The lack of healthy dining options in Georgetown became an opportunity for three graduates from Georgetown University. During their time at the University, they found it difficult to get healthy eating places that felt easy and fun.
As a result, the trio decided to revolutionize the food industry in the town. Their journey started at a 560 square-foot tavern in the downtown area. Challenges started with acquiring the place. The landlord, having known them from where they lived, she became reluctant to lease the tavern to them.
However, after a month of persuasion, she accepted a face to face meeting after which she asked them to find an architect, business backers, and a real plan. According to Ru, it took them three weeks to meet her requirements after which she leased the tavern, probably against her better judgment.
Today, Sweetgreen has expanded to Boston, Washington, and New York. It markets itself not merely as a place to get food but as a company that stands for something greater. Likening themselves with Apple, Sweetgreen approaches their marketing with a similar approach as the tech giant. According to Dold, they strive to be social, sexy and smart.
Dold added that customers rarely buy what you do, but instead, they buy how you do it. Nathaniel stressed that each restaurant strives to meet the company’s standards while serving the community around it. The business grows on a base of five values.
The first is a win situation for both the restaurant and the community. The second is a sustainability idea that allows planning for the long-term. The third revolves around the authenticity of their products, employees’ demeanor, and the source of raw materials. Read more: Sweetgreen Founder Interview – Nathaniel Ru | Business Insider
The sweet in Sweetgreen stands for value addition. A satisfied customer will tell a friend. That way, marketing becomes simpler. Finally, embracing teamwork creates a happy community.
In 2009, they rented a more prominent space near Dupont Circle, Washington. The location registered few customers in the first two weeks. However, they incorporated music that saw customers stream in.
It was then that Sweetlife was born. Sweetlife is a food and music festival that attracts over 20,000 people. Today, Sweetgreen is among the top leaders in the industry.
Nathaniel Ru is the co-founder of the Sweetgreen restaurant. He is a graduate of Georgetown University. There, he studied for a Finance degree at McDonough School of Business. He has remained instrumental in the expansion of Sweetgreen.
Today, the restaurant is operational in 27 locations in six states. Out of their experience at Georgetown, Nathaniel Ru and his friends sought to create a healthy and eco-friendly dining option.