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Impresario Handmade Restaurants partners Mumbai's dabbawalas for home delivery

Mumbai’s iconic dabbawalas have been hit by the lockdown as demand for the tiffin carrying service shrunk with more people working from home and restrictions on mobility. (Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times)Premium
Mumbai’s iconic dabbawalas have been hit by the lockdown as demand for the tiffin carrying service shrunk with more people working from home and restrictions on mobility. (Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times)

  • As part of the pilot project, orders from its Social, Smoke House Deli, and Salt Water Cafe restaurants in the Lower Parel, Bandra (West), and BKC areas will be fulfilled by dabbawalas starting this week

NEW DELHI : Impresario Handmade Restaurants, which runs popular dining formats such as Social and Smoke House Deli has partnered with Mumbai’s dabbawalas to service direct delivery of orders received via Impresario’s ordering platforms.

“While restaurants have been devastated by the covid lockdowns and subsequent drop in revenue over the past year, Mumbai’s dabbawalas have been tragically out of jobs thanks to office closures and suspended railway travel, leading to tiffin services becoming a thing of the past. As the original backbones of Mumbai’s food delivery system, both entities have now come together to form a symbiotic partnership to empower and enable each other over the next few months," Impresario Handmade Restaurants said in a statement on Thursday.

As part of the pilot project, orders from its Social, Smoke House Deli, and Salt Water Cafe restaurants in the Lower Parel, Bandra (West), and BKC areas will be fulfilled by dabbawalas starting this week. The orders will be received via Impresario's own tech platforms. The partnership will roll out in phases over the next few months, it added.

The restaurant industry is dealing with another slump in business as the current covid surge has led to state-level lockdowns. In most cases, restaurants are open only for delivery.

The industry, meanwhile, has also been promoting direct delivery from restaurants that they say will help cut commissions that aggregators charge. However, orders via aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato still form the bulk of deliveries for most chains.

“Ordering directly from restaurants (and not through aggregators) empowers us to have direct and deeper relationships with our customers and saves on prohibitive commissions being paid out to them. We are then able to pass these savings on to our customers and allow them to benefit from ordering directly. Now, ordering directly is also helping to provide employment to our dabbawalas, who have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic," said Riyaaz Amlani, chief executive officer and managing director, Impresario Handmade Restaurants.

Mumbai’s iconic dabbawalas have been hit by the lockdown as demand for the tiffin carrying service shrunk with more people working from home and restrictions on mobility.

The first lockdown was the toughest for Mumbai’s dabbawalas, said Ulhas Muke, President, Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust, part of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association.

“Although there are many restaurants and hotel chains in our city, we’ve only catered to office-goers at their workplace in the past. Now that work from home has become the norm, it’s important to go where the customer is. We’re delighted to partner with Impresario Handmade Restaurants to help customers get fresh and delicious food delivered at home," he said.

Meanwhile, Impresario will soon launch a subscription-based meal service in Mumbai, delivering home-cooked meals starting at 6,000 per month. This will be available across Khar, Vikhroli, Versova, and Lower Parel during the first roll out phase starting from 24 May 2021. The meals will be delivered by the dabbawalas.

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