Zachary Houle

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Creating a Legacy Through Healthy Food-The Story of Sweetgreen and Nathaniel Ru

Three Georgetown undergraduates who loved eating a healthy diet saw an opportunity to feed the world healthy food they went for it. Nathaniel Ru and his friends started with a single shop in Georgetown in 2007. Ten years later the restaurant has more than 100 stores countrywide having been dabbed one of the sexiest start-ups in the industry.

The background for a firm foundation was set from an early age as the trio had entrepreneur parents. Nathaniel Ru, Jonathan Neman, and Nicolas Jammet had the one thing all entrepreneurs need to succeed. Discipline, they were disciplined enough to stick to their business plan. Their concept of having a salad restaurant was not new, but their execution was. They held true to their roots and stayed connected to their clients and suppliers.

Sweetgreen is a chain of healthy food restaurant that is a farm to table salad type of restaurant. The menu changes every five times a year, and all restaurants serve different menus. The menu change depends on their supply of vegetables.

Nathaniel Ru and his friends did not want to create another corporate entity that would be disconnected from the public. The company does not have an official headquarters and closes down its offices several times every year so that everyone can work in retail.

Sweetgreen started off by being funded by 40 friends and relatives.

Today they have completed three rounds of venture capital funding. A total of $95 million has gone into the business. The company is thriving as well. The trio recently opened a new shop in LA, and also launched Sweetlife.

Sweetlife is a food and music festival that happens in Columbia and Maryland. It is a spring festival that boasts such acts as Solange and Strokes. In 2015 Kendrick Lamar headlined the festival. Sweetgreen collaborated with the hip-hop artist on the ‘Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe’ salad. A spin from one of his famous songs.

Nathaniel believes Sweetgreen’s approach to the industry is the right one and has insisted on keeping the company’s hip approach to dealing with their employees. The restaurant gets most of its business from its app. Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork

Every restaurant displays its suppliers on its menu which is very rare. Although Sweetgreen has not disclosed its bottom line, it is believed that in 2015 they hit at least $75 million in revenue while only having 39 stores at the time.

They aim to build an economic model that is sustainable and relies on small and medium-size farmers.

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