Home- Made Food Only

Every morning, millions of women rise early to cook lunch for the family members, who carry their lunch boxes with them. It is a very common practice amongst Indians to carry their lunch to work, as they believe that home-cooked food is not just healthy and safe, but also a cheaper option than the food from restaurants. Even as more and more women are working today, some still continue the practice of cooking their lunch for themselves as well as the other family members before leaving for work. And there are others who choose to order their food from neighbourhood catering, or dabba service.

At Your Service

The dabba service supplies lunch to the people, who do not or cannot manage to have their home-cooked food. The business of the dabbawallas thrives because people order lunch and dinner or both from them. A small amount of money can give you a complete meal comprising dal, rice, chapatti, curry, salad and even a sweet dish. The payment is made on monthly basis. The meals are delivered either at your work place or at your doorstep as per your requirement.

The Demand and Supply Chain

In the city of Mumbai, there are thousands of people who order their food from the dabba service. In fact it’s not just the working people who opt for this service, but also old people who have no one to cook for them, bachelors and working couples too depend on dabbas. The demand for this kind of food is very high, and prices are also competitive. There are many dabba services alone in Mumbai, which cater to the demand for home-cooked food. Each morning and evening, the delivery men can be seen gathered outside railway stations to deliver tiffins or dabbas. They travel by trains from one corner of the city to the other; some even use bicycles to deliver tiffins in the nearby places.

The Expertise of Untrained Hands

It is quite interesting to learn that the women who cook or prepare the dabbas are no chefs, or trained and qualified cooks, but ordinary housewives who have extraordinary abilities to cook meals for so many hungry stomachs. You may easily find many in your vicinity. It’s the years of experience and a need to run their household or to generate little extra income that drives these women take up this business of supplying meals.

The Food Quality and Hygiene

Many people prefer dabbas as the food is cooked only few hours ago, the cooking method is simple; there is zero use of chemicals like artificial colours or preservatives and the food tastes and feels like home-cooked, unlike restaurants, where cooked food may have chemicals, preservatives, and added flavours to enhance the taste. Some restaurants even preserve cut vegetables, fruits, chicken or meat etc, so as to make preparations for the next day, which is not what happens for home-based catering services. However, one needs to be careful in running a dabba service. Its best to maintain hygiene and cleanliness of the kitchen from where the dabbas are cooked; use fresh and best quality vegetables; and maintain a standard quality of oil, spices and condiments, to make the business sustainable.

The Diet Dabbas

A new trend that is catching up fast is availability of dabbas for the diet-conscious people. These meals are prepared by people who have knowledge of food nutrition and calorie count exclusively customised for their clients. Although the meals are expensive, you are assured of its nutritional value and hygiene factor by the suppliers. Diet dabbas are great options for people who want to shed that extra fat and eat correctly without any craving or guilt. Your needs, preferences, and above all, your consents are always taken into account.

Try Before You Eat

A word of caution is that you ask for a trial dabba and then finalise your decision. After all, you can wear non-branded clothes or use a deodorant instead of an expensive perfume or live with a disorganised roommate, but you cannot eat unpalatable food. Look for another dabbawalla and tell them what kind food you want. Nevertheless the dabba service is indeed a boon for many a busy life and  hungry stomach. Would you like to start one of your own?