How to Start a Tiffin Service Business

If you love cooking and are passionate about hosting people to your food, start a tiffin or dabba service business with minimal investment

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If you love cooking and are passionate about hosting people to your food, you can start a simple yet interesting tiffin or dabba service business. It's an effective way to use your cooking skills to reap maximum profits with minimum investment.

Related Read: Examples of Food Business Ideas

What is a Tiffin Service

The model of tiffin service business is quite simple. You serve fresh and healthy home-made food to people who are living away from their homes. Typically, your customers will be young working professionals or students. So, the key to running a successful tiffin service is healthy and simple home-made food and nothing fancy.

Where to Begin

If you want to setup a dabba service facility at your home, you should have adequate space for cooking and packing bulk orders. A household kitchen of Indian homes is good enough to cook food for 40 to 50 people. But, as your customer base increases over 50 people, you may have to rent out a space in the same locality.

Next step is to get a food and safety license from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). However, this is mandatory only for those businesses that have an annual turnover of INR 12 lakh or more.

For marketing, dabba service mainly works on word of mouth. Positive feedbacks are what will get you more customers. However, you can market your company through social media as that's the most effective way of spreading word for small businesses with local presence. You can also post ads on Google, as that's the first place people look up for services they want to use.

Investment Required

Before putting together the cost, you must know that a basic meal typically consists of one dal, subzi, rice, chapattis and maybe even salad.

Costs borne by you will include the initial one-time investment and several recurring expenses.

One-time Investment

You need to make an initial investment of 20,000- 30,000 on utensils, burner and other essentials needed for cooking.

Recurring Costs

Running a tiffin service involves several recurring costs. Foremost, groceries cost per person, each day for two meals will be around INR 100.

If you handle most of the cooking work yourself, then you will need two assistants for cooking and cleaning, which will cost you anywhere between INR 6,000-8,000 per month. If you wish to provide door to door delivery then you'll have to shell out around INR 8,000 extra. However, door-to door delivery also means that you can charge INR 10-15 extra per thali.

Make sure that all orders that you take are within 4-5 km from your house so that food delivery, if you choose to give it, does not take more than half an hour.

If you rent out a medium size shop, it will be another INR 15,000-20,000 per month.

When you start your business we'd suggest posting google ads to get traction. This can cost you INR 10,000-12,000 per month. However, as you start getting reviews, you don't have to spend on this anymore.

What You Will Earn

Once you have a sizeable customer base, you can generate good revenue on your business.

Cost of a thali can range from INR 70-90 depending on the number of items you are providing. A thali with two vegetables, rice, salad and chappati will cost around INR 80.

If you are serving 50 people with two meals per day, your monthly income will be anywhere between INR 70,000 to INR 80,000 after deducting costs borne by you.

Other Business Ideas:

Online Tutor

Translation Business

Set-up Co-working Space

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Mobile App Developer


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