Get All Access for $5/mo

Saxbys and Drexel Team Up to Promote Entrepreneurship Saxby's founder Nick Bayer talks about the one-of-a-kind program and why he wishes there was one for himself years ago.

By Carly Okyle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Earlier this month, the founder and CEO of the coffee cafe Saxbys, Nick Bayer, announced that the company would enter a partnership with Drexel University's Close School of Entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania. The company is creating the first-ever student-run Saxbys on campus in conjunction with the school's co-op program, where students work for a company full-time for six months in lieu of going to class.

The first student to partake in the program is Meghan Regan, a junior. Under the title of Cafe Manager, she will have the freedom and support to run the cafe just as any other franchisee would, and she's compensated like an employee as well. She has a voice in hiring her employees -- she'll manage a team of 18-25 people -- and she'll create her own marketing promotions. She'll deal with suppliers and customers, too.

If that sounds like a lot of responsibility to hand off to a college kid, it is, and that's exactly the point. Bayer, whose first foray into entrepreneurship is Saxbys, is giving students the training he never had when the first Saxbys opened in 2005. "There's only so much you can teach in a classroom without an experiential learning component," Bayer said. "The missing ingredient is how to apply it in a real-life situation. It's so personal to me. I'm an entrepreneur and I want to give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs. I want to give them the opportunity to learn on our dime."

Related: 5 Signs From Childhood That You Were Destined to Be an Entrepreneur

Meghan was chosen out of approximately 15 applicants -- there are now more than 130 applications for the role when her tenure ends in March -- because she was, in the best possible way, O.D.D. That is, she fits Saxbys criteria for people that are Outgoing, Detail-Oriented and Disciplined.

"I don't care if you know the difference between Colombian coffee and a smoothie. We can teach that, but you need those qualities," Bayer said. "At 18, Meghan was dealing high-stakes poker at the Revel casino [in Atlantic City]. You won't get and keep a job at Revel without being detail-oriented and disciplined. We like people that are comfortable in their own skin. Meghan has a magnetic personality. She's an extremely positive, outgoing person and she'll light up a room. She's unapologetically jubilant and somewhat loud, and she's cool with that."

With the cafe set to open on campus this February, Meghan will have little time to enjoy the fruits of her labor. Still, Saxbys will be watching to see if the partnership is, indeed, fruitful. "You can very easily look at financials," Bayer said. "We're expecting 500-700 customers a day. If we get that many people coming in every day, that's phenomenal."

Related: 3 Student Startups That Are Going the Distance

Yet, there are other measures of success as well. It's equally as important to Bayer that Meghan and her team like their experience and the culture. Also vital is the feedback from the university. If the cafe is successful on all three fronts, Bayer sees no reason not to expand to other colleges. "On its worst day, this is going to be iconic just by Drexel. On its best day, it should be replicated at universities across the country," he said. Having given lectures at universities including Cornell (his alma mater) and Temple, Bayer knows the timing for this experiment is perfect and is excited by the growing interest in entrepreneurship. "I spend a lot of time at college campuses," he said. "It warms my heart to see how schools are embracing entrepreneurship."

While Bayer hopes that the cafe will bring profits to the company, there are additional benefits to the partnership. For instance, it gives the company the inside track on potential new hires. Still, given Bayer's emphasis on giving back to future entrepreneurs, Saxby's is hoping to share some of the profits with the university in the form of a scholarship. "I feel like it's a match made in heaven," he said. "It's a beautiful thing."

Related: Drop Out Like Zuckerberg? No. Learn to Be an Entrepreneur in School.

Carly Okyle

Assistant Editor, Contributed Content

Carly Okyle is an assistant editor for contributed content at

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.