“The best compliment we can get is when people are surprised to find out we’re a chain,” says David Birzon, CEO of Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, the fast-growing breakfast concept that’s carved out its own playful, creative niche in what was a staid category.
“The first time I saw Snooze, I thought, ‘That’s really clever. No one has done anything creative with breakfast in 30 years,’” Birzon says. “We’re growing as quickly and as responsibly as possible.” The brand, known for chef-driven riffs on classic breakfast items—along with a full bar—is expected to have 31 units by the end of 2018, with a new store opening every month of 2019, he says. Most units are 4,000 square feet, but the brand recently opened a Denver location that’s less than half that. “We work in all types of real estate,” he says, from malls to adaptive reuse buildings and campuses.
If there have been any headaches for the emerging brand, they’ve revolved around its own popularity. “Every restaurant is on a wait every day,” Birzon says. In California, Snooze is testing a program that allows customers to put their name on a waitlist from home. This fall, the chain will test tablet-based ordering and paying. “How do you do that and keep that enhanced guest experience?” he wonders. “We are an experiential dining establishment. The energy, the vibrancy, the time out from everyday life. That’s what sets us apart.”
Snooze offers catering, but is not “aggressively pursuing” delivery, he says. “We think there’s some opportunity in off-premise, but we’re still trying to get that business model figured out. … Breakfast does not travel well.”
Any revenue the chain might be losing in off-premise, however, it appears to be making up in beverage sales. About 10% to 12% of diners order alcohol, Birzon says. And about a quarter of an average check comes from beverage.