Sweetgreen: As Told by Nathaniel Ru


Every time society embraces a new trend, hundreds of new companies pop up overnight. Lately, the country’s been on a health craze, meaning a lot of new healthy restaurants have popped up overnight. Most of them barely survive, usually because of celebrity press, but some survive on their own merit.

Sweetgreen is one of those new restaurants. The high-end salad chain opened its first store in 2007. Since then, co-CEO Nathaniel Ru’s been present at all of 40 locations’ openings. In Ru’s words, Sweetgreen is unlike any other restaurant because they stand for something more than profit.

There’s a lot that other legacy restaurants could learn from Sweetgreen. While most people wait for trends to take over, Sweetgreen starts them. Before the world caught on to the technology craze, Sweetgreen already implemented several features that allowed customers to use technology to place and receive orders via a website or mobile app. Learn more about Michael Lacey: http://fortune.com/2016/02/18/sweetgreen-entrepreneurs/ and https://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/potmsearch/detail/submission/6435405/Nathaniel_Ru

With technology as part of the company’s DNA, it ensured Sweetgreen’s spot on the map. Once they were on the map, they needed to figure out a new way to lead their company. The co-founders didn’t want to go the traditional corporate headquarters route. Instead, they created their own bicoastal management strategies.

They’ve come a long way since their first restaurant in Georgetown. Shortly after graduating, they wanted to start their entrepreneurial careers. The first step: identifying marketing opportunities that they could afford to pursue. Upon close inspection, they found that Georgetown lacked any healthy eating options, particularly, near campus.

Their first store was on campus and tailored directly to students. Thanks to their use of technology, the younger generation picked up on Sweetgreen’s vibe early on. The company did well until winter break when most of the students leave on vacation. Yet, Sweetgreen found a way to survive the dry spell. Read more: Nathaniel Ru | Crunchbase and Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork

It’s also extremely important that restaurant owners determine why people should visit their store. Most food chains cluster around corporate offices, hoping to attract lunch-time diners. That method works well as long as the number of restaurants stays low and competitive. Too much competition and no one makes money.

Sweetgreen thought it’d better if they focused on becoming a part of the community. They look for affluent neighborhoods that are more likely to welcome a healthy restaurant.


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