Scholarships Helped Create a Path to Success
Adam Snyder knows a lot about what it takes to do well in the restaurant and entertainment business. As co-owner of seven restaurants in the Bay Area, he helps create the vibe, develops the menu, and works alongside the staff.
At his core, he knows it’s about working hard, knowing what you want, and giving back. He credits his mother and father and his Jesuit education with developing that work ethic.
For Snyder, though, it nearly didn’t happen.
After a year at Creighton University in Omaha, he applied to transfer to USF, to be closer to family and be in the Bay Area. Based on his excellent academic work at Creighton, he was accepted, but the financial aid package wasn’t enough to cover his costs. Without additional support, transferring to USF would be just a pipe dream.
Snyder took it upon himself to reach out to the then-president of USF, the Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., and explained his situation. A few days later, Schlegel followed up with Snyder and said he had found a solution: Snyder had been awarded the Presidential Scholarship, covering the full cost of tuition.
It meant so much. As a scholarship recipient, Snyder was driven to work hard at USF. “I always knew the value of what was going on,” he said. “Every time I stepped into class, I knew how much it cost and wanted to make the most of it.”
While Snyder, a native of Spokane, Washington, was working hard to succeed academically as a communications major, he was also working hard to cover the additional cost of living in San Francisco. He juggled various jobs while in college to pay for living expenses, including work in the restaurants and bars. He credits working in his father’s machine shop for showing him that hard work can pay off.
“The example my parents set gave me the ability to get through USF while having to provide for myself,” said Snyder.
Transformational Jesuit Education
Snyder notes that his Jesuit education has impacted how he works. It has made him a better manager at his restaurants, including Rambler and Sabrosa in San Francisco. He and his partners at Hat Trick Hospitality employ more than 250 people in California.
“I think that approaching people on a humanistic level is the best way to approach them, and I think that a lot of what you get in Jesuit education teaches that,” he said.
For Snyder, this humanistic approach focuses on empathy and understanding where others are coming from, and it is core to how he works with others.
He and his partners still do shift work alongside their employees, for example. “I think it’s showing your staff that you’re willing to do anything that they do,” he said. “It motivates them. Having them know that you are capable of doing their job gains respect from them, and it gives you a pulse of what’s happening because there are a million facets and details to this business that can slip through.”
Snyder encourages strong working relationships. Making personal connections also manifests into how he thinks about the creative aspects of his restaurants. “People come in to what you’ve created,” he said. “It’s like you’re designing a home and inviting them into your home. They enjoy it: the color, the feel, the taste, the smell. You created that.
Snyder promised himself that when he was able to, he’d start giving back. He recognizes that support from others was critical for helping him get through college. He’s always supportive of offering a venue for a university alumni event or supporting a nonprofit in the community.
“You’re giving back to those people who are trying to make this city better,” he said. “It’s part of being part of a community.”