Sweetgreen Restaurant Partners With Local Farmers to Serve the Community

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.

 

 

A Growing Company Based on Friendship

Sweetgreen is a company like no other. Their business model is based on the idea to serve people better food. The three co-CEOs are Jonathan Neman, Nicholas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru. These three met while attending school at Georgetown University. They all shared a frustration at the lack of healthy food options in the area. During their senior year is where their business idea began to form.

 

All three of the founders have much in common to include that all of them have parents who have started their own businesses. While none of the founders have business experience, they do not let this stop them. They actually look at it as a positive and say that their inexperience allows them to approach every situation with an open mind and put their own spin and twist on things.

 

The menu put out my Sweetgreen is unique as well. With the basis being on healthy food, the restaurant partners with local farmers and outlets. They serve organic food that is in season. The menu rotates based on what is available during that season and typically will change about five times per year.

 

The first Sweetgreen opened in 2007. The company has now grown to 40 restaurants across the United States with plans to open more in the near future. As the company has grown, so has the number of employees. There are now over 1700 employees working for Sweetgreen. With the company being founded by three friends, the co-CEOs focus on making all of their employees feel like friends and family. They want the best employees who are committed to the brand and will grow with the brand.

 

Nathaniel Ru is one of the founders and has done countless interviews about their company. He believes that they are so much more than just a restaurant company. They are also a lifestyle as well as a brand. Ru, as well as the other founders, hold Georgetown near and dear to their hearts. They make it a point to go back many times a year and keep their brand strong in the area where it all began.

 

Sweetgreen and the founders are a great example of a successful company that has thrived outside of the norm. They started with an idea and expanded it exponentially and do not seem to bee stopping anytime soon.

 

Sweetgreen: A Story of Passion, Caring, and Success

As with many startups, the founders are committed, hardworking, and very disciplined. Such is the case with Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru, the founders of Sweetgreen. The Bloomberg article about the stunning success of these three entrepreneurs showcases the drive and determination of these men, and their desire to provide a better, and healthier product that apparently, everyone wants. The group, together as students at Georgetown University, was growing tired of the campus food offerings, and while looking for better food elsewhere struck on the idea of opening their own restaurant. So, in 2007 with the funding help of some 40 friends and relatives, that’s just what they did. The rest, as they say, is history. What started out as a desire to find better food to eat has now blossomed into a chain of 43 restaurants, with more scheduled to open soon. Sweetgreen offers a menu of food that is grown by farmers sourced by Sweetgreen who use only organic, local, and antibiotic-free cheese and poultry. The company emphasizes simpler recipes that feature natural flavors with natural sweeteners such as honey and agave for a finishing touch.

 

Thanks to several rounds of venture capital funding, they were able to realize their goal of expansion. Their business plan consisted of selling a dream, and focusing on the outcome, which by all accounts was the key to their success. Other intangibles are the group’s innate ability to make the right decisions and then knowing when to act on them. Nathaniel Ru, one of Sweetgreen’s co-founders and co-CEOs, speaks of passion and purpose in his restaurants. This passion that drives the company’s success is part of a shared bond of entrepreneurship that all three founders shared from the beginning, and today, they remain the best of friends.

 

Mr. Ru also talks of how the use of technology enhances their operational efficiency to keep everyone connected at all times. Due to his busy travel schedule, Mr. Ru relies on technology to maintain the close relationships between his employees and the principals of the company, which adds to the company culture of teamwork. Perhaps a main reason why the company’s vision is centered around teamwork and values is because all three founders are the children of entrepreneurs themselves. From that beginning not so long ago, a dream is now a reality for these three men. They’re creating magic among their employees, too. Mr. Ru and his partners are dedicated to their employees and they’ve structured the company in such a way that if someone leaves the company, they want to know why. The relationships between their farmers are just as important, as well as with the app developers. It’s obvious to even a casual observer that Mr. Ru and his partners have something special in Sweetgreen, and they’re happily changing how and what people eat. More importantly, the level of happiness and productivity among Sweetgreen’s employees may someday set a new standard for employers everywhere to follow.