Take Care International Foundation


Dabbawalas – Thinking “Out of the box”

Before the advent of Swiggy and Zomato in our country, one of the best food supply chain management was carried out by Dabbawallas. Decades after their conception, new businesses still marvel at their flawless supply chain management. The Dabbawallas, however, have a rather interesting back story.

A long time ago in the small village of Bishnupur lived a man named Amit. His daily work was to pick up and deliver food “dabbas” from his neighborhood houses to schools, colleges, and government offices. The money that he earned from this work helped him fend for his family of two (i.e) his wife, Hima and 16-year-old son, Amar.

Amit used to deliver food to the school in which Amar studied. Amar found it painful to see his dad work so hard with almost no rest. His father has always encouraged Amar to study as they believed a good education would finally break the chain of poverty in the family. The boy followed his father’s words and put his heart and soul into his education. But the desire to provide a more comfortable lifestyle for his father never left his mind. One day, while studying, he came up with a brilliant plan to expand his father’s work.

He approached his father the next day with a plan to turn his daily work into a functioning business by employing the people of the neighborhood to deliver the food boxes and sharing one half of the revenue with them. Though initially skeptical, Amit went along with his son’s idea after seeing the boy’s genuine interest. Amar’s plan worked wonders and his family soon became affluent within a very short span of time. The people of Bishnupur lauded Amit for his rags to riches story and decided to honor him. Amit dedicated all his success to his son for his brilliant plan and faith in the business.

The Dabbawalas as we know today has gone on to expand all over Mumbai and have recorded an expansion rate of 5-10% a year. They are stark examples that there’s no right age to come up with bright ideas if you have the faith and will to work towards it.

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