Tif­fin ca­reer

Home-made and home-de­liv­ered food is a hit in Delhi


SDelhi-based nonWECHHA, A profit, has been run­ning pro­grammes to ed­u­cate chil­dren be­long­ing to the weaker sec­tions of so­ci­ety for the past 15 years. Last year, it started a food-de­liv­ery ser­vice, called Lunch­box 17, in as­so­ci­a­tion with women liv­ing in Jag­damba camp, Sheikh Sarai, a slum area in South Delhi. ‘17’ denotes the postal code of Jag­damba camp.

Get­ting home-made food is a ma­jor prob­lem for Delhi’s vast work­ing,mi­gra­tory pop­u­la­tion,which does not have the time or re­sources to cook food at home. This has cre­ated a huge de­mand for home-de­liv­ered lunch box busi­ness in the city. Non-prof­its, small-scale start-ups and en­trepreneurs have been join­ing the grow­ing in­dus­try.

Our meals cost ` 80-120,de­pend­ing on whether the food is vege­tar­ian or non­veg­e­tar­ian,”says Sourabh Sengupta,head of oper­a­tions,Lunch­box 17.“We have trained all our cooks to pre­pare food with min­i­mum oil and spices and to main­tain hy­giene.The cooks wear chef hats and we make sure the kitchen is clean at all times,”he adds.

Some tif­fin ser­vices in the city have grown at a phe­nom­e­nal rate. For in­stance, Calo­rie Smart, a Gur­gaon-based com­pany that de­liv­ers food ex­clu­sively to pri­vate com­pa­nies, had only 10 cus­tomers in 2011. To­day,the num­ber has spi­ralled to over 800. They sell around 600 plates per day, with each plate cost­ing ` 100-200. Es­ti­mates sug­gest their monthly profit is eas­ily over ` 1 lakh.

“We of­fer six types of cui­sine— Chi­nese,Le­banese,Mex­i­can,In­dian,Ital­ian and Thai. Each plate is set ac­cord­ing to the calo­ries one wants to con­sume,”says Dim­ple Chat­ter­jee, di­rec­tor of sales and cus­tomer en­gage­ment, Calo­rie Smart. “The cost of some of our plates can go up to ` 300,” she adds. Calo­rie Smart has a small team of 10, which in­cludes cooks and helpers,and their monthly salary ranges from ` 9,000 to ` 14,000.

Talk­ing about the re­mu­ner­a­tion given to the women work­ing at Lunch­box 17, Sengupta says,“They are paid about ` 8,500 a month. Th­ese women have never been fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent. This ini­tia­tive has

Some tif­fin ser­vices in Delhi de­liver food to cus­tomers within 40 min­utes of its prepa­ra­tion

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