I was fortunate to meet Adam Schlegel, co-founder of the iconic Snooze Eatery a few years ago. I’ve always been impressed by Adam as an entrepreneur and good human but after spending some time talking about Snooze’s sustainability efforts my respect and admiration have deepened.
If you don’t know Snooze, it’s an extremely successful breakfast and lunch joint with 15 locations in Colorado, California, Arizona and Texas and a line out the door pretty much all the time. It’s often referred to as a breakfast institution but Snooze is doing so much more than serving pancakes.
Adam and his brother Jon opened the first Snooze location in Denver in 2006. Way before Snooze was in existence, these guys believed it was a priority to protect and care for land and people in a responsible way. Adam attributes this perspective to his extensive international travels. He was able to observe how other communities around the world recycle and how well they understand their land and resources. Adam actually married an Aussie, Sarah, who didn’t know anything BUT recycling. (Sarah is amazing by the way!)
At Snooze, you won’t find yellow or pink packets on the table. The Snooze approved responsible food guidelines ban artificial ingredients and preservatives, sub-therapeutic antibiotics, confinement and added hormones. The guidelines include buying organic and local when it makes sense.
You will find bins for recycling, compost and trash behind every Snooze counter. Despite the added cost and burden on the waitstaff, Adam is determined to move recycling and sustainability in the restaurant industry to a higher standard locally and nationally. Snooze even helps other restaurants by showing them how they've done it. From speaking to sharing training materials, Adam states, "We compete at breakfast and lunch. We don’t compete on sustainability practices and we believe everyone should be doing what we're doing - plus more."
Snooze has an Environmental Board within the company to oversee their practices, a Sustainability Manager Megan Jorgensen, cleverly titled “Green Bean”, and “Green Captains” (lovingly referred to as trash police) at every each location. Megan shared the below photos of Snooze training employees via field trips to landfills and recycling facilities.
When I asked Megan and Adam what they are most proud of, they responded:
Megan: "Being part of the push in the restaurant industry AND educating our team. Our employees now think about waste at home. There’s a ripple effect externally and internally."
Adam: "Hearing Megan explain something with such conviction and passion that we started. There is a lasting impact and I’m a a proud parent."