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Tiffin Trade

Tiffin Trade
It has never been impossible to make a living in the presence of hundreds of barriers and social stigmas. Reshma was a victim of one such social stigma, where women can’t work, they should not take up <g data-gr-id="109" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">job</g> outside and only men can be the breadwinners of the family. Her husband was always occupied in his business and never thought of what Reshma wanted in her life. It was back in 1997 when she realised that there is nothing that she couldn’t fight; there is nothing that women cannot fight for. Despite all the social barriers and conditions set by her family, she started her tiffin service to provide hot and fresh food to the ones who valued it the most.

She says, “We get calls from students, old people, professionals and even those who are renovating their homes and can’t cook”. A tiffin service is not exactly an unknown space as there are competitive players in the market, but for her it was never about competition but only about a customer’s satisfaction. Dal, rajma, <g data-gr-id="100" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">chhole</g>, <g data-gr-id="101" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">muttar</g> paneer and rice, this humble lunch, packed one dish above the other, is part of 200 three-tiered tiffin boxes that leave from Reshma’s Tiffin service in Vasant Kunj every day.

This business is growing as a massive tree because it is getting into all the various streams from one surface. It has become a business because this is one of the places where the investment is low and profit is mostly ensured. The standard rate for a <g data-gr-id="86" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">veg-thali</g> is Rs 50 and non-veg thali is Rs 60. 

Reshma says, “Though the customer base is growing day by day, there are some issues that need to be resolved. Tiffin delivery is a tedious work and it needs hard work and patience. So it is not easy to get labourers. Convincing people about the quality of food is another headache.” The range of clients varies from students in schools and universities to higher ups like CFOs, CEOs of organisations.

The number of tiffin services in Delhi and Bengaluru are 3,256 and 2,142 respectively and still counting. This industry is growing despite some challenges like; it is a highly price-sensitive market and logistics is another key challenge. But nevertheless, this business has touched heights as it is no 
longer limited to a door-to-door service. Also, there are online services to cater large numbers and to a wider locality.

In Delhi itself, there are 914 online services that are giving tough competition to home base caterers. The monthly turnover of Reshma’s tiffin service is 3 lakh with 200 customers per day and an average of Rs 50 per meal.

In Bengaluru, which is one of the leading cities with this business, these homemade tiffin services hire <g data-gr-id="79" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">oddiya</g> cooks. In the entire Bengaluru, both women and men cooks are from Odisha. These cooks and helpers are also available at websites like Babajob.com. Since every business needs people to provide such services, like maids, drivers, and cooks, the expansion of such websites are needed.

Another major challenge that the tiffin business faces is with the catering business in the market. The caterers start their investment with Rs 5 lakh and the providers of tiffin service <g data-gr-id="90" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">starts</g> their business with Rs 5,000. Though both the services are available online, but according to the survey 
conducted in 2012, the home made tiffin services are more promising with their taste and the quality of food.

Talking about competitors who can create traffic online, are the three players in Bengaluru called the Chulha.in, Itsmymeal.com and Papastiffin.in, targeting students, office goers and others for their daily meal requirements. And in Delhi, there is <g data-gr-id="94" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">homecurry</g>.in that has joined the online tiffin bandwagon. All of them are betting on a customer’s need for healthy meals outside <g data-gr-id="95" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">ones</g> home’s confinement. There is no flavour, no variety, and no taste that has been left untouched. From food lovers to people on diets, there is everything to satisfy their need. 

There are approximately 2,200 online tiffin services in Delhi and 1,700 in Bengaluru serving a large number of food lovers. <g data-gr-id="84" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAK0lEQVRYhe3OMQEAIAwDsA6DHPh/ZoTJ2JMoSPW7PwAAAMCqsx0AAAAAkgHerQKHq3BtYQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWP4vGvnfyYGBgYGABl4A2hm/SKhAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">Lohit</g> Das of Home Made Tiffin Service serves Assamese style food to students in North Campus with chicken and fish dishes in their tiffin so that they don’t miss their staple food.
There is also a service called Tattva Fresh Organic Kitchen which caters to the health conscious office goers by satisfying their craving for lettuce and pear salad or grilled veggie with peanut butter sauce. 

This business surprises its customers with a change in menu every day. They have “work day meals” that includes a light mid-morning snack, lunch and an early evening snack. The joy of opening up a warm home cooked meal is especially by office goers and hostel students who swear by these tiffin services than others.Dr Macheil K Faisal, an expert of food and hospitality industry, says that, “a good tiffin service should have a running test model and the food quality should be appreciated by customers with a loyal base of fans. The team should consist of experts from Hospitality & Marketing and should look forward to long term consistent profits”.

As the figures are increasing and the numbers are being counted, the food processing industry may touch Rs 4 lakh crore in the fiscal year of 2015 from Rs 3.3 lakh crore in <g data-gr-id="93" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">fiscal year</g> 2012, says the KPMG report. The employees in this business say that the tiffin service as a business accounts for six per cent to the GDP of food processing industry. According to the same report, the sector attracted $1.97 billion worth foreign direct investment from April 2000 to July 2013.

Increasing urbanisation and rise in disposable incomes are expected to push demand for processed and packed food further. Even though the country’s share in the global market is less but it has an expanding market at the domestic sphere.

As the numbers talk, this is fairly the most attractive market for beginners with basic investment in <g data-gr-id="104" style="display: inline; color: inherit !important; font-size: inherit !important; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: transparent; background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAA+gAAAACCAYAAADLlPadAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAKklEQVRYhe3OQQEAIAgEsMM6xrMb9SQGny3B6vb7AQAAAFad7QAAAACQDAGHAlfrnYEmAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC), url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAACCAYAAACZgbYnAAAABmJLR0QA/wD/AP+gvaeTAAAAEklEQVQImWNY/ejYfyYGBgYGABiLA1VQQvxSAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); background-size: 0px 2px, 100% 2px; background-position: 200% 100%, 0px 100%; background-repeat: no-repeat, no-repeat;">food</g> industry. This was the only reason that Reshma and many other women like her could have her own living, support her daughter’s education and be a proud woman. 
The feeling of being called an employer to 42 employees for her kitchen made her a recognised, successful and one of the most loyal traders of food and happiness in Delhi.
Kangana Sachdeva

Kangana Sachdeva

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