Hi everyone! Super excited to share my conversation with Nick Bayer, the CEO and Founder of Saxbys, which is a hospitality and coffee company headquartered right in Philadelphia.
Nick is 40 years old and lives in Philadelphia with his wife Haley and son Luke. He was born and raised in Chicago alongside his little brother and then made his way to Cornell University where he was the captain of the baseball team. After Cornell, he moved to Atlanta and worked in the corporate world doing consulting for a couple of years. When he was 25, he created Saxbys. Nick tells us that what sets Saxbys apart from other coffee companies is their extreme hospitality—they treat every single employee and customer with the utmost respect. They build cafes that have an uplifting environment with friendly faces, delicious drinks, and exceptional food.
Despite the chain’s popularity today, it wasn’t an overnight success. Just a few years into the business, he found himself $150,000 in credit card debt and then had to file for bankruptcy in 2009. Although there were some dark times, Nick never gave up and persevered through adversity. In 2009, he moved Saxbys to Philadelphia (go Philly!!) and rebuilt the company. Fast forward 10 years, they are now very profitable and have 27 locations across 9 states.
In 2015, Nick also introduced Saxbys groundbreaking Experiential Learning Program in partnership with Drexel University: the nation’s first entirely student-run café where students can earn full academic credit and wages to manage all aspects of a Saxbys café. Yes, these college students are actually in charge of the 30+ member team, the financials, and community partnerships. It had so much proven success at Drexel that they now have student-run cafes at eight other universities and are quickly growing. I hope you enjoy Nick’s story as much as I did!
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight