Whenever I go in a new city to stay, after foodie escapades of exactly two week – when my digestive tract starts rejecting  everything I eat on road side ( be it a Baba ramdev dhaba at Nigdi,Pune or Chur chur naan at Gurgaon), I feel like booking a Tiffin service straight away for regular dinner. That will save my hell lot of time and on time delivery will ensure that I eat something to keep my motor running.

It works fine for first week. I feel eager to grab the Tiffin box from delivery boy and taste the food as soon as I get comfortable in the surroundings of newly occupied room. Then comes the second week and the turmoil begins again – I hate that look of Tiffin! Comes third week & my hands deny to plunge Roti in the ocean of dal! By fourth week my tongue joins the mood of hand and declares – No taste at all buddy. Then comes the sinking feeling – Is this what I am earning for!

All this has prompted me to begin a new topic for discussion about the Tiffin! Though it’s a personal thing for me but I guess there are others who suffer like me but can’t raise the red flag! Intolerance haters might return their awards citing a conspiracy against “Tiffin”. Still I am writing with a hope that a sensible founder will read this and will think along. I am simply putting a seed.

History of Tiffin

Tiffin is a word with Indo-English origin which earlier refereed to a light meal. Its definition over the period of time has changed and now it’s a well known name for lunch boxes, and dinner boxes. It contains 3 to 4 small size boxes stacked together with help of a structure. This stacked structure is either used as it to deliver food or is kept in another shining plastic cover up box (whose color faded away earlier than the whistle of cooker).

Tiffin Content

What has to be kept in tiffin is fixed – a curry, chapatti and dal. Four boxes restrict the addition of any other content, though to the respite of Janta – curry could be either veg or non-veg as per demand. And in case you want something else, you need to get one of the contents replaced by the one of your own choice.

Famous Tiffin Service Providers

Mumbai dabbawalas are an organization which delivers homemade food in tiffin to the subscribers. Foodees and Spicebox are few more names in this domain. In every city you will fine hundreds of tiffin service providers and content everywhere is same – Dal Chawal Roti & curry.

FS Labs - Why not change the design of Tiffin

Now let us discuss why I felt like stopping the tiffin service after 4 weeks?

Tiffin service providers do a good job to provide a solution to the dinner and lunch; here are certain points which I noted down when I got served for dinner by Yadav Tiffin service

  • Tiffin has only four boxes, what if I want to have chutney or salad or a sweet or lassi or butter milk?
  • Most of the times I got mixed dal. There was nothing like a yellow dal or dal makhani ever on special days.
  • Curry (Veg) was same thrice a week and that too the cheapest item in the market.
  • I hated the way in which roti was kept. Folded and without butter. Sometimes I found it tough to chew that thing.
  • Plastic cover in which the tiffin was stacked often had a dull look. It was too dull in color to attract me to open the same.
  • And the amount charged for the service was decent enough – 100 Rs/Day.
  • There was never a call for feedback though they charged proactively at the beginning of month.
  • There was never a regular guy for delivery.

Considering the volume of the public which depends upon the tiffin service, it’s very difficult to digest the fact that there has never been any discussion on changing the size of tiffin. Why only four boxes? Even if there are four boxes then why not increasing size stacked one below other so that bottom most tiffin could accommodate more than one or two food items? And why none of the service providers ever try to serve something customer pleasing? Is it all about serving “cold, least tasty, just for serving, without any lure” type of food to those subscribers whose health is dependent on tiffin service?

So what is the scope of improvement in tiffin service?

[A] Changing the design of tiffin – From a classical “stacked 4 box kept in a plastic box“tiffin we could get only basic food requirement fulfilled. If we wish to make food delicious for the subscribers of the tiffin service, change in the design is need of hour.

A possible design can be – All four boxes have increasing size from top to bottom, and bottom two boxes with bigger size and partitioned into two half could possibly add two more compartments in a tiffin box. Salad and chutney along with some sprouts/ fruits could be included in the service. This will definitely add some value to the tiffin.

[B] Changing the menu – There are customers who are willing to pay good for a healthy and delicious food. Serving them with same curry thrice a week is like killing your own business. Nobody is stopping the service provider to look for veg or non-veg items which are in middle or top level of price chart. Planning the content for whole week in advance will help in managing the show in a better way. Customer will get variety and owner will be able to manage funds.

[C] Customer feedback is must – Nobody can force any product on customer. He is the king. Staying in touch of customer once in a week/ once biweekly will be suffice to keep the interest of customer intact on tiffin service provider. A little personal touch can do wonders to the tiffin delivery service.

[D] Add additional items in service menu – Health is dependent on food. Additional food items which are good for health could always be included in the tiffin service provided the service provider asks customer for preference.

[E] Special day should not be on the weekends – Most of the tiffin providers serve special food on weekends. Problem with this is – generally most of the crowd goes outdoors for parties etc on weekends. One Extra meal with too much luxury is not the requirement of customer. He will not be able to appreciate the content and neither will he be able to enjoy the food.

On the other hand if special day is on middle of the week, customer will be able to enjoy the food to the fullest.

[F] Plastic Box could be made attractive – What is being noticed first by customer is the Plastic cover box. The cover box could be made more attractive for the purpose of keeping customer’s hunger alive.  Its cleanliness is again a mood maker for the customer. Small things count and this will ensure that service provider will not lose customer in 4 weeks.

[G] Let customer decide what to eat – Another extension could be to get menu from customers beforehand. But the demand should always be from the variety of items present in your menu. Service provider will be able to plan his inventory in a better way and will be able to serve customer as per the requirement. This way the association between customer and service provider gains better bonding.

So as per FS Labs outlook, for Tiffin service providers it’s important to keep service interactive. Any side misses the interaction; chances of long term association are very less.