Nathaniel Ru And His Success With Sweetgreen
Nathaniel Ru attended Georgetown University where he graduated in 2007 with a degree in finance. In the same year he struck a partnership with two other graduates and founded sweetgreen. This was a mostly seasonal kitchen who specialized in sustainability. The very first location opened in Georgetown. Sweetgreen now occupies six states and boasts 27 locations. Sweetgreen was born from the belief the community was missing a tasty, eco-friendly and healthy option for their dining needs. They wanted to meet the budget, taste and value needs of their community.
Nathaniel and his friends started sweetlife in 2010. This has since become the biggest festival for food and music in the region. Around 20,000 people usually attend this festival and it features high profile artists in music. It’s about good healthy living. Nathaniel calls it a party that has a purpose.
While the three friends completed their senior year they were also looking for a good location for Sweetgreen. Six years later they started in a downtown space of over 500 square feet. The landlord for the restaurant space was also the landlord for an apartment building close to where the three were living. She saw something in the group because she told them to get an architect, backers, a real plan and then to come back. That is exactly what they did.
Sweetgreen has continued to grow and still offers food that is healthy and fresh. Most of the ingredients are purchased from the local farmers. According to Nathaniel every store must live up to the companies core values and successfully serve the community. The five most important values have been posted in the kitchen of every sweetgreen restaurant. Sweetgreen has become so much more than just a company. They are now a well known brand. Everything is authentic. Their belief that if people are happy with sweetgreen they will tell their friends was right on target. They do a lot of business by referrals.
One of their best off the moment ideas was a speaker system playing right outside the store every weekend. This was the way they successfully connected food to music. They continued this theme at a farmers market they bought a lot of their food from. Eventually this idea turned into a popular festival called Sweetlife. All of their strategies connect them to the community and make people feel like they are a real part of sweetgreen.