Look at us from the surface, and you’ll see a coffee company with a penchant for memorable hospitality. We pride ourselves on not just meeting guest expectations but surpassing them. Look beyond that, and you’ll see a company who entwines itself with the communities we serve by providing opportunities – opportunities for growth, opportunities for success and opportunities for change.
That was the impetus behind our pioneering Experiential Learning Program (ELP), which we launched in partnership with Drexel University in 2015. This innovative program empowers students to take full responsibility for leading an on-campus Saxbys cafe. We hire what we call Student Cafe Executive Officers (Student CEOs), who manage 35 – 55 of their peers, their vendor network, marketing plans and the Profit and Loss statement of the business. In exchange, they receive a full semester of academic credit and financial compensation. But more than that, they receive an incredible experience taking what they learn in the classroom and applying it to a real – and demanding – business.
Since opening our first ELP cafe on Drexel University’s campus, more than two dozen Student CEOs have gone through the program. It’s been such a success that we’ve since opened ELP cafes with many more leading institutions such as Temple, Penn State, La Salle, St. Joseph’s and Millersville Universities. We’ve also opened a second at Drexel.
Each cafe is exclusively student-run and opens the door for young entrepreneurs to take the lead on owning their own projects in their communities. We understand the power of opportunity and accessibility. These students are learning real-life leadership and management skills that put to the test the lessons learned in the classroom.
Photos by Jason Varney and Sabina Shoots
But first, they need to get into the classroom, which isn’t always an option for some young minds.
That’s why we also started building fellowship programs across Philadelphia and beyond. It started here with the Community College of Philadelphia. Our CEO, Nick Bayer, is on the College’s Foundation board and has since started the Saxbys Fellowship, which is a scholarship program designed to help students achieve their academic goals.
We also started similar programs at Temple University and the University of New Hampshire, where we also operate cafes. It’s another way for us to bridge our function to the community with our dedication to the education space.
These efforts stem from our company’s indelible culture. Our mission – displayed proudly across our Center City HQ walls and throughout our cafes – is to “Make Life Better.” We seek opportunity-creation and innovation, expression and creativity. Our team is made up of darers, doers, and damn good people. You may know us for our coffee and hospitality, but we are pushing for so much more. Because not only do we want to keep our communities moving, we want to keep them growing as well.