Mumbai’s Dabbawalas Will Now Deliver Food From Top Restaurants Like SOCIAL & Smoke House Deli

by Sanjana Shenoy
Mumbai’s Dabbawalas Will Now Deliver Food From Top Restaurants Like SOCIAL & Smoke House Deli

Maharashtra, one of the worst affected states by the coronavirus infection, imposed a strict lockdown till June 1, 2021. With the implementation of curfew, only essential services will be permitted. All amusement parks, cinema halls, gyms, religious places, salons,  swimming pools are shut down. While the economy has come to a halt to give first priority to the safety of the citizens, Mumbai’s lifeline, the famed ‘Dabbawalas’ are once again badly affected by the Covid restrictions. The 130-year-old delivery network witnessed a 90 per cent plunge in its business. But now like a ray of sunshine, top restaurants in the city have partnered with dabbawalas to deliver restaurant food to the doorsteps of hungry foodies. Here are all the deets.

Mumbai’s Top Restaurants Partner With Dabbawalas To Deliver Restaurant Food To Homes

Impresario Handmade Restaurants, running popular dining chains like SOCIAL and Smoke House Deli has partnered with Mumbai’s dabbawalas to directly deliver their orders received from Impresario’s online platforms. As part of the pilot project, orders from Smoke House Delhi, SOCIAL and Salt Water Cafe in the Lower Parel,  BKC and Bandra (West) areas will be delivered by dabbawalas. This one-of-a-kind initiative will uplift the dabbawallas currently facing a slump in businesses due to the coronavirus induced lockdown. Ordering food directly through Impresario’s online platforms will give customers a discount of up to 25 per cent plus home delivery. This is indeed a ray of home for dabbawalas. So, the next time you order from your favourite restaurant through their own app, you will be greeted by a dabbawala handing you a food parcel at your doorstep.


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Dabbawalas In Mumbai Struggle To Earn Amid Covid Induced Lockdown

The lunchbox delivery men on Mumbai or Dabbawalas would earlier deliver over 2,00,000 lunches by bicycles daily. They earned over ₹20,000 per month. The coronavirus pandemic created havoc in their business. Earlier, 5000 dabbawalas were employed, after the first lockdown, only 400 to 500 continued to work. Now with the financial capital of India, Mumbai worst hit by COVID-19, only 200 to 250 dabbawalas are left. And they struggle to earn even ₹5000 per month.

Mumbai Dabbawalas
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Vishnu Karduke, a dabbawala and spokesperson of their union stated to Times Now, It feels like life has come to a halt. So many changes have taken place (during the pandemic) that out of 5,000 Dabbawalas only 450-500 are working because customers are very few. People are doing any job they can get, some have taken up farming while some have become construction labourers. And those who had rented homes in Mumbai fled from the city and never returned.” If you’re like to help the Dabbawalas, click here.

Picture Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Mumbai Dabbawalas Appeal To State Government For Financial Support

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The Dabbawalas are semi-literate people from rural areas. They collect hot meals from customer’s homes and using an efficient delivery system, they carry them to offices and schools across the city. The delivery system was the primary source of income for 5000 dabbawalas and their families. They lost their bread and butter overnight when PM Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March 2020. Vitthal Rao, a dabbawala for 25 years stated to Times Now, “The income drop is a huge problem for us, as we have children to look after at home.”  Rao urged the Maharashtra government to provide financial aid to sectors worst hit by the pandemic. We at Curly Tales got the privilege to converse with the dabbawalas of Mumbai and create awareness on their problems amid the pandemic.