Birzon wants employees to take what they’ve learned at the restaurant and bring it into the communities where Snooze opens. It’s one thing to write a check to a charity, he says, it’s another to have a tangible volunteering program where employees can make an actionable difference. The community gardens program, for instance, allows employees to get involved and donate their time instead of just money.
Snooze’s annual pancake day took place a few weeks ago and the company raised $47,000 in a single day for community gardens. On April 11, Snooze employees went out and volunteered.
Birzon has found that new employees—especially millennials—want their jobs to have purpose.
“The millennials that make up the majority of our workforce, they care about more than just a paycheck,” he says. “It's really important that they're working for something bigger than themselves and being able to volunteer, being able to have a choice in the charity to which we're donating or they're donating not just money, but their time and being involved is pretty important.”
This strategy has led to higher retention rates and higher interest, as well as more applications, Birzon says, when Snooze hits a new market.
“People really do care about these things and they want to belong and believe in something bigger than themselves,” Birzon says. “It's recycling. It's compost. It’s energy and education. It's spreading the word. It's volunteering. So there's all kinds of pieces to it.”