The idea to set up Sweetgreen was born from the need for healthy eating facilities during the time of Nathaniel Ru at Georgetown University.
Together with Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jamme, Nathaniel Ru took out a 560 square-foot pub and converted it into a cafeteria. Within six years, the cafeteria business has expanded into Sweetgreen, the successful conglomerate with 31 outlets.
Nathaniel Ru and his friends experienced many obstacles before the business took off. For instance, it took a month of daily calls to the landlord for her to agree to meet them. According to Nathaniel Ru, the opportunity to talk to the landlord and her reluctant acquiescence was probably their biggest break.
Sweetgreen has been able to grow by selling new health-giving foods from local ingredients. Also, the company set out to meet the needs of their customers differently from the competition. The head of digital marketing, Theresa Dold, affirms that the company seeks to be social, local and contemporary.
The business of Sweetgreen is guided by five core values displayed in all their kitchens. The first is a win-win policy where Sweetgreen, their customers, and society all benefit from their interactions. Secondly, there is the long-term sustainability of the business.
Thirdly, the company believes in keeping it real and maintaining authenticity in all aspects. Also, there is the aspect of the group encouraging its employees to “sweeten” their services and give more than the customer expects. Lastly, the business imperative of Sweetgreen is to influence society positively. Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork and Sweetgreen Founder Interview – Nathaniel Ru | Business Insider
Sweetgreen has implemented several other innovations to attract customers. In 2009, they started playing music outside their stores on Saturday and Sunday. This idea was successful and morphed into the famous food and music festival known as “sweetlife.” According to Nathaniel, this event has created a new image for the company as a unique way of life.
Furthermore, he believes that the future of the company lies with its employees. In this regard, Sweetgreen hires the best and their friends. It strengthens long-term friendships creating value for the firm which consequently records strong financial results.
Nathaniel Ru has received recognition in several fora and was recently highlighted by Forbes. He was acknowledged as one of the prominent “30 Under 30” leaders in the wine and foodstuff industry. Nathaniel Ru regularly contributes to business forums where he readily offers useful business insights.
He usually advises upcoming investors to seek and establish businesses that will outlive them.