Hotel Suppliers reporter interviews Picnic Time to learn more about their innovative take on hotel restaurant, bar and catering supplies.
Can you tell us more about the origin of the Picnic Time Family of Brands and its evolution over the years? What inspired the company’s founders to start this venture?
In 1975, Woodland Hills, Calif., Gustavo and Mario opened “Two Gentlemen from Verona” (Wine + Cheese + Shakespeare? Sure!) Their goal was to provide great wine, quality cheese, and fun, friendly service. As the store grew and expanded its offerings, they started to hear one question more than any other: “You have all the supplies for a perfect picnic. Do you have a basket we could put this in?”
But at that time, nobody was making a picnic basket that met their standards. If nobody was doing it right, Gustavo and Mario would do it themselves. Six months and several trips across the Pacific later, our two global circumnavigators unloaded a container of empty, hand-woven baskets into Gustavo’s garage. After recruiting some family members to sew napkins and tablecloths, Picnic Time was born.
Sales began locally in the shop; over time they grew regionally and then nationally through trade shows and rapid word of mouth. When the dynamic duo outgrew the garage, they closed their wine and cheese shop and moved into a warehouse in Moorpark, Calif., where they could put all their focus on picnicking.
The company’s mission is to inspire friends and family to come together and make lasting memories. Could you share some examples of how your products contribute to this mission?
The Picnic Time Family of Brands is made up of four entertaining and lifestyle brands, all of which are built to enhance your precious leisure time. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a picnic pro, a beachcomber, or a cocktail party aficionado, we have got you totally covered with hundreds of celebration-worthy products. Our products are designed to be used at parties, as gifts, at tailgates, camping, picnics and so much more. All events where people gather together to have a good time and create memories.
What sets each of your brands (Picnic Time, Oniva, Legacy, and Toscana) apart from one another in terms of the products they offer and the specific audiences they target?
Picnic Time is a brand rooted in romance and nostalgia, yet with a flair for adventure. Over the decades, our classic and timeless picnic baskets, wine baskets, and picnic totes have helped customers create memorable experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. Our mission is to create beautiful and functional products that last a lifetime and can be handed down amongst the generations.
Our Legacy brand honors artisans through a distinguished line of tools and necessities designed to complement the most sophisticated of craft brews, spirits, and wines. Beer flights, growlers, whiskey sets, bar accessory kits, wine totes, and beverage carriers – these modern yet timeless products embellish the ceremony and tradition of celebrating life with friends, family, colleagues, and friends not yet met.
Oniva is an ever-evolving brand rooted in outdoor recreation, an active lifestyle, and the joy of adventure. Oniva products are designed with movement in mind, with a broad offering of camp chairs, stadium seats, insulated totes, coolers, travel cases, beach essentials, and more! This diverse brand has something for the outdoor adventurer as well as the weekend warrior.
Classic Italian hospitality is the heart of our tabletop brand. Toscana is a line of serving boards, planks, stations, and cheese boards with simple, yet functional designs – centerpieces of hearth and home that bring people together to form warm, lasting memories over food & drink. Our products showcase the lovely grains and patterns of our environmentally-responsible natural woods, with beautiful finishes conveying the integrity of long-lasting quality.
How does your company approach product development? What factors influence the design and functionality of your products, such as hotel picnic solutions and bar accessories?
We develop our products with the end-consumer in mind. We want to make sure each and every item is well thought out. With all the necessary picnic or bar accessories at your fingertips, you have everything needed to make that moment special. We sell experiences that make memories while still following the basic concept of less disposable products and reuse as much as possible.
You mention that customization is available for many of your products. Could you elaborate on the various customization options you offer?
Many of our items can be decorated using a number of different decorating methods, making the items ideal for promotions, souvenirs or corporate gifts.
Methods offered include: Laser Engraving, Embroidery, Silkscreen, Digital Print, and Sublimation.
Sustainability and eco-consciousness are important considerations for many consumers today. How does your company incorporate sustainability into its products and operations?
EARTH-FRIENDLY MATERIALS: Our products are made of sustainable and/or renewable materials such as RPET, acacia wood, bamboo, parawood, mango wood, vegan leather, and more.
ENCOURAGING RE-USE: Our picnic baskets come with reusable utensils to help reduce the need for single-use plastics.
BOO TO LANDFILLS: We think our customers deserve products that last, instead of filling up landfills with shoddy throwaways. That’s a major reason why we offer and stand behind our Built to Last lifetime warranty!
REDUCED-WASTE SHIPPING: We use recycled cardboard for retail packaging and shipping cartons and minimal packing materials to reduce waste.
CHANGE BEGINS AT HOME (OR, IN OUR CASE, AT HQ): We’ve converted to low water use landscaping, implemented energy-efficient window tinting, installed low flush toilets, changed from fluorescent to LED lighting, and installed EV parking spaces complete with charging. We also have an in-house recycling program for cardboard, plastics, and glass.
In the competitive market of lifestyle and outdoor products, what do you believe sets the Picnic Time Family of Brands apart from other companies in the industry?
We know that spending quality time with your loved ones is important and shouldn’t be interrupted. We believe that our products should be strong, reliable, and should work the way they were intended. That’s why we are proud to offer The BUILT TO LAST Lifetime Guarantee. If any of our products fail to perform as promised, we will repair or replace your item without hassle and without charge- FOR LIFE.
As a family-run company based in Southern California, could you share how your location and company culture have influenced your business philosophy and approach?
Nearly 40 years after Picnic Time’s founding; after developing thousands of products, signing major licensing deals, and becoming total big-shots (jk!), we still have one guiding principle: Happiness is spending time and making memories with the people you love most. We make and sell products that enhance your precious leisure time – and make life a picnic!