Over 125 years ago, a Mumbai banker hired the first-ever “Dabbawala” to bring his home cooked meals to his office.
Literally translated, Dabbawala means “the one who carries the box” and today, over 5000 couriers go by that title in the city of Mumbai, delivering over 200,000 meals daily, using public transportation.
The home cooked meals are prepared and packaged in stacked stainless steel containers, called “tiffins”. Durable and practical, the humble tiffin has allowed for a sustainable system of “litter-less” meals to thrive in the city of Mumbai.
Like many “true” social enterprises in Mumbai, the dabbawala’s have provided a means of income for a group of semi-literate people from the Warkari sect in rural Maharashtra. A simple coding system allows them to operate with amazing accuracy, 1 error in 6 million deliveries.
Their story inspired us to start something similar in Toronto. However, home cooked meals are not legal for sale, so instead, we operate our service out of a local restaurant, Udupi Palace. Made fresh each morning, we deliver the food to offices in downtown Toronto in tiffins which are collected back the next day – a completely litter-less lunch for your office event.