The story of Paris's most popular picnics

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected] • 15 Apr, 2015 Updated Wed 15 Apr 2015 14:19 CEST
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In the latest installment of our "Les Entrepreneurs" series, we talk to the Russian/American founder of Paris Picnic, Katya Kroupnik, about how she went from making three picnics a week to 30 a day in the space of a year.


Katya Kroupnik says she got the idea for starting Paris Picnic when she ran out of wine on a Sunday in Parc Monceau. 
"Almost everything's closed on Sundays in Paris and it took our friends so long to find wine that we started talking about how nice it would be if someone could just bring it to us," she tells The Local. 
Two years later and her company, Paris Picnic, was delivering up to forty full picnics a day for Parisians and tourists alike. 
So how does it work?
Paris Picnic gets rid of all the most tiresome aspects of the "pique-nique" so you don't have to think about it. Forget about buying and preparing the food, lugging your gear through the city, setting up the picnic and clearing up afterwards, not to mention carrying the empty cups and dirty plates home again. 
All that is gone. The team delivers the picnic to you anywhere in Paris in a little yellow Piaggio three wheeler together with all the necessary utensils and even a cotton picnic blanket (that you can keep). 
And if it's raining, you get a refund. 
"You can always get your own ingredients and do it yourself," Kroupnik says. "But we go the extra mile. We put it all together and even wrap it all up like the food is a little gift from your mum. It's like Valentine's Day every day."
And business is booming.
No doubt helped by the fact that the company rocketed for a time to the second-best ranked "restaurant" in the whole of Paris on TripAdvisor thanks to so many five-star reviews from happy customers. 
At its peak last summer, the company had ten people chipping in with help preparing the food, taking orders, and making deliveries. 
"It's funny, at this time last year I was just doing three picnics a week. The first time I had three in one day I could hardly keep up. By September we were constantly doing around 30 a day - and some of these were for groups with up to 20 people," Kroupnik explains.
"The growth has been exponential, and we're rehiring now," she says, adding that the team picked up a new Parisian co-founder over the winter. 
And the customers, one in four of whom are French, are loving it. 
She says the winning formula has been American-styled customer service with French food - "which sells itself". 
"And let's not forget the locations," she adds. 
The company even does tailor-made packages for birthdays or bachelorette parties, with things getting particularly exciting for the marriage proposals picnics, of which the company had 75 last year alone. 
"Of course it's romantic, but maybe I'm biased. But I think there's nothing more romantic than a picnic. You're outside, you're pausing from your day, you make your own ambiance, and you can enjoy your own special moment. It's about the extra planning and effort that you don't get with a restaurant," she says. 
But what about the food?
Usually it's organic, market-fresh food coming in four choices of baskets. These range from "Le Classique" including wine, cheese, meats, salad, and desserts (for €55 for two) to Le Chic which includes fois gras and drinks (for €85). There's even a dessert package complete with champagne and macarons. 
Paris Picnic officially reopens for business on April 15th. Check out their website here

(Founders Katya and Patrick enjoy a glass of wine in the Rhone-Alpes)



Oliver Gee 2015/04/15 14:19

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