Student-owned luxury picnic service creates tech-free connections

The Outdoor Table, a local luxury picnic service, launched the week of March 21. Photo courtesy of Joshua Martin and Savannah Gray

By Avery Owens | Staff Writer

Grounded on the mission to create a space for authentic connection, The Outdoor Table, local luxury picnic service, launched the week of March 21.

Parker, Colo. senior Grace Casper is the entrepreneur behind the new business.

“The whole purpose behind it is to treat people that you love to a luxury experience and to celebrate them, whether that’s a tiny victory like an ‘A’ on a test or a big victory, like an anniversary,” Casper said. “Another core value of our business is to be a tech-free experience. I want people to put their phones away and look at one another eye-to-eye, sitting down at a beautiful picnic and really make connections with one another.”

Casper said she hopes her business will make people rethink experiences surrounding food.

“I want people to try to redeem the meal experience. I don’t want it to be rushed or something to just get through but something to be savored and enjoyed with those that you love,” Casper said.

Casper’s business plan is a part of her senior capstone project as an entrepreneurship major. She said she singlehandedly brought together each part of the picnic.

“I went to different stores throughout Waco and found beautiful pieces that I could add to a table. Soon enough I had really cool pillows and candlesticks,” Casper said. “I ended up building my own table. I bought wood from Lowe’s. I just really fell in love with the idea.”

Although there are other picnic services in Waco, Casper said she believes hers stands out.

“What sets me apart is that I am a younger entrepreneur. I want to be more polished, more boho and more college-centered,” Casper said. “I’m really hoping to target college students.”

Assistant professor Dr. David Scheaf said Casper’s business is a great way for her to combine her motivations.

“Casper is super motivated. She really wants to figure out ways to be successful as far as being an entrepreneur. She really wants to make an impact on the community,” Dr. Scheaf said. “I’m curious to see what becomes of her in the next ten years. This could be it, or this could be part of the stepping stone.”

The Outdoor Table offers two packages, the basic or party package, which can be found on their website.

“At the base level, I offer the service of setting up and taking down a picnic without any food. That will be the beautiful table, the beautiful place setting and the pillows. I also provide a bottle of wine and flowers with that first package,” Casper said. “The second package can include a charcuterie board, which is really fun and special. I also have a bunch of add-ons, one of the add-ons being a photo op.”

Casper said she hopes to see her luxury picnics grow into a popular option when planning events.