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Running a Saxbys Cafe Made Ryan McKim a Much Better Student

Ryan McKim

Ryan McKim has always had a fascination with business. At the tender age of 19, he was able to run a business of his own. Despite having zero experience, Ryan took on the big tasks of team development, community leadership, and financial management at one of our Saxbys Drexel cafes. For six months, Ryan earned a competitive salary and college credit while learning important skills that’ll help him throughout his career.

Now that he’s back in the classroom the international business major is noticing a big change — the time management skills he learned at Saxbys have made him a much better student, and his grades have seen serious improvement.

We sat down to chat with Ryan to learn about his Saxbys experience and how it’s prepared him for a bright career in business.


How has the Saxbys program made you a better student?

My time management skills are so much better now. I’m getting much better grades now. I’m now setting priorities, figuring out what tasks need to be done, how soon they need to be accomplished, and laying it all out so I accomplish everything in a timely fashion. It’s something I wasn’t good at before Saxbys, but now I’m really proficient at it.

How did your position at Saxbys helped you prepare for a career in business?

I had to refine my people skills tremendously. That isn’t naturally my strong suit but I know it’s really important, especially in business. Saxbys has its twist on the golden rule saying, basically, to treat people the way they need to be treated — rather than to treat people the way you want to be treated. We’re all individuals and all different so I had to treat my guests and team members in the ways that made them happiest. That was a big lesson for me.

Team Development

How did you build a culture based off your leadership style at your cafe?

I wanted to build a culture where people wanted to go to work because they enjoyed it — but they were also productive at the same time. Leading by example really helped me achieve that. I was always smiling and working as hard as I could. I also made it a point to encourage people when they do things correctly, or correct them in polite and meaningful way.

What was the most rewarding aspect of developing your team?

Seeing people grow. It’s a wonderful thing to see people pick up skills and be better than they were a week ago, a month ago, or six months ago. I love seeing people bettering themselves.

Community Leadership

What community leadership events were you most proud of during your time as SCEO?

I’m most proud of the charity we did around Christmas time. It let guests round up their bills and give their extra change to charity. Our cafe supported the Philly Youth Network, which is dedicated to equipping young people in Philadelphia for career success through education and opportunities. That’s really needed here and I loved working toward that goal. It was a competition between all Saxbys cafes — and we raised the second most money of any cafe!

How did becoming a community leader impact your cafe?

The younger generation today demands more from companies than just maximizing profits. Now we want to see social impact, not just a cold-hearted company that’s all about profit and loss. The community service Saxbys provides gives people a sense of belonging, especially the team members that work there.

Financial Management

How did you work to manage and understand your profit/loss (P&L) statement each month?

Saxbys has a well laid out training program. In the beginning, I worked with my coach very closely. As I got better, she was able to simply check my work rather than holding my hand through it. They have pars for what you buy, the amount of labor you should have on staff at any given moment, and systems in place so costs don’t outweigh the gross profit. I really just followed the Saxbys system. 

How did you hold team members accountable for managing costs?

I don’t like to waste things naturally. I think waste is pointless on a personal level. When waste occurs in the cafe, that’s lost money. So I just worked to communicate the importance of that kind of accountability. My team caught on to that right away.

Final Thoughts

Any other skills you learned during your time at Saxbys?

I learned effective ways to communicate. Nobody wants to be bossed around or ordered around. They want to be empowered. When I’m in a management position later in life, I’ll know to treat everyone as an equal and it’ll help me connect with them far better.