Sustainability For Breakfast: Snooze’s Andrew Jaffe On People, Planet, Profit And Pancakes – Forbes


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Snooze Eatery's Brunch

It is no secret that companies that add good to the planet, community and society as a whole, and ... [+] create a highly competitive product are winning both inside and outside.

Snooze Eatery

Brunch is wonderful: two meals in one setting with a cocktail before noon and all is right for a few moments more. Now, throw in a restaurant model that emcompases purpose and sustainability and you are cooking with fire. It is no secret that companies that add good to the planet, community and society as a whole, and create a highly competitive product are winning both inside and outside. 

Think Snooze Eatery, a brand that emcompasses all of the above. From their responsibly sourced ingredients to 90% of their waste being compostable and recyclable, they serve up a healthy portion of purpose in a way that’s infused in every action the brand takes.

Andrew Jaffe, Snooze Eatery’s Chief Marketing Officer, recently shared his thoughts on building a purposeful and sustainable brand, a concept that for Snooze covers everything from food waste to social justice.

Jeff Fromm: How does Snooze address food waste and minimizing your environmental impacts?

Andrew Jaffe: We believe that waste is a terrible thing to waste, which is why our goal is to keep as much waste out of landfills as possible. We currently divert 90% of our waste from landfills by composting and recycling where facilities exist. Where facilities don’t exist, we find new avenues to achieve our goals. We began installing biodigesters in restaurants where we were unable to compost.

Food Waste doesn’t just get calculated at the end of the food cycle. We believe that analyzing the full lifecycle is essential to managing food waste. Where we source our ingredients is just as important as what happens to it after it’s been eaten, and all steps in the process are considered when we source ingredients and plan menus.

By using ingredients or recipes that we can cross utilize, we eliminate food waste at the beginning of the process. We are constantly reevaluating our recipes to minimize our SKU’s and ensure that ingredients are being used wherever possible instead of composting them. 

Although these processes were put in place to ensure we are minimizing food waste and being stewards for the planet, they have another benefit directly related to cost savings. It’s doing right for the planet and the bottom line. Often times these two things go hand and hand. There are exceptions to this, for example composting and recycling are pricey, but we believe in doing the right thing and that these small actions have a huge impact.

When purchasing materials (disposables, paper products, retail, cleaning chemicals, appliances, building materials) we consider the entire lifecycle of the product and the social and environmental impact of each stat.. It means non-toxic materials that are friendly to both human and environmental health. It means considering the long-term impact our choices have on our communities and the planet. We have recently invested in new packing with recycled PET lids. All of our to-go packaging is either made from sugarcane bagasse and therefore compostable or recycled bottles and are recyclable.

We believe the health of our communities and the health of our planet are inextricably linked. We believe that the goal and the path forward is business that has a net positive impact for both people and the planet. 

Fromm: How does Snooze address social justice issues?

Jaffe: We believe in accepting and welcoming everyone as individuals regardless of their beliefs, race, sexual orientation or gender identity. We support causes that we believe in and use our voice to speak in support of the causes that we care about. One way that Snooze shows our support is by donating 1% of our sales to our community and supporting causes related to education, sustainability and other local causes close to our communities. Beyond these community based initiatives, we also look at the bigger picture, finding ways to support larger social and cultural movements such as our ongoing support of LGBTQ+ organizations and marching in Pride parades across the country.

We believe in celebrating differences and that everyone should come as they are. We support Black Lives Matter and have made commitments to continue to learn, listen and show up for our BIPOC Snoozers and guests. We made internal changes like supporting Snoozers by offering paid time-off to volunteer and participate in action.  We offered all Snoozers an hour of paid time off to vote in November’s election and launched our DEI Task Force. The group is fueled by some very passionate Snoozers, from diverse backgrounds, coming together to not only hold Snooze accountable, but move the needle forward on how we think about and support diversity at Snooze. 

Externally, we have recently partnered with the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization the Southern Education Foundation, which is committed to advancing equitable education policies and practices that elevate learning for low-income students and students of color in the southern states.

We are proud to partner with, support and continue our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. During our North Buckhead Soft Opening in Atlanta, Georgia we raised $2,460 for The Southern Education Foundation. We look forward to continuing our partnership to help improve student success and opportunities, support research, education equality and more for BIPOC and low-income students.

Fromm: Can you quantify how you balance purpose & profits since both matter?

Jaffe: At Snooze we call it our quadruple bottom line or the four P’s– People, Planet, Profit and Pancakes. This is our commitment to do more than just make a profit by making breakfast. Profit is pretty self-explanatory; the planet part is our commitment to the environment and people and pancakes we treat people Snoozers and our communities like family. Pancakes is our way of saying that the fun-loving snooze vibe our guests have come to expect will never take a back seat to profit margins. We hope our Snoozers use pancakes as a vehicle to make a difference in the world.

We look at purpose and profits as a cycle that supports each other.  We know that being a purpose-driven business attracts higher caliber Snoozers who are more engaged with the brand which leads to lower turnover and better execution of our experience.  Ultimately, for the brand this leads to higher revenue and profitability.  At the same time, we also have to focus intently on being a for-profit business not just to drive strong shareholder returns and employee engagement, but to be able to invest in the costs associated with our higher purpose.  To achieve these goals, we invest in higher quality Snooze Approved ingredients, paid time-off for our Snoozers to volunteer in their communities, composting services to meet our sustainability goals, and giving 1% of our revenue in in-kind donations to our communities each year as examples.  Both of these are supportive of each other and each have to be a focus during decision making processes at the brand level in order to keep them in balance.

When we are challenged or forced to choose between people and profits, we choose people.  For example, during the height of Covid we exceeded or offered beyond what was required for Covid-19 sick pay by providing 80 hours of sick time to employees who tested positive for Covid-19. We know that our Snoozers are what makes this business tick and keeping them safe and choose them over profit is always the right choice.

For questions about this interview contact Jeff at [email protected]

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