Sasha Raj of 24 Carrots in Tempe: "I Wanted to Work for a Transparent Company"
Sadhana "Sasha" Raj
Lauren Saria Sasha Raj of 24 Carrots in Tempe
(Find part two of this interview here)
The name 24 Carrots is a play on words that speaks directly to the Tempe restaurant and juice bar's mission: to provide pure food for everyone -- no matter what your dietary restrictions might be.
Owner Sasha Raj chose the name because 24-karat gold is pure gold, and when she started 24 Carrots as a juice bar more than five years ago, it was because she wanted to "work for a transparent company" that served food she could be proud of.
Raj, who studied biochemistry at Arizona State University, worked at a juice bar while she was a student. At the time, she had no intention of starting her own business but did hope the experience might teach her something. As it turned out, the job would teach her a lot about customer expectations -- and, more importantly, trust.
"A lot of people don't realize how much trust there is between customers and a restaurant," Raj says. "I realized how easily that trust can be broken."
That's why when you come to 24 Carrots, the only things you'll get in your juice or smoothie are the ingredients listed on the menu. No additional sugar and no artificial anything. And no dairy products either, since the restaurant went vegan (like its owner) a few years ago.
Lauren Saria A list of one 24 Carrots employee's allergies in the kitchen.
"To me, it feels like a snowball and I'm chasing it downhill," she says of 24 Carrots. "I have no idea what it will be at the end, but it's very exciting."
Raj admits she had no intention for her juice bar to become a haven for those with dietary restrictions. But as a person who understands the difficulties of navigating a menu when you have dietary restrictions, she has a hard time saying no to substitutions, exceptions, and special requests. That's also why she hires only employees who are also vegetarian or vegan or have been at one time in their lives.
"I want our crew to understand -- with empathy -- what it feels like to be told no," Raj says.