[App Friday] This food delivery app is taking a leaf out of Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas

Launched in November 2020, food delivery startup Dabbawala operates in Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi, and Tier-II cities, including Kolhapur and Sangli. The app has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play Store.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the online food delivery industry in India reached greater heights. According to Statista, the online food delivery market is set to grow at a CAGR of 13.23 percent to reach $19,591 million (in volume) by 2025. 

As restaurants shut their doors to in-person dining and allowed takeaways, food delivery and cloud kitchen startups gained the most. Besides Zomato, Swiggy, Amazon, too, wants a piece of this pie.

Dabbawala is one such food delivery app. Launched in November 2020, the Mumbai-headquartered startup makes deliveries across Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi, and Tier-II cities, including Kolhapur and Sangli

The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play Store. At present, Dabbawala has over 10,000 downloads and boasts of a 4.0 rating on Google Play Store. 

Credit: YourStory Design

How does it work?  

Once downloaded, the Dabbawala app asks for the user’s phone number and name to create an account. The app sends an OTP to verify the contact number, post which takes the user to the app home page. 

Dabbawala’s app layout boasts a red and white colour theme and has a logo of a dabbawala holding a delivery bag — similar to the dabbawalas operating in Mumbai.  

The app’s top banner runs a “free delivery” feature, showcasing the restaurant that offers this particular service, and other restaurants and eateries, offering food at discounted rates. Besides, the main page also features a ‘top offer’ and a ‘top picks’ section.

After choosing a particular restaurant, the app shows the delivery time and the minimum order value, other offers, restaurant info, and search options on the top of the page. 

Unlike other food delivery apps, users can search for food items on the menu by simply swiping left or right on the restaurant landing page. The Dabbawala app also offers an additional information page with restaurant details, including ratings, average delivery time and prices, etc.

Users can choose the restaurant, select their food items, and head over to the checkout page, where they can review their order, provide specific instructions, if any, apply a promo code, and make the payment to receive the order. 

It also offers a referral bonus to users and a feature to add tips for the delivery partner. Unless already added, the app prompts the user to add their address and asks them to verify it before making the payment. 

The Dabbawala app accepts payments from credit and debit cards, net banking, cash on delivery, and UPI payment. Once the order is placed, the app also gives cashback offers. 


The Dabbawala app is easy to use, similar to other food delivery platforms. From the top-left corner, where the user’s address is showcased to the checkout page — users can easily navigate on the platform. 

However, the app is not without a few bugs. According to its Google Play Store page, Dabbawala recently fixed a few issues for the smooth functioning of the app. 

Meanwhile, switching between delivery addresses and restaurants are a few other challenges within the app. 

Since the app is considerably new, its selection of restaurants is limited. As the startup partners with more restaurants and eateries in its target markets, this issue is expected to improve. 

Edited by Suman Singh


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