Posted by: oysterculture | December 30, 2008

Tiffin a brilliant idea!

I just read an interesting article by ABHEEK BHATTACHARYA | From The Wall Street Journal Asia called:   An Old Indian Lunch Service Hits New Shores –  The taste of tiffin delights Indians at home and abroad. 

All I can say is what a wonderful concept, and its a wonder no one in the US  thought to implement it earlier.  Well they may have, and if so they need better marketing.  Having done so many years in the corporate world where the choices are less than stellar, and definitely less than healthy sandwiches or other fast food – this option seems a godsend.  According to the article, small restaurant have popped up in Hong Kong, London, and San Francisco to offer these home cooked Indian style meals.  Apparently the prices are right too, as Abheek mentions  the cost of $25 HK dollars (~$3 US) for a meal he got in Hong Kong.

I did a quick web search to see what places pop up in the Bay Area and Annadaata’s is the only place I found that provides this service.    There may be more, and if so please let me know.

I first read about the entrepeneurs in Munbai called “dabbawallahs” when I was preparing for some Six Sigma training (another life) and they were written up in the Economist.   I’d love to be able to see them in action.   They built a vast network for the delivery of freshly cooked lunches from households to workplaces across the city (250 square miles,  mind you – no mean achievement).   Abheek states that their name is derived  as follows: “Dabba” refers to the lunch box; “wallah” is a suffix suggesting agency.  An incredible 4,000 dabbawallahs deliver more than 200,000 tiffins daily.   Harvard Business School wrote a case study on the 130-year old industry and Forbes awarded them a six-sigma rating — only one in 10,000 deliveries was misplaced!  Think about it 4,000 dabbawallahs doing 200,000 transactions a day for 130 years.  Phew!  I cannot find my Economist article, but they exceeded Six Sigma standards.  I recall mention that they were going to open a management consulting practice, too – good for them.

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