If you want a perfect example of how the casual-dining breakfast industry is evolving, look no further than Snooze: an A.M. Eatery. Founded in Denver in 2006 on the foundation of the single shift — where employees could be home in time every day to have dinner with their families —Snooze has evolved into the 55-unit breakfast concept to beat.
“We think of our business through the lens of the mantra, ‘A stack of pancakes can actually change the world,’” said Andrew Jaffe, chief marketing officer with Snooze. “We want to have that type of mindset that we can do good in our communities, on our Snoozers, our guests, and have a positive impact on the planet. It gives us a reason to wake up every day.”
On the people front, Snooze not only gives employees — Snoozers — a more reasonable work-life balance than most other restaurants in the industry, but the company also emphasizes inclusivity as a value, and allows them to dress and act themselves, leaning away from the typical buttoned-up atmosphere of many restaurant chains.
“These values allow us to get the right Snoozers within our four walls — the kind that believe in and also want to have that positive impact,” Jaffe said. “We allow them to express their individuality … and it’s provided a really inclusive environment. I think our guests see that and appreciate it and they feel really connected to our Snoozers.”
Speaking of the environment, the second value on Snooze’s list is conscious conservation. From trash diversion programs and energy efficiency to cutting back on packaging and creating an annual tree planting program called “1 Tree, 1 Snoozer,” Snooze is big on lessening its carbon footprint and environmental impact. These values have been noticed and appreciated by the younger millennial and Gen Z demographics, which all restaurants are clamoring to gain the appeal of.
“These are the values that set us apart with our mission-based mindset, which we think is really relevant to today’s younger demographic,” Jaffe said. “Many of our Snoozers fall into that Gen Z and millennial category and they want to be a part of something bigger for their community.”
Of course, you can’t run a restaurant just based on inclusivity and a solid recycling program. Jaffe said he thinks that a creative menu, with out-of-the-box breakfast and brunch food and alcoholic drink options, really propels a concept. For example, that younger demographic wants to have alcoholic drinks as part of the boozy brunch mentality, but also want healthy options that aren’t just indulgent French toast and bacon platters, like an entirely plant-based menu category. Snooze’s menu ranges from breakfast pot pie and shrimp and grits to bacon flights and a build-your-own egg sandwich. And the drinks menu isn’t just Bloodys and mimosas: they also have a strawberry cereal milk cocktail.
With all of this menu creativity under its belt, Snooze has lofty ambitions to expand soon, with 10-plus locations opening in 2023.
“We’re most excited about our continued growth and ability to drive change in the industry,” Jaffe said. “And as they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. There’s opportunity for concepts in the breakfast category to be inspired by these values and make a difference in their own communities.”