Sweetgreen is breaking ground as true competition in the casual fast dining area. This high-end salad bar chain offers organic, fresh and local dining options, hitting the triumvirate of qualities popular with today’s consumers.
Sweetgreen reflects an evolved consumer palate with a bustling 40 locations, all of which have been busy with massive lines of the vegetable-starved American public.
Co – CEO Nathaniel Ru emphasizes the importance of healthy eating and rebelling against processed and packaged food stating “we want to feed people better food.” Nathaniel Ru met fellow co – founder and CEO Jonathan Neman as technology undergrads at Georgetown University.
It was during their senior year at Georgetown that Ru embarked on his quest for healthy food when realizing the limited dining options available to college students.
Disappointed with Washington D.C.’s dismal options for local casual dining, Ru sought to fill an area left vacant by creating a dining concept that would offer fresh organic offerings in a relaxed atmosphere. Best of all, affordable on the wallet and at faster speeds than preparing and cleaning produce at home.
The concept of Sweetgreen revolves around a healthy lifestyle emphasized by Ru stating “not just a restaurant brand but a lifestyle company.” Ru emphasizes the community-based team-spirited approach stating firmly “we do it together” regarding Sweetgreen’s success.
Ru is a techie, which is how he met company co-founder Neman. Ru evokes passion when reflecting on his technology based upbringing introducing him to his fellow Georgetown alumnus Neman saying “its part of our DNA.” They have turned the Sweetgreen story into a legacy, sharing the adventures of how hungry college students sought a downtown plot in Washington D.C., purchased it, and created a hustling farm-to-table eatery enterprise.
Sweetgreen rebels against corporate neglect by upper management by closing down corporate offices, up to five times a year, all in a bid to focus on individual store front efforts. Corporate staff head to branches and work hands-on to streamline workflow. Also busting conventional workplace environments, Sweetgreen participates in social activities with the community such as holding yoga classes inside branch locations. In a structured system that also bucks against conventional big business models comes the decentralization of corporate headquarters. There isn’t a central corporate headquarter. Sweetgreen operates on a bi-coastal model and executive heads emphasize the confidence in their system noting that they feel one centralized headquarter location is not necessary for the company to operate and flourish.
Follow Nathaniel Ru on twitter.