High-tech Dabbas

High-tech Dabbas

By Puja Disha Bharwani
Getting healthy food delivered to your desk is easier than ever. When India’s renowned dabbawalas meet modern technology, good things happen

When you’re peckish, that’s when you’re most likely to reach for the salty snacks. If only there were an infallible delivery system of nutritious meals.

Enter Mumbai’s dabbawalas (lunch box carriers). This army of deliverymen is world renowned for their precise efficiency in supplying the city’s working population with home cooked food in a dabba (lunch box). Flawlessly delivering 130,000 lunches each day in Mumbai alone, it’s no surprise they’ve even been studied by companies like FedEx and Virgin Atlantic.

Lunch is served

Each working day, thousands of lanky dabbawalas clad in signature white shirts and Gandhi topis start a multi-platform logistical journey. Picking up colour-coded dabbas from homes, they deliver them to thousands of office tables using bicycles, trains, long wooden crates and more. But as India’s working population grows and modernises, so have the tasty offerings.

“The food scene in India has changed so much over the past two years. In addition to having a variety of cuisine options, the level of convenience we have now in terms of ordering food is something I never would have imagined,” says 33-year-old business executive Harsha.

She regularly uses these services to order her meals in the office, and sometimes at home.

“Whether it’s ordering delivery from a restaurant or shopping for groceries and imported ingredients, I can order almost anything online and it is delivered to my doorstep in no time,” she adds.

Tech and tummies

Thanks to the insatiable appetite of Mumbai and Delhi residents, new restaurants are springing up daily. And they’re partnering with delivery companies equipped with sophisticated technological platforms so you can customise your dabba. Now, you can choose from a variety of Uber-like transport options, ensuring every meal arrives in record time to satisfy those hunger pangs.

“With such a large variety of avenues to order from, the consumer really benefits. With new technology, it gives users a chance to see what their next meal is likely to look like. It just enhances the whole experience,” says 27-year-old finance professional Harsh.

This level of customisation isn’t just about comfort, though. It also makes it easier to make healthy food choices. If you can get a low-calorie vegetarian meal delivered in under an hour, it gives you less excuse to snack on junk food. Given that a recent survey revealed 80 percent of Indian urban women are overweight, it’s more important than ever for city-dwellers to keep their waistline in check.

Here’s a list of online kitchens you can choose from, to get good food delivered in good time.

1. Chatpata chef

They provide healthy, low-fat and economical meals in tiffins for lunch and dinner. Order the night before and Mumbai’s dabbawallahs will team up with them to deliver the tiffin the next working day.

2. Hola Chef

Get a Master Chef to whip up gourmet meals—from Mexican to Middle-Eastern or Kashmiri, they cater to many palates. They partner with logistics companies and also have in-house delivery people to get your meal to you in a snap.

3. Instakhanna

Order your meal from their rotating menu created by their in-house chefs. You will get a call from the driver delivering your meal five minutes before arrival. At this point, simply head to the curb and collect your food.

4. Fresh Menu

Their USP is the fusion foods on offer—Chicken Tikka Focaccia or Paneer Croissant anyone? Tap to order through their android and iOS mobile apps or website, and meals will be delivered in 45 minutes.