Despite the presence of many more-established national chains in the Boulder County area, Snarf’s has become synonymous with tasty, quality sub sandwiches thanks to the diligence, perseverance and attention to detail of founder Jim Seidel.D
Snarf’s was Seidel’s first business after having worked at a local Subway for a few months. The first Snarf’s store was little more than a shack located on Pearl Street and 21st in Boulder. “I worked for Subway for four or five months while I looked for a location and put my whole business plan together,” he says.
The name Snarf’s, as it turns out, stems from Seidel’s old college nickname and not, a some of us were wondering, a character from the cartoon Thundercats. “One of my old girlfriends thought that I was a bit of a snarfer.,” he says. “I make a lot of noise when I eat because I’m having a good time when I’m eating. When I like something, I make a lot of noise. I eat greedily. [Thundercats] stole the name from me. We’re in a long drawn out battle over who Snarf is. I believe it’s going to the supreme court.”
Nowadays, there are 23 Snarf’s locations around the country – mainly here in Colorado but with a few in St. Louis, Austin and Chicago. “In 1999, I was able to get my second location open in St. Louis, which was a very bad move, having one store in Colorado and one in St. Louis, but my parents were there and I thought it was a good idea so I split my time between Boulder and St. Louis,” Seidel says.
He concedes that managing franchise is a whole different ball game than managing one store, but he also believes that quality customer service and product is still key. “I think just being very generous with the food we give, and really caring about the product and the customer is what’s important,” Seidel says.
Choose quality ingredients.
“The bread’s amazing,” Seidel says. “This all sprang from me. I remember every great sandwich I’ve ever had. I just try to do that. I use the best quality meats and cheeses, and fresh vegetables. I use the freshest ingredients and our bread is baked fresh every day. The design of the bread was really key and it exceeded all my expectations. I’m just trying to do the very best that I can every time.”
Think healthy, good food.
“I think everybody likes good food,” Seidel says. “I’m not serving anything unhealthy. Snarf Burger may be a little more difficult. But no, Snarf’s we use as fresh as we can get our hands on. If you want to load it up with mayonnaise, then it will be a much more fattening sandwich than if you have none. The salads are great and fresh if you don’t want bread, and our gluten-free product is phenomenal. We have the best gluten-free bread in the country. It’s as healthy as you want it to be.”
Do what you love.
“For me, I was never happy doing anything that I didn’t love,” Seidel says. “I happen to have a real love affair with what I do. It’s not work for me – this is what I do with my time off. The more work you put into something, the more reward you’ll get out of it. If it’s work that is fun, then that’s a great mix for success.”
There are no secrets.
“No secrets in this business – this is business 101,” Seidel says. “Take care of your customer as best you can, be generous with what they get, and do it all at a fair price.”