By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Mar 07, 2022 at 1:02 PM

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.

Chef making sushi

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.”

Stacy Kwon
Stacy Kwon, CEO (Photo: SNOWFOX)

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.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.