Categories: Featured

Technology Vs Simplicity: How food delivery differs in Nairobi and Mumbai

125 years ago a business was born in Mumbai India that changed the way people had their lunch.

Today, this innovative yet simple food delivery system is still as operative and just as popular as it was back then, but only in Mumbai.

The Dabbawala is a delivery person who collects hot lunches from resident cooks and delivers the meals to various work places using bicycles or the train. The men use the bikes to balance numerous lunch containers or tiffins (tin lunch boxes with different compartments) and deliver a hot home-cooked meal to the people of Mumbai, using an alpha numeric code that sorts out which meals are going where.

This mode of food delivery does not require any IT infrastructure which is contradictory to how it works in U.S or Europe or even here in Kenya. While food delivery is rapidly gaining popularity in the Country’s capital Nairobi, technology plays an intrinsic part of the entire process, where orders are transmitted from the restaurant to the rider using an automated system. But in Mumbai, the dubbawallas have mastered their craft and the alpha numeric code is something that they are so familiar with that they are known to confidently claim how the codes are ‘imprinted in their minds’.

Another comparison to draw from these two delivery systems is that the people of Mumbai seem to have a preference for home cooked meals for reasons such as cost as well as health. And while there is the option to order a healthy meal through online delivery, fast food always seems to reign as the first choice for many city dwellers whose love for pizza, burgers and fried chicken has seen the entry of International Fast food joints make their mark here in the city.

However urban online food delivery may be here or other parts of the world, it would appear that the dubbawallas are so famous in their service that they have drawn International interest from Fedex, one of the worlds most recognized courier delivery services as well as case studies from Harvard Business school. With that said, there can be no doubt that even the most sophisticated technology could learn something from the simplicity that the dabbawalas have to offer.

About Hellofood

The Hellofood/foodpanda group is the leading global online food delivery marketplace, active in 40 countries on five continents. The company enables restaurants to become visible in the online and mobile world and provides them with a constantly evolving online technology. For consumers, foodpanda offers the convenience to order food online and the widest gastronomic range, from which they can choose their favorite meal on the web or via the app

Innov8tiv is a dynamic Web source for technology news, resources and innovation, with a special focus on the entrepreneurial advances of Africans on the continent as well as in the Diaspora. This site seeks to not only inform consumers and companies about the latest in tech trends and ideologies, but to shed light on a phenomenon often ignored: the inventive, life-changing and creative engine that exists in Africa and among leaders of color around the world, including the UK, the Caribbean, Australia, and Asia. Send story ideas to

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