Q&A with Snapchef CEO Todd Snopkowski on expansion to Springfield
April 12, 2017 : MassLive, by Dan Glaun
MassLive spoke Wednesday with Snapchef CEO Todd Snopkowski, whose culinary staffing agency has opened its first Western Massachusetts office at 174 Worthington St. in Springfield.
The Dorchester-based company, which placed 13,000 people with jobs last year, bills itself as the largest firm of its time in New England and has worked with Foxwoods, Hyatt and Boston Children's Hospital.
Snapchef works with large-scale employers like hospitals and universities. In the interview, Snopkowski spoke about his company's background and the decision to open a facility in Springfield.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
How did you start the business? What's your background?
I was a chef for Aramark. I worked for the Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta, and I started noticing there that there was a shortage of cooks. They were hiring 3,000 people for the Olympic village, and the temp labor companies we had to use - they were day labor companies and there was no real food service or chef staffing service.
I thought if there's a way to do that, it would be a home run.
Back in 2001, when we started Snapchef, there was still this vacancy for a culinary staffing company. It would be a temp agency to start, with the hopes of placing the people who walk through our door with local commercial kitchens.
it's a temp agency that's not a day labor model. It's a temp agency that's a career path for those who walk through the door. Now we have over 350 clients throughout new England.
Why expand to Springfield?
Honestly, Laura Masulis from MassDevelopment. We took a class called Interise, it's a streetwise MBA program that I took for the business. I met her through that.
I had talked with her a handful of times. She came out and I saw her at a breakfast, and she said you have to come up to Springfield, you'll love it.
I came up here and she was right. I'm from Buffalo, New York originally - there's a lot of similarities. It's a very familiar feeling.
I do like the opportunity, similarly to Worcester. There's definitely an employment base here that's untapped. We didn't come here for the casino. We're a preferred vendor for Sodexo and Aramark, we just have to call them and let them know we're here. We already have 45 applications for workers in Springfield.
What is your training program like?
What we opened her on Worthington is our first real storefront model. Our building in Dorcester has a commercial kitchen it in. This isn't really a commercial kitchen, it's a training kitchen to get basic skills and certifications in ServSafe.
If a chef comes in and asks you do find a half sheet pan you might not know what that is, But you take our five-day course and you're prepared. We get into chopping, slicing, dicing.
Are you focused on permanent positions as well as staffing temporary jobs?
For people with experience, they can go into our clients' kitchens and be hired by our clients without a buyout. That's something I said when I created it - if someone walks into our door, why not get them a job and a career? That speaks volumes about us I think.
Can you talk about any Western Mass businesses you work with?
We've talked to a handful of clients. Westfield State, and our Sodexho, Aramark and Compass Group hospitals -- we will start doing sales calls next week.