My wife loves picnics, but I’m not as huge a fan. It just feels like so much… hassle. You have to make all the food, fit it in a container, keep the cold stuff cold and the hot stuff hot, and heaven forbid someone brings something with eggs or mayonnaise, which I feel should be tossed the second a ray of sun hits it.
But if I was in New York City, my family could picnic with abandon by using Upicnic: a startup that lets you order picnic food and equipment and have it delivered to your desired patch of grass in a park. Once you’re done, they’ll come and pick it all up for you, too.
Based in East Harlem, Upicnic serves the five boroughs of New York City. Users go online (there’s no dedicated mobile app yet), then select their part of town and their chosen park. If the park is big enough (like Central Park), they have to specify a location within it. You can schedule your picnic in advance, or, depending on what is available, for later that same day.
Upicnic actually prepares its own food, and has a full-time chef on staff. All of the food has been created to eat outdoors, so things hold up in higher temperatures and last for hours.
In addition to food, you can rent games like cornhole and Jarts at $90 for the “Veggie Lovers Picnic,” which serves two people, and ratchet up from there.
I asked Upicnic Co-Founder and CEO Alp Behar how his company survives the picnic-free winter. He said that they actually do a lot of corporate picnic events throughout the year and when the weather turns bad, they just do events indoors.
Behar said that in 2017, Upicnic had 35 corporate clients and did 102 individual picnic orders between May and mid-September. The company is bootstrapped right now and has under ten employees. Behar said the company will be expanding to Miami next, and that eventually, he plans to split off the food side of the business, and turn the tech side into more of a platform for outdoor delivery. “The plan is to become the Seamless of outdoor locations,” Behar said.
The picnic delivery market may be small enough that Behar and Co. can fly under the radar and do just that. But there could also be competition on the fringes. While it doesn’t deliver jarts [AGAIN – DARTS?], Domino’s has started delivering food to outside locations like parks. And the corporate catering sector is hot right now, so companies like Square/Caviar or ZeroCater could gobble business if they decide to make a play for those corporate team building event dollars that get Upicnic through the winter.
But Upicnic doesn’t have to worry about that quite yet. Summer’s here and for New Yorkers at least, they can brave the heat, hit the parks and order up a pre-made picnic with no hassle.