The story of Sweetgreen, the restaurant chain, is an unlikely one. Three guys in college, get bored with the food options in their area and decide the only way to fix that is to start a restaurant of their own. First, they needed a place to set up shop. For this, they turned to their landlord who happened to own the property where a restaurant they would frequent.
When they first contacted her, she didn’t even bother talking to them and hearing them out. Nathaniel Ru one of the main co-founders, kept calling for nearly a month before she finally relented and gave them her attention.
Then Nathaniel and his friends put together a business plan, which included financials and concept of the restaurant and presented it to her. Even though she was skeptical at first, she noticed their enthusiasm and went ahead and gave the green light.
For the meeting, Nathaniel says that he even wore a suit, which is the last time he has done so. This attitude is perfectly in tune with their concept of how a restaurant should be.
They describe it as “fun and easy”, as opposed to stuffy and formal. They set up the restaurant nearly six years ago. Today, they have nearly 40 locations and plan on opening some more soon.
Nathaniel Ru started Sweetgreen along with his friends Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, in the summer of 2007. Nathaniel graduated from George Town University in Washington DC. It was while attending college here he met his business partners and made the decision to start Sweetgreens.
As far as the food served at the locations is concerned, Nathaniel wanted it to be fresh, locally grown organic produce. And it seems to have worked, going by the lines found at each of their 40 locations.
Nathaniel believes strongly in supporting local growers, hence the locally grown fare.
He is also somewhat of a pioneer on the tech side of things as well. One of the first chains of its kind to set up online ordering as well as a mobile app, Sweetgreens is getting nearly 30% of their orders through these channels.
On the management side of things, Nathaniel is doing things differently as well. He and his partners agreed to totally shut down corporate headquarters five times a year to work at any one of their locations. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: http://www.businessinsider.com/sweetgreen-founder-interview-nathaniel-ru-2016-3
They feel it keeps away the danger of being out of touch with the customers. The idea here according to Ru is to decentralize corporate headcount.
Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: