85% are illiterate; remaining 15% have studied up to 8th standard.
    • Distance covered: 60 to 70 Km.
    • Total strength: 5000 Dabbawalas.
    • Number of dabbas handled in a day: 2,00,000 (transactions 2 x 2,00,000).
    • Time taken: 3 hours.
    • Salary per month: INR 4,000 to 5,000 per Dabbawala.
    • Each Dabbawala collects 35 dabbas from the residence/mess, delivers at workplace and returns empty dabbas to residence/mess.
    • 25 to 30 Dabbawalas operate under a group leader; in one segment there are more than one group.

Here is how each dabba is coded with colour markers to ensure error free delivery/collection.


View an interesting video clip: Mumbai lunch on wheels – 25 Dec 09

For more details, log on to Dabbawala.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Swapna Raghu Sanand December 28, 2009, 1:50 pm

    It’s amazing how much passion and commitment drives this endeavor. I can’t express how overwhelmed I am to read this post.

  • Malar Gandhi December 29, 2009, 6:14 am

    Amazing…heard lot about it, happen to see a documentary movie too…its good to see your post about it. Well written post.

  • Radhika Vasanth December 30, 2009, 9:56 pm

    Companies managed by over qualified professionals thrive for the IDEAL zero error across the world. The IIMS, Stern, Harvard…. invite these dhabbawalas to talk about their management mantras… These guyz are amazing…

  • Subhash Koganti February 17, 2010, 9:05 pm


    Does any one know a contact number for the office of Dabbawalas??
    We are a team of bschool students from USA studying on dabbawals.

    Would appreciate any help what so ever.


  • Kamala February 17, 2010, 9:48 pm

    Hi Subhash Koganti,
    Contact details of Dabbawalas is available here: http://www.mydabbawala.com/general/contactus.htm

  • Ravi Kumar April 20, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Please post the contact number for Mumbai Dabbawalas, if anyone knows.

  • Urmi Gandhi May 19, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Dabbawala’s from kalyan are big chor..i think they run a big racket of stealing dabbas. in past 3 months they have lost/ stolen 3 tiffins. Total we have lost 9 dabbas in 2 years.

    I am feed up of their service.

  • Anil Kumar September 5, 2011, 6:54 pm

    While most of the packed meals (Dabbas) originate from homes, Tiffin suppliers also utilise the services of Dabbawalas to deliver meals to their customers. Over 200 Tiffin suppliers are listed in Indiatiffins.com which is a portal for Tiffin services.

  • radha December 29, 2011, 4:05 pm

    can we have this service in pune?if yes pls pls give me contact number

  • nirmala May 1, 2012, 9:21 pm

    please give us the contact no. of dabbawall for malad to kandivali charkop

  • Chandrakant katkar July 17, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Pl give me m no of dabewala to pick up tiffin from borivali west and delivered at juinagar station.

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