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Mumbai dabbawalas will now turn delivery partners for chain of restaurants



With COVID-19 impacting lives on so many levels, times are hard with and it has been a tough time for so many folks to make ends meet. Lending hand to help those who need it is what is the need of the hour and Mumbai’s dabbawalas, who had been reeling under the economic brunt of the pandemic now have a saviour to help them. Riyaaz Amlani has joined hands with these the dabbawalas as delivery partners. The aim is to facilitate direct ordering from restaurants.

Starting this week, they will carry the first food orders in Lower Parel and BKC.

In the deadly second wave of the pandemic, the F&B community has been adversely affected owing to restaurants being shut by lockdown. Mumbai’s dabbawalas, too, have been facing hard times and many are out of a job with offices shut and railway travel suspended. But the tiffin service carriers will get a new filip as Riyaaz’s restaurant company is employing several dabbawalas in Mumbai who will service direct delivery orders received on tech-enabled platforms for his brands. Orders from these restaurants in Lower Parel, Bandra (West), and BKC are expected to roll out this week by the dabbawalas. Talking about his new association, Riyaaz says, “Mumbai’s dabbawalas are the backbone of the city, and partnering with them to weather the second wave is the best thing we can do for each other. 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. This is also helping to provide employment to our dabbawalas, who have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic. We need to support each other through these trying times. We’re hopeful that this association will trigger the rest of the hospitality industry to employ them too.”

If you are wondering about the safety norms, then they plan to adhere to that. Mayank Bhatt, business head, who is spearheading this project, says all government-mandated SOPs will be followed and the dabbawalas will also undergo regular health check-ups to ensure safety and hygiene practices are being implemented.

‘Our members were left with little to no money in their bank accounts’
The dabbawalas are glad to be able to take up the work. Ulhas Muke, President, of a tiffin box suppliers charity trust, which is part of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, says, “When the first lockdown hit, it was the toughest time we’ve ever faced; our members were left with little to no money in their bank accounts. 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.”

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