dabbawala is a person who is a part of a food delivery system  in Mumbai(India). He collects hot food in lunch boxes from the worker’s residence in the morning and delivers it to their workplace They also return the empty lunch boxes to the customer’s residence the same afternoon. They use a variety of transport, mostly railway trains and bicycle.The dabbawalas are about 5,000 in number and deliver 2, 00,000 lunch boxes everyday!

About 125 years ago, a Parsi banker wanted to have home cooked food regularly in office. He gave this responsibility to the first ever dabbawala. Other people started hiring dabbawalas for themselves. Mahadeo Havaji Bachche noticed a business opportunity and started the lunch delivery service with 100 dabbawalas and their demand kept increasing. Thus began a highly specialized trade which is going strong even today and has become an integral part of Mumbai’s culture. The delivery format, nowadays is almost the same as it was when the trade started.Their work is appreciated all over the world. Prince Charles visited them and invited them to his wedding! The dabbawalas have the recognition for achieving 6 sigma level of accuracy in their delivery. This means there are chances for only 1 mistake out of 6 million in their work! 


 Text and photos YastikaK SMSMB India                       Sources:

Attribution: By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

URL: They have their own website –

Attribution: "Dabba" by fr:Utilisateur:Nataraja - Utilisateur:Nataraja on French wikipedia - from French wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons -


"Dabbawalasmumbai" by - Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -