Nathaniel Ru is one of the top founders of Sweetgreen, a fast casual restaurant chain. Ru notes that sequencing is an important part of Sweetgreen’s real estate strategy. Entering a market is considered just as important as opening stores. Sweetgreen wants pure convenience, which means that customers want dinners and weekends besides lunch traffic. Ru compares visiting a Sweetgreen restaurant to walking into an Apple store. Ru says that service design is important because it combines technology and storytelling, along with the design. This helps to elevate the selling of a product so that it is has been personalized to suit each customer. Sweetgreen strives to be a restaurant that people can rely on.
Ru wants diners to take pride in seeing the open kitchen and the ingredients. It is a very important process, as Sweetgreen makes all of its dressings and other products naturally. The produce is delivered everyday. While there may be a small wait to get served, the one on one ordering process will only take a few minutes. Introducing an app has enhanced the experience, according to Ru. Food photography is important as you can now do more than check boxes. After ordering, you can head to a designated pickup area.
Ru says that Sweetgreen will meet with farmers in a new region before opening. This helps the company figure out how to make a supply chain before opening new stores. Sweetgreen gets input from farmers about what they are growing opposed to looking for a certain crop. This helps customers try new things, while also decreasing food waste.
Recently, The Hoya set down with Ru, along with Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman, who also helped found Sweetgreen. All three attended Georgetown University, and soon began to brainstorm different options for healthy, affordable food around campus. The three guys developed a business plan. Each were unsure how to build a business, as they had no experience. The trio got advice from owners and faculty around campus. The lack of experience actually helped Sweetgreen because it was unique.
The trio launched Sweetgreen in Schools, as a program that helps children learn about nutrition and healthy living, using different workshops and activities. Sweetgreen then added a musical element, as the trio loved music. This led to the invention of Sweetlife, a music and food festival. Sweetgreen is based on the core values of winning, sustainability, keeping it real, making an impact, and adding a sweet touch. These values influence every aspect of the company, from business decisions to celebrating successes. The trio wants to create solutions that are beneficial to the community. Sweetgreen believes in establishing a human connection by appealing to customers on an emotional level.