< Back
Mumbai Dabbawala
 
 
 
 
 

"Dabbawalas" are a unique group of men in Mumbai who collect packed meals from homes and deliver them to their customer’s offices by lunch time. Easily recognizable by their plain white cotton attire, a Gandhi cap, and carrying over a dozen lunches before lunch hour/afternoon. They have come to stand for excellent organizational skills, on time delivery and close to zero error rates.

The island city of Mumbai is a long strip of land where thousands commute tens of kilometres each day in order to make a living. As most of them wake up early in the morning to make their long journey to their workplace, they lose out on homemade meals. The Mumbai dabbawala bridges this gap by bringing homemade food to them in uniquely coded lunch boxes (dabbas) .

Punctuality, unity, discipline, and a unique coding system that is comprehendible to the semi-literate ones enable the 5,000 Mumbai dabbawalas maintain an almost zero error rate, delivering meals to over 200,000 people on a daily basis, "It is like a relay race, if one person is running late, the next one compensates for the lost time," explains one dabbawala in service.​