From Sleeping in a Storage Room to Leading 1,300-Unit Snowfox Sushi

Stacy Kwon’s family immigrated from South Korea to Houston, where they slept in the storage room of a corner store. Now, she’s CEO of Snowfox, a sushi franchise with more than 1,300 full-service kiosks in 38 states and counting.

Sep 15, 2022 Updated Sep 16, 2022 (FranchiseTimes) — At 16 years old, Stacy Kwon found herself taking a shower in the wire-fenced backyard of a convenience store. She built a fort of milk cartons as a privacy screen and only showered at night so neighbors couldn’t see—a far cry from the upper-middle-class amenities she grew up with in South Korea. “That was the beginning of my immigrant life,” she said.

Kwon and her family moved to the U.S. to start a new life after her father lost his business in South Korea. Kwon, her parents and her two older brothers moved in to a corner room of the convenience store where her father worked—it had a bathroom with only a toilet and a hand sink—in Houston’s Fifth Ward in “a very scary neighborhood,” Kwon recalled.

“Every day was survival, dealing with theft, robbery, people with guns, people with knives…it wasn’t the life I expected watching American movies in Korea,” she said.

Once they saved enough to move to a better neighborhood, the Kwons began trying out different businesses and trading up for better opportunities where they thought they could make more money, from grocery stores to ice cream shops.

As the youngest of her siblings, “everyone expects the youngest to pick up English faster. So while trying to survive and learn English, going to school, your whole family is depending on you for communication,” Kwon said. “I was the one who had to call the phone company, look at documents and contracts, differentiate mail from bills—it was tremendous pressure.”

Along the way, Kwon and her brother discovered the simplicity of Japanese-inspired sushi kiosks in grocery stores.

“Everything is done, down to the menu; all you have to do is put in effort and maximize sales and you have your business,” Kwon said.

The thought of being able to offer a simplistic revenue model to other immigrant families, “with me understanding exactly the struggles immigrants go through, it was this amazing opportunity for us to build and roll out more stores for more families to get into this safe, simple business, and they don’t have to go through the struggles I did. I thought it was wonderful, almost a calling.”

Scaling a sushi business

Founded in 2005, Snowfox operates more than 1,300 full-service sushi kiosks in 38 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska.

In 2005, Kwon and her family founded JFE Franchising and began running sushi kiosks within five Kroger stores in Houston. Wanting to differentiate their brand by associating it with a friendly, recognizable animal, Kwon settled on Snowfox—another name for the Arctic or white fox that lives in the Northern Hemisphere in Arctic regions—for its symbolism of purity and clarity. “We wanted our sushi to be that image of clean, unpolluted, healthy food,” she said.

Snowfox touts high-end, restaurant-quality sushi with grab-and-go convenience and offers cooked and raw sushi, bento boxes, chef favorites, appetizers and party platters, with the goal of taking “sushi back to its origins of chef-based theatricality.”

Wanting to bring the opportunity to more people, especially immigrant families, Kwon started franchising Snowfox in 2012. Simultaneously, she was promoted from executive vice president to CEO and president of the brand.

“Not that it’s limited to immigrants, but it’s really the hard work that immigrants bring, that ‘I will do anything I can do to make this work and provide for my family’ energy to it, so naturally most of our franchisees are immigrants whose language skills are not that great,” Kwon said.

Kwon and her family have grown Snowfox to more than 1,300 full-service kiosks in the U.S., which are all owned by franchisees. The majority of owners work full time in the business as chefs, and though Snowfox doesn’t typically award multiple units, franchisees often have the opportunity to take over bigger and better-performing locations if they outperform in sales.

“Some companies do take top stores and turn them into corporate models, because they do generate a lot of income, but we decided not to do that and award those sites to the best franchisees,” Kwon said.

Forget whitespace—growing via acquisitions

Despite its swift expansion, Kwon says the company actually sprung from humble beginnings.

“When my father lost his business and hope of rebuilding again in Korea, our family immigrated to the United States,” she says. “I was 16 years old at the time. When we came across the opportunity to operate our first kiosks within Kroger, we realized we found a gem.”

Originally called JFE, the company started with five stores, adopting a franchise model under JFE Franchising Inc. in 2013.

“We loved the idea that every kiosk we open is a job opportunity to another family that may have experienced similar struggles as our family,” says Kwon.  “The inspiration of this business started with a family that had a strong drive to provide a safe and successful future for other small business owners.”

125 flights to thank franchisees

Across all its brands, including U.K.-based Yo Sushi and Taiko Foods and Canadian chain Bento Sushi, Snowfox Group posted $448 million in systemwide sales in 2020, 73 percent of which came from kiosks. Graphic by Snowfox Group

In August, Kwon was named one of Houston’s Most Admired CEOs by the Houston Business Journal, which recognized 45 local business leaders based on company impact, civic involvement, career achievement and more. “I went blank. I was raised to be humble,” Kwon said about her reaction to the news. “I was just doing my job and enjoying my job, so I simply say I’m grateful and honored.”

One metric that shows Kwon’s commitment to franchisees: She hopped on a plane a total of 125 times last year to attend new openings and meet new franchisees, retailers and partners.

“I want that white-glove service, as we are the vendor and they’re the customer,” she said. Even COVID-19 didn’t slow down her travel, as Kwon didn’t want to be the kind of CEO who hid behind her desk at home while franchisees were working on the front lines every day.

“Our chefs are working every day providing sushi at their kiosks, and I really respect them for it. The only way to show appreciation is not just sending nice letters or ‘hey I support you’ videos, but actually meeting them at their locations and thanking them,” Kwon said.

“I fly, grab a city bus and go to work. My office is the lounge at the airport. My exercise is the terminal. I’d rather walk than take the tram from terminal A to B,” Kwon added. “I make things work and I enjoy doing it.”

Assistant Editor

 

 

More than 100 Hannaford Supermarket Stores to Offer SNOWFOX Sushi

SNOWFOX converts US-based grocery store kiosks from sister brand, Bento Sushi

HOUSTON, Sept. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In collaboration with its sister brand, Bento Sushi, SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc. (SNOWFOX) has converted 107 Hannaford Supermarket locations across the retailer’s footprint in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

“The SNOWFOX Group represents quality sushi brands that cater to international customers,” said Stacy Kwon, president and CEO, SNOWFOX. “To continue our commitment to provide fresh Japanese cuisine on a global scale, we are strategically shifting the majority of U.S. grocery store sushi kiosks to SNOWFOX, with Bento Sushi focusing on Canada, non-traditional U.S.-based markets and Hawaii, while our other brands, Taiko and YO! will continue serving fresh and healthy sushi across the pond in the U.K.”

“Bento Sushi’s roots began in downtown Toronto more than 25 years ago and we are proud to continue serving our Canadian clientele the high-quality sushi sourced with the freshest ingredients that has made Bento Sushi Canada’s largest sushi company,” said Glenn Brown, president and CEO, Bento Sushi.

In addition to Bento Sushi’s focus on the Canadian market, the company will also continue its service in Hawaii and non-traditional retail settings in the U.S. including college campuses, business parks and airport terminals.

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX is one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the U.S., managing more than 1,300 full-service sushi bars in supermarkets, wholesale, university and corporate settings.

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About SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc is a leading provider of full-service sushi kiosks in the grocery industry. We own and operate over 1,300 full-service sushi kiosks in 38 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska. Our products, including cooked and raw sushi, bento boxes, chef favorites, appetizers, and party platters has taken sushi back to its origins of chef-based theatricality. Providing high end restaurant quality but with grab-n-go convenience in our guest’s own neighborhoods. To learn more about us, visit jfefood.com.

About Bento

Bento was founded in 1996 in Toronto and is the second-largest sushi brand in North America and the largest in Canada (by number of sites serviced). Providing quality sushi and hot Asian food in over 950 locations, across a range of formats including quick-service restaurants, on-site kiosks in grocery stores and non-traditional locations such as colleges and universities, hospitals, business offices and 6 production facilities that supply bento express sushi to over 2,000 grocery and institutional foodservice clients across North America. For more information visit bentosushi.com.

Stacy Kwon of SNOWFOX Wins Most Admired CEO Award

Stacy Kwon of SNOWFOX Wins Most Admired CEO Award

 

Honor given to Houston’s most inspiring business leaders

 | Source: SNOWFOX

HOUSTON, Aug. 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stacy Kwon, president and CEO of SNOWFOX Sushi has been honored by the Houston Business Journal as one of 2022’s Most Admired CEOs. The fifth annual award recognized 45 local business leaders from for-profit and nonprofit companies based on their contributions to company success, civic involvement, career achievement and more. Winners will be honored in a special section of the paper and at an awards luncheon at the Marriot Marquis Houston.

“I am incredibly proud and humbled to be recognized by the Houston Business Journal as one of the city’s most admired CEOs,” said Stacy Kwon, president and CEO, SNOWFOX. “I came to Houston as a teenager from Korea where my father opened a small convenience store in the Fifth Ward. It’s through his hard work and my family’s support and dedication that I learned what it is to be as effective leader. I dedicate this award to other immigrant families who come to America with a dream for success.”

This year’s judges included Carol Guess, interim president of the Greater Houston Black Chamber; Tim Jeffcoat, Houston district director for the U.S. Small Business Administrator; Paula Mendoza, CEO of Possible Missions; and Dan Snare, retired former president of American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter.

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About SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc is a leading provider of full-service sushi kiosks in the grocery industry. We own and operate over 1,300 full-service sushi kiosks in 38 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska. Our products, including cooked and raw sushi, bento boxes, chef favorites, appetizers, and party platters has taken sushi back to its origins of chef-based theatricality. Providing high end restaurant quality but with grab-n-go convenience in our guest’s own neighborhoods. To learn more about us, visit jfefood.com.

SNOWFOX Sushi | JFE Franchising, Inc Honored With Two Awards

SNOWFOX Sushi | JFE Franchising, Inc Honored With Two Awards by Franchise Business Review

 

SNOWFOX recognized as Top Food Franchise and Best Franchise Culture

HOUSTON, July 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc. (SNOWFOX) is one of just 38 franchise companies to be named an award-winning franchise by Franchise Business Review (FBR) in its 2022 report on the Top Food and Beverage Franchises. In addition, SNOWFOX was named to FBR’s third annual “Culture100” list that recognizes the top 100 franchise brands’ cultures.

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX is one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the U.S., managing more than 1,300 full-service sushi bars in supermarkets, wholesale, university and corporate settings.

Franchise Business Review, a market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction, provides the only ranking of franchises based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction. FBR publishes rankings of the top franchises in its annual Guide to Today’s Top Franchises, as well as special interest reports throughout the year recognizing the top franchises in specific sectors.

“Our organization is honored to be recognized not only as a top franchise but also for our company’s strong culture,” said Stacy Kwon, president and CEO, SNOWFOX. “The key to our success is and always will be our people. We believe in investing and supporting our chefs and partners and their positive feedback is a true testament to the SNOWFOX experience.”

“The past two years have been challenging for the restaurant industry as a whole,” said Eric Stites, founder & CEO of Franchise Business Review. “A really big advantage of being part of a strong food franchise is having a reliable support system always there to help – through the good and the bad. Food franchise owners report high satisfaction in operating their businesses.”

SNOWFOX was among over 300 franchise brands, representing more than 30,000 franchise owners, that participated in FBR’s research. Franchisees were surveyed on benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems. The brands that were selected received the highest overall ratings based on questions that looked at leadership, training, financial opportunity, core values, perception of brand vision, team culture, honesty and integrity, and overall support.

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About SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc is a leading provider of full-service sushi kiosks in the grocery industry. We own and operate over 1,300 full-service sushi kiosks in 38 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska. Our products, including cooked and raw sushi, bento boxes, chef favorites, appetizers, and party platters has taken sushi back to its origins of chef-based theatricality. Providing high end restaurant quality but with grab-n-go convenience in our guest’s own neighborhoods. To learn more about us, visit jfefood.com.

About Franchise Business Review

Franchise Business Review (FBR) is a leading market research firm serving the franchise sector. FBR measures satisfaction and engagement of franchisees and franchise employees and publishes various guides and reports for entrepreneurs considering an investment in a franchise business. Since 2005, FBR has surveyed hundreds of thousands of franchise owners and over 1,100 leading franchise companies. To read our publications, visit https://franchisebusinessreview.com/page/publications/. To learn more about FBR’s research, please visit www.FranchiseBusinessReview.com.

  
  
  
  

SNOWFOX Franchisees Donate More Than $100,000 to Smile Train

Sushi chain hits major contribution milestone, continuing tradition of community support

HOUSTON, May 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc. (SNOWFOX), one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the U.S., today announces they have donated more than $100,000 in support of Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization.

 

With the opening of every new SNOWFOX fresh sushi bar, the organization is able to provide essential cleft care to children all over the world on behalf of their franchisees. This serves as a reminder to staff to always celebrate customers with a welcoming smile, while helping to share smiles globally by supporting Smile Train’s important work in expanding access to cleft care.

 

“Every new location we open brings a smile to us and we want to pay this smile forward,” said Stacy Kwon, president and CEO, SNOWFOX. “The culture of giving back to the community is deeply ingrained at SNOWFOX and we are so proud to continue our strong partnership with Smile Train as they change the world one smile at a time.”

 

“We are so grateful that as their business grows SNOWFOX has been unwavering in their long-term commitment of consistent support that has just reached $100,000,” said Susannah Schaefer, president and CEO of Smile Train. “We could not do the work we do in the more than 70 countries where we have a presence without the invaluable support of partners like SNOWFOX.”

 

On May 12th SNOWFOX celebrated the opening of its newest sushi bar at The Fresh Grocer’s Flagship location in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. Executives from SNOWFOX and Smile Train were in attendance to commemorate the occasion. Click here for high-resolution images of the event.

 

SNOWFOX manages more than 1,300 full-service sushi bars in U.S. supermarkets, wholesale, university, and corporate settings. 

About SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc:

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc is a leading provider of full-service sushi kiosks in the grocery industry. We own and operate over 1,300 full-service sushi kiosks in 38 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska. Our products, including cooked and raw sushi, bento boxes, chef favorites, appetizers, and party platters has taken sushi back to its origins of chef-based theatricality. Providing high end restaurant quality but with grab-n-go convenience in our guest’s own neighborhoods. To learn more about us, visit jfefood.com.

 

About Smile Train:

Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org.

 

SNOWFOX Media Contact:

Smile Train Media Contact:

Nicole Robertson

Philip Carroll

Marketing Manager

Senior Vice President, Communications

Nicole.Robertson@jfefood.com        

pcarroll@smiletrain.org

Tona Nguyen, Regional Director, Snowfox (JFE) (L), John Park, VP Operations, Snowfox (JFE), Justin McCarthy, Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships, Smile Train, Ngun Tha Hnem, Franchisee, Snowfox (JFE), Stacy Kwon, CEO & President, Snowfox (JFE), David Maniaci, President and CEO, Nicholas Markets Fresh Grocer, Dave Secor, Store Director, Nicholas Markets Fresh Grocer, Dawt Hmung, Regional Director Wisconsin Division, Snowfox (JFE) (R)

Grocery store sushi takes off: SNOWFOX opens 96 new kiosks in Wisconsin

The new kiosks have popped up at Pick n' Save, Metro Market and Sendik's stores in recent months.

Mar. 7, 2022 (ONMILWAUKEE) — You may have noticed a new sushi kiosk popping up at your local Pick n’ Save, Metro Market or Sendik’s store in recent months.

The new kiosks are part of a record expansion for Houston-based SNOWFOX, one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the U.S. In fact, since it was founded in 2005, the brand has established over 1,200 full-service sushi kiosks across 38 states.

Wisconsin is among the newest markets for SNOWFOX, which established a record number (96) of kiosks in the state during 2021, making Wisconsin home to the second highest number of SNOWFOX franchisees in the U.S.

Sushi made fresh

The company’s growth can be largely attributed to both its competitive pricing and their focus on sourcing high quality, sustainable seafood, backed by a partnership with Colorado-based FishChoice.

“Our kiosks have a full assortment of options with shelves full of products,” says SNOWFOX CEO Stacy Kwon. “Even moreso, they are equipped with chefs that are willing to greet and assist customers. For us it’s not enough for our chefs to just make sushi, we have a pipeline of innovation to keep our kiosks ahead of competition and keep our sushi program exciting, relevant, and our goal is to always elevate the overall customer experience.”

Kwon says that the sushi chefs are part of what sets the company apart.

“Sushi is a show business,” she says. “Our kiosks are a highlight and typically the main attraction for our retail partners’ delis. Having a manned sushi bar kiosk enables us to provide fresher products and for our chefs to engage directly with customers. Snowfox has four procurement offices globally to ensure the highest quality products at the lowest cost to consumers while navigating the common outages due to COVID’s impact on the supply chain.”

Humble beginnings

Despite its swift expansion, Kwon says the company actually sprung from humble beginnings.

“When my father lost his business and hope of rebuilding again in Korea, our family immigrated to the United States,” she says. “I was 16 years old at the time. When we came across the opportunity to operate our first kiosks within Kroger, we realized we found a gem.”

Originally called JFE, the company started with five stores, adopting a franchise model under JFE Franchising Inc. in 2013.

“We loved the idea that every kiosk we open is a job opportunity to another family that may have experienced similar struggles as our family,” says Kwon.  “The inspiration of this business started with a family that had a strong drive to provide a safe and successful future for other small business owners.”

 

By Lori FredrichSenior Writer & Dining Editor

SNOWFOX Rolls into Wisconsin Opening a Record 96 Sushi Bar Locations

Grocery store sushi chain serves 38,000 rolls to an average of 25,000 Wisconsinites per week

HOUSTON, Feb. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc. (SNOWFOX) has increased its midwestern U.S. presence, opening 70 sushi kiosks in one day, a record for the company (ending 2021 with 96 stores within the state). These stores mark SNOWFOX’s first extension into Wisconsin.

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX is one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the U.S., with over 1,100 full-service sushi kiosks in grocery stores, wholesale, university, and corporate settings across 38 states. Wisconsin has the second highest number of SNOWFOX franchisees in the state. right behind Colorado.

“We are so pleased to be able to bring our fresh, delicious and sustainable sushi to a variety of Wisconsin retail supermarkets,” said Stacy Kwon, president and CEO, SNOWFOX. “These 96 new locations will provide small business opportunities to local franchisee owners while also serving convenient, restaurant-quality sushi to thousands of customers.”

SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc Named a 2022 Top Franchise by Franchise Business Review

Independent Survey Shows Franchise Owners Are Highly Satisfied with SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc Performance

HOUSTON, Jan. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc. (SNOWFOX) is proud to announce it was recently named a Top Franchise for 2022 by Franchise Business Review. This is the 17th annual ranking of the 200 best franchise opportunities as rated by franchise business owners.

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX is one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the United States, with over 1,100 full-service sushi kiosks in grocery stores, wholesale, university, and corporate settings across 38 states.

Franchise Business Review, a market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction and employee engagement, provides the only rankings and awards for franchise companies based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance. Franchise Business Review publishes its rankings of the top 200 franchises in its annual Guide to Today’s Top Franchises.

“Our organization is honored to be awarded a Top Franchise for 2022,” said Stacy Kwon, president and CEO, SNOWFOX. “Franchisees are and always will be our top priority. Their positive feedback in this survey is a testament to the training programs and field support we provide to ensure each and every one of our small business owners succeed in today’s business environment.”

SNOWFOX was among over 300 franchise brands, representing more than 30,000 franchise owners, that participated in Franchise Business Review’s research. SNOWFOX franchisees were surveyed on 33 benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems, including training and support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations and financial opportunity.

SNOWFOX’s survey data revealed that 89% would recommend SNOWFOX as a franchise business organization.

“While the pandemic impacted various business sectors differently, the last 18 months have clearly demonstrated the inherent strengths of the franchise business model. The old franchise adage of ‘being in business for yourself, but not by yourself’ has never been more important,” said Franchise Business Review founder & CEO Eric Stites. “Thanks to fast innovations, significant support, and responsive crisis management, many franchise brands have emerged stronger from the pandemic, and that is reflected in high franchisee satisfaction.”

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About SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc

Founded in 2005, SNOWFOX | JFE Franchising, Inc is a leading provider of full-service sushi kiosks in the grocery industry. We own and operate over 1,100 full-service sushi kiosks in 38 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Alaska. Our products, including cooked and raw sushi, bento boxes, chef favorites, appetizers, and party platters has taken sushi back to its origins of chef-based theatricality. Providing high end restaurant quality but with grab-n-go convenience in our guest’s own neighborhoods. To learn more about us, visit www.jfefood.com .

About Franchise Business Review

Franchise Business Review (FBR) is a leading market research firm serving the franchise sector. FBR measures the satisfaction and engagement of franchisees and publishes various guides and reports for entrepreneurs considering an investment in a franchise business. Since 2005, FBR has surveyed hundreds of thousands of franchise owners and over 1,100 leading franchise companies. FBR publishes free and unbiased franchisee satisfaction research reports throughout the year online at http://www.FranchiseBusinessReview.com. To read our publications, visit https://franchisebusinessreview.com/page/publications/.

YO! merges with large US sushi operator

How is this company pairing with Kroger to introduce 56 in-store restaurants in the retailer's backyard?

July. 2, 2019 (SEAFOOD SOURCE) — London, United Kingdom-based YO! is merging with SnowFox, one of the largest operators and franchise owners of sushi kiosks in the United States.

The merger, which creates one of the largest Japanese food companies outside of Japan, according to YO!, aimes to capitalize on the USD 1 billion (EUR 885 million) sushi market.

The financial details of the merger, facilitated by Mayfair Equity Partners, were not disclosed.

Following this merger, the expanded group, made up of SnowFox, YO!, Bento Sushi, and Taiko Foods, will consist of four fast-growing businesses with USD 425 million (EUR 376 million) of sales, including franchisees’ sales, YO! said in a press release. Nearly two-thirds of the sales originate in North America. 

JFE Franchising, Inc. (operating as SnowFox), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jim Kim Holdings, is the third-largest sushi kiosk business in the U.S., managing more than 700 full-service sushi kiosks across 25 U.S. states, primarily in supermarkets. 

With the merger, the expanded group will have partnerships will many leading retailers across North America and the U.K. including Kroger, Loblaws, Walmart, Sobeys, Waitrose, Sam’s Club, and Tesco, as well as operating 1,400 kiosks, seven central kitchens and 89 restaurants.

“We are delighted to be partnering with SnowFox given its high brand penetration, recognized product and service quality, as well as excellent industry relationships,” YO! CEO Richard Hodgson said in the statement.

Building on the successful integration of Bento Sushi starting in 2017, YO! will look to replicate this approach with SnowFox as it continues to execute its diversification strategy, Hodgson added. 

“By expanding its geographical presence and offering, the expanded group will meet the untapped demand of consumers around the world,” he said.

The U.S. grocery sushi market has more than USD 1 billion (EUR 885 million) in annual sales and is growing around 13 percent year-on-year, with Japanese cuisine seen as one of the fastest-growing food types across the globe, according to YO!.

SnowFox Chairman Jim Kim will join the board of the combined group, as well as remaining a significant shareholder. SnowFox President Stacy Kwon and Bento Sushi CEO Glenn Brown will become co-presidents of the group’s North American operations, responsible for driving growth and executing the group’s strategy. They will both report to CEO Richard Hodgson.

By

Christine Blank