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Women in Foodservice
Snooze Westminster All-Women's Shift - Courtesy of Snooze.jpeg Snooze an A.M. Eatery
The all-female shift at the Westminster, Colorado Snooze location.

How Snooze an A.M. Eatery is changing gender equity at all levels of the company

In 2018, Snooze had no female head chefs or female executives, and now, thanks to a company focus on equity of opportunity, those numbers are changing

For International Women’s Day on March 8, Snooze an A.M. Eatery is hosting all-women’s shifts at three restaurants, where every position — from chefs at the back of the house, to hosts at the front of the house, and including management — will be held by a woman. Behind this initiative that is meant to honor and empower women at the Denver, Colo.-based breakfast and brunch company, is an evolving inclusion and gender equity policy for Snooze.

Just over five years ago in 2018, there were zero female head chefs at Snooze, and all of the executive leadership roles were held by men. Today, just under one-quarter of head chefs at the company are women (at 16 stores out of 67), and one-third of the executive team is comprised of women, including chief people officer Brianna Borin and executive vice president of finance Carrie Hart.

“When we would have some of our annual GM leadership team meetings, they would do a panel with the executives, and Brianna Borin and I would just sit in the back of the room, and we were like, ‘what is wrong with this picture? There's four men sitting on stools,’” Carrie Hart said. “She and I have pushed each other forward into making ourselves visible and getting a seat at that table…. We were both able to do it within short order of each other, and really changed the dynamic at the company.”

Hart added that it’s crucial for companies to be able to “walk the walk” instead of just talk about inclusion and diversity, from the store level all the way up to the c-suite. In 2018, Snooze started a women’s leadership group called SheCakes as well as a DEI taskforce and have been working on empowering future leaders and filling roles throughout the company with women and people of color since then.

“We had a SheCakes event one time where we met with assistant managers, and one sous chef said she had one sous chef who, when she asked him to do X, Y, and Z as part of his job, would not unless the male GM came in,” Hart said. “We let her know that will not be tolerated. She did not know she had a voice.”

Since these groups were formed at Snooze, they have helped the company focus on company policies and initiatives that could be crucial for both women and people of color. Examples include increasing maternity and paternity leave benefits and offering breast milk shipping services for new parents if they are traveling. Another benefit they are currently working on is creating a buddy system for parents coming back from maternity leave to have support within the company to help transition back to full-time work life.

One crucial element of creating a more equitable gender balance at Snooze has been the crucial allyship and support of male leadership and employees throughout the company, including CEO David Birzon.

“It was actually one of our male head chefs here in Colorado that came to us with the idea of doing an all-women's shift,” Hart said. “He's been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years, and he's spent the majority of that time in male-dominated kitchens. It is important to him that he has a female general manager at his restaurant, and he's seen how she has empowered and led her team.”

Next year, Hart said that they hope to do the same event for International Women’s Day, but pull it off at more locations with more women.

“Now that there are more female executives at the table, it’s about making sure that there's a path for the women behind us and the other underrepresented groups,” Hart said. “We make sure that we're pulling forward the next generation to put more women in seats of leadership.”

Contact Joanna at [email protected]m

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