Saxbys Case Story

The One Degree Coaching Impact

As One Degree was budding into a consulting company that would help start-ups and mid-sized companies build highperforming teams, through culture-building and leadership training, Founder Ed Doherty met Saxbys’ CEO, Nick Bayer. Nick was a man with unlimited passion and vision, but he didn’t have the funding or a business plan. Nick ran up his AMEX to fund his start-up, a decision he later regretted.

Saxbys had just moved its corporate offices to Philadelphia when Nick had recently partnered with a venture capital group. Now under new ownership, it was time to find ways to grow his brand’s strength. Nick was a young leader looking for clarity and direction for his young company. Realizing he didn’t have a defined culture, he started asking himself, “what is Saxbys, what’s our core mission? ”

Fortunately, Nick’s entrepreneurial journey was one of grit, risk, and survival. He wanted to ensure that this new opportunity to grow his brand had every chance to thrive. Nick was navigating a new partnership, a new city, and wanted to build a brand with transcendent purpose. He wanted Saxbys to be more than a coffee company, but also to have a social impact. Like many leaders with a vision, Nick wanted clarity to navigate his organization. More importantly, how could Saxbys become an organization that could build community and make a difference?

Nick engaged One Degree to help codify his culture and create a GPS for his young organization. Ed collaborated with Nick and his team to encode Saxbys’ mission statement and core values. Ed coached Nick and his team to live their culture to drive decision-making, motivate, and inspire. Their creative partnership led to the creation of what was to become Saxbys’ famous “north star: “Make Life Better.” Since then, Ed has continued to work with Saxbys and recently helped them renovate their values as the company has evolved. At a recent One Degree event, Nick recounted this story and told attendees, “Saxbys would not exist today with Ed Doherty’s help!”

Founder: Nick Bayer in 2005, Saxbys is a social impact coffee company.

Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pa.

Store Type: Fast-casual/Bakery-café, including a variety of coffee including Espresso, classic drinks, cold brew collection, cold sandwiches, breakfast, smoothies, and teas.

Saxbys Culture: “Make Life Better.”

Go to Market Stategy: Saxbys runs experiential café programs with various colleges and universities, including Temple University, University of New Hampshire, Penn State University, and St. Joe’s University. It has 7 student-run coffee shops on college campuses. Students are able to become “Student CEOs” or Café Executive Officers, receiving academic credit and salary.

Revenue: US $15 M (2017 estimate)

Number of employees: 500

Proof: Passion + Purpose = Profitability​

Nick began to open Saxbys cafes around the Philadelphia area in 2008 during the Great Recession. Nick knew that the most damaging thing for a team is to share the promise of a values-driven workplace and not deliver that promise. You have to be prepared to live them.

Drexel University approached Nick in Philadelphia about having a coffee shop on the campus. Nick and his team felt unprepared. This leap of faith, guided by his passion for community, mentorship, and culture-building, led to a new direction for Saxbys, where Nick partners with numerous colleges and universities. His values were his guide.

Saxbys was now in the education business. Nick systematically transformed his company with a newfound clarity: no franchising and no suburban locations. Instead, the company would now focus on urban and college settings. Saxbys now had a smaller footprint and lower overhead costs due to his partnerships with the schools. His labor costs were also positively impacted by his experiential learning programs helping to develop student entrepreneurs. It was a fantastic organizational realignment guided by principles, not profitability. But the profits did indeed materialize!

One way Nick made a difference was through Saxbys’ employment practices. He would say, “we’re an opportunity and education company.” He’s hired a dozen people from YouthBuild, which helps young people who have dropped out of high school. Saxbys is one of 200+ businesses that Ed and One Degree helped build through their company values. If you desire to have a business with happy and motivated employees, real purpose, and brand loyalty, let One Degree Coaching show you the way.


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