There’s nothing like enjoying a Sunday afternoon in the shade of a tree on a picnic mat, surrounded by delicious food, a drink or two, great company in the form of friends or books, and the background music of bird songs.
Two enterprising women bring this magic to a picnic. Shwetha Gupta and Bhawna Rao, of The picnic company who didn’t think twice before setting up a leisure-themed company in the middle of a pandemic.
Shwetha and Bhawna are friends who became business partners and brought their professional backgrounds together to introduce something new to the Indian market. While Shwetha has a background in event management and hospitality, Bhawna is a travel enthusiast who runs the travel company Encompass Experience.
The Picnic Company was founded in November 2020 with the idea of curating the perfect picnic where customers can just enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about planning. The brand’s Instagram offers insights into the 24 picnics they’ve had since it was launched.
A normal picnic day
“The idea came up when we discovered that entertainment options were almost nil due to COVID-19 restrictions. Restaurants, cinemas or even just a simple trip to the shopping center were no longer possible. People had to find ways to get away, and many opted for long drives or short breaks to places outside of Bengaluru. We thought we could add some fun and organization to that, ”says Shweta, who also owns and operates the popular company Whattay Brewpark, a resto-bar on Kanakapura Road.
The team identified and worked with private farms on the outskirts of the city. The locations are scenic and are ideal for family or friends to spend a relaxing day outdoors. Once a picnic package is purchased, the team plans the location (one of the farms) that food hinders, sets it up and even tidies up when the fun is over.
Green all around
“Our unique selling point is our collaboration with private farms. Our customers are guaranteed privacy as well as safe and hygienic outdoor spaces. What we noticed during the pandemic was that more and more people were venturing out on long car journeys and outdoor escapes, popular tourist attractions in and around Bengaluru became crowded and surpassed the whole purpose of social isolation. With The Picnic Company you can be sure that this will not be a problem, ”says Shwetha.
“We attach great importance to zero waste. Most of our inventory is reusable and we try to avoid plastic as much as possible, especially considering COVID-19 restrictions. While we would have loved to use cloth napkins, we resorted to handkerchiefs. Every picnic area is also free of waste after our guests have left. It’s a very important element for us, ”says Bhawna.
A big part of a great picnic experience is food, and that’s something the duo put a lot of emphasis on.
“Since it’s a picnic, it’s all cold food. But that doesn’t take away the taste and variety from our menu. We have Indian and Continental three course menu options and customers can choose either or both. A picnic basket is big enough for a family of four, and all food is served by the Whattay Brewpark Restaurant, ”says Shwetha.
A simple basket costs Rs 4,999. This includes dining for four or three hours on a private farm, guaranteed privacy and a large picnic mat. The company does not encourage groups over the age of 20 to maintain the comfort and serenity of the location. For parties that require a full table setup, elaborate dining, longer duration, etc. the cost is over Rs 10,999.
The Picnic Company’s picnic basket includes starters, main courses and desserts.
Shwetha and Bhawna share their plans and are sure they want to create an ecosystem to support small businesses in the same direction. “We are passionate about social entrepreneurship and really want to build something that will benefit other related small businesses. We’re still thinking about how we can do this organically, ”says Bhawna.
The duo are initially looking for investors to expand this business to other cities. “We have customers who call us and say we’re doing this in Delhi and Mumbai. We would like to do it, but at the moment resources are limited to Bengaluru, ”says Shwetha.
They say you bring your own weather to the picnic. And by the way, there is always The Picnic Company!