By: Savannah Arnold
It’s Marketing Week! This Wednesday, October 4th, AMA had Nick Bayer, the CEO of Saxbys, come in and speak with all of us. I knew it was going to be a good speaker session right when I walked in; there was free Saxbys cold brew, complete with cream and sugar for AMA members to drink. In addition to this much-needed caffeine boost, Saxbys had provided mini brownie bites and crumb cake samples. Who doesn’t love free coffee and treats?
Saxbys has always had a close relationship with Temple; there is one right on Liacouras Walk, and another shop opening up right in between Alter Hall and Speakman. Bayer stressed the importance of relationships between fellow Philadelphia businesses, but also between Saxbys and the university itself. Students from the Tyler School of Art perpetually design the murals featured in the shop; and the new location was based on aesthetic designed by students as well. Saxbys is not just a coffee company; it is a people company.
But why? Bayer was intent on establishing Saxbys as having a culture, a distinct identity separate from the ubiquity of all coffee shops. One of those most important things he learned was that the taste of product is subjective; however, human experience is not. Treating others well is something objective that all people want to experience; which is what Saxbys strives to provide. Bayer asserted us that you want to have a distinct brand before even beginning to market your company. He wants Saxbys to be a social impact company, that is simply camouflaged as a coffee company.
Saxbys core values have nothing to do with their product; their mission statement is to “Make Life Better.” They strive to provide an uplifting café experience, opportunity, and a social impact. An uplifting café experience may begin with product, but it relies on the atmosphere of a Saxbys being welcoming and productive. Bayer stressed how much he loves being with people, and wants to provide opportunities to elevate people’s lives. He shared a great story of how he met a young man in a foster home, and although he had virtually no work experience, he hired him. This man grew up in foster care, never knowing his father, and worked as a barista with friendliness and vigor; he fit Saxbys culture. From there, he kept getting promoted, and is now the CEO of his own branch, with his own family. Although Bayer loves the ubiquity of the coffee industry, he let us know that opportunities such as that is what Saxbys is really here for.
All in all, Saxbys is a culture-based company; it is meant to attract to college students and urban professionals who want a more intimate coffee experience. But it is more than just coffee; Saxbys recently went through rebranding. Prior, the company was called ‘Saxbys Coffee,’ but Bayer changed it to just ‘Saxbys’ in order to provide more options for those who are not necessarily coffee drinkers. They also recently acquired a new logo; one featured a coffee cup with a hot air balloon. When Bayer was asked, “Why the hot air balloon?” his reply was succinct; who looks at a hot air balloon and thinks, “Oh, that hot air balloon is lame.” No one! Even the simple whimsy of their logo contributes to Saxbys truly being a people’s company.