Sweetgreen, a popular restaurant chain, was founded in 2007. It has locations in NYC, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Sweetgreen is renovating what a salad means. They are known for fresh, local ingredients and partnering with local farmers to give customers the best food. Drake Baer wrote an article titled “This trendy salad bar’s design secrets keep customers coming back for more” in the Business Insider and said that “…Unlike many lunch salads, you’re not hungry 45 minutes after eating one. For about the same price as a burger and fries, you can eat nourishing food”.
Sweetgreen is similar in serving style to Chipotle. Co-founder of Sweetgreen, Nathaniel Ru said, “Hopefully the first thing you see is the open kitchen. Seeing the ingredients, seeing the kitchen and the process behind it is really important to us. We make all of our dressings, all of our products, from scratch everyday, with produce delivered each morning…” The process of opening up a Sweetgreen is a methodical process. Sweetgreen makes sure there are local farmers nearby with enough crops to chain supply. Once Sweetgreen finds a farmer they want to partner with, they will buy even little known, unusual vegetables from them.
Ru shared a story of when his company went out to the Salinas Valley in Northern California. They met a farmer who showed them his crop of broccoli. Ru said they asked him, “What do you do with leaves once the crown is gone? Do you sell them?”. The farmer replied, “No, nobody wants to eat it…” To which the team responded back with a question, “Well can you eat them?”. The farmer affirmed that you could eat the leaves of a broccoli plant and said that, “It’s just as healthy, if not healthier, than most of the lettuces you see out there.” From that day on, Sweetgreen made a deal to purchase the broccoli greens.
In 2007, Nathaniel Ru obtained a BS in Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The inspiration for Sweetgreen came from his and his co-founders’ belief that the community needed a delicious, healthy, eco-friendly dining option. Ru launched an in-school initiative to educate children about healthy eating and living. One student said,”I used to hate vegetables, but now I can’t get enough”. Sweetgreen is part of a recent movement bringing us back to knowing where our food comes from.