The famed Mumbai 'Dabbawalas' feared no threat from burgeoning hotels and food courts as people still "prefer to have home made food" at their workplace.

"We are not afraid of more new hotels or food courts that may come up in the future in the city," Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association (MTBSA) CEO Pawan Agarwal said.

Speaking at a meeting organised by Rotary Club Madras, Agarwal, whose organisation represents the dabbawalas, said even parents of the children, studying in international schools, prefer to pack home food for their children.

"Moreover, most people in their 30s prefer having home food for breakfast and lunch instead of having food from outside," he said adding that MTBSA customers were satisfied with the service.

Citing a recent survey, Agarwal claimed that MTBSA in last 120 years of its operation had made just one error in 16 million transactions.

He said his organisation could not increase the salary of its employees as most of its customers do not agree to a hike in their service cost.

"We tried to increase the service charges by 50 per cent from the customers so that our employees can get more salary. However, only ten per cent of our customers agreed to it."

Currently, MTBSA charges between Rs 300 and Rs 350 per month from its customers and pays a monthly salary of maximum Rs 6,000, to some 5,000 people employed with it.

The hard work and prompt service of Mumbai 'dabbawalas' also drew the attention of Britain's Prince Charles who invited two of them for his wedding.

They have also taught Virgin Atlantic chief Sir Richard Branson a thing or two about "service with a smile."