Even Stevens Sandwiches co-founder, cause director, and Utah-born innovator, Sara Day, tells how and why she turned passion for serving others into a career beyond the corporate box.
We spoke in a nicely cushioned, wood-paneled nook in the original downtown Salt Lake City store, at the corner of 414 East and 200 South. Up-tempo yet soft-spoken, Sara’s “front of the house” restaurant experience smiled from eyes that tracked everything as the place woke up.
Helping others was a requirement for Sara long before Even Stevens. “Giving back was an important part of growing up,” she says. “Even Stevens was a perfect match for my business degree, food experience, and time spent volunteering through the years. This is a dream job.”
By the time Even Stevens was founded, Sara was already seasoned at managing customer experience. A food, drink, and culture-obsessed gal with more than 12 years of industry experience, she brings Salt Lake City people together over shared interests through Instagram @local_enthusiast_slc in her spare time.
Sara’s love of sandwiches isn’t a recent phenomenon. “I’ve always loved sandwiches. Dad used to make us grilled cheese sammies with tomato soup for dipping, and a chocolate shake to wash it down,” Sara says. “Classic comfort sandwich? Put my name on it!”
Outlining her reasons for leaving corporate cubes behind, she explains that, “Amid the financial crisis and bulls**t going on in corporate America, I was drawn to the opportunity to earn a profit while making a strong community impact.”
Describing her experience as a cause entrepreneur, Sara says, “You can absolutely have a sustainable, social impact and still grow as a company. Others now look to us for expertise, which we love to share.”
Sara’s operational expertise comes from “practical understanding of systems, operations, and tools.” Elaborating on the ideals that put Even Stevens sandwiches on the table, “top-down, we enable our people with tools they need to grow.”
“Kaizen, the practice of continuous improvement, makes us strive to better our programs and systems everyday. By continually soliciting our nonprofit partner’s input, and putting gained knowledge into running the program, we can say we’ve grown leaps and bounds since we started in 2014,” says Sara. “We’ve proven you can give back in a way that works for your business, which beats the common misconception. I’d do this forever.”