How Sweetgreen’s Co-Founders Are Creating A New Model For Fast Food
Close to a decade after opening its doors, unrivaled fast salad eatery Sweetgreen continues to catch the attention of customers as corroborated by its frequent long lines.
Launched in 2007 by three Georgetown University colleagues shortly after graduation, Sweetgreen now boasts more than 60 locations throughout the country.
The trio, Nathaniel Ru, Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet met as classmates at the university where they took a class on organizing and carrying out a new business.
The three were of the same opinion that the area around the university in Washington D.C. was in need of delicious, healthy eating choices and proceeded to get their first restaurant underway.
After its initial opening in the Washington, D. C. area, Sweetgreen expanded their healthy food eating place to New York, Chicago, California, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The company currently provides work for more than 1,700 employees.
Ru told Fortune magazine the thought behind the restaurant was to establish a lifestyle brand and to provide a healthier choice of food to the public.
Among the healthy and tasty food assortment on the menu are organic baby spinach, carrot chili vinaigrette, roasted sesame tofu, Sweetgreen hot sauce and much more.
He also made it known that Sweetgreen meets with the farmers in a new region to ask what they are cultivating rather than requesting specific produce as the ingredients are purchased from local farmers and suppliers.
Ru also clarified the company, which does not think in terms of large corporate headquarters, carries on without a main headquarters and the co-chief executives are bi-coastal. Sweetgreen closes its corporate office five times a year giving everyone the time to go to work in the restaurants.
The trio are also technology advocates and noted 30 percent of the company’s business takes place through its website or mobile applications.
What’s more, the partners became aware of how food and music connect a community and decided to bring people together and introduce a music and food festival, called sweetlife. The festival highlights musical artists and food from top chefs as well as food trucks.
Investors of Sweetgreen, which has raised more than $95 million, include the three co-founders parents as well as entrepreneurs Steve Case, Daniel Boulud and Danny Meyer.
Ru graduated from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University with a degree in Finance.