The idea behind Sweetgreen was born from a desire to have a healthy eating place by Nathaniel Ru. After his senior year in Georgetown University, Ru and some of his friends started Sweetgreen on a 560 square foot tavern on M street. Six years later, it has grown to become a 21 store farm from a table style restaurant.
The restaurant has now expanded to the main cities in the Northeast. It has opened up stores in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. It offers fresh and healthy food with most of its products being acquired from local farmers. The head of marketing, Theresa Dold said that Sweetgreen markets itself not only as a place to buy food but as a place of healthy food. She compares the thought approach of the founders to that of Apple.
Dold said that Sweetgreen approach to marketing was similar to Apple’s. They wanted to be social, smart, and local. She also added that they provide an excellent line of juices and throw a music festival once in every year. Ru said that despite the number of stores, every single one is supposed to live up to the core values. He stated that they operate under five core value that are;
- Win – the company, the community, and the customer have a stake.
- Sustainability – every decision should cater for the long term goal.
- Keeping it real – this is by ensuring the food is always fresh.
- Sweet touch- offering 110 percent will ensure an exponential growth in customers.
- Teamwork – Doing together as a group creates a larger impact.
According to Ru, the five values has enabled them not only to be a restaurant but a lifestyle brand. In the year 2009, the brand opened a store in Washington. They spent too much, but nobody showed up. Rather than panicking, Ru and founders introduced music at the restaurant. There were emotional connection and customers started to stream in. The introduction of music later became Sweetlife, one of the biggest music, and food festival. Today, each store has its engineer and architect who designs it considering the local tastes.
Nathaniel Ru is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Sweetgreen. He pursued a degree in finance from the University of Georgetown. Under his leadership, sweet green has grown to over 27 stores in six states. In 2010, Nathaniel with his partners launched Sweetlife that attracts over 20,000 attendees. With its recent expansion, under Nathaniel, the company has been involved in several philanthropic activities.