Sweetgreen is a chain restaurant that offers healthy seasonal salad dishes and other contemporary fast food that is widely popular to the people of Washington D.C and in other cities. Students of Georgetown found it very handy for their daily meal. Besides Food, Sweetgreen regularly hosts Sweetlife Festival, a music fest with the combination of healthy food. They also have key initiative in technology which includes Sweetgreen app and lifestyle space.
Sweetgreen was founded in 2007 by Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet, and Jonathan Neman, just after their graduation from Georgetown University undergraduate business school. At their last semester, they discussed the lack of healthy food sources and opportunities in Georgetown. Neman stated in an interview that they had bonded for three different causes. Number one – love for food, two – want to create or start something and three – a strong commitment to solve a problem in everyone’s life.
Few months after their graduation, they had come up with a vision and business plan for a new venture. However, Ru, Jammet and Neman had no prior experience to do this. Fortunately, their parents were already successful entrepreneurs and helped them a lot to execute their plan. Most interestingly, the three don’t have any idea what it needed to start a business, and no one of them had any idea about the food industry.
Sweetgreen raised an initial investment of $350,000 from the parents of three founders and Washington’s Latino Economic Development Center. They have raised money for investment couple of times from Revolution Growth and by themselves. Sweetgreen has raised over $95 million to date.
Sweetgreen has involved them in community service as well. Through a program called “Sweetgreen in Schools” launched in 2010, works in close collaboration with school student to educate them about nutrition in food and healthy eating habits. To date, around 20,000 participants join their program.
Nathaniel Ru is the co-CEO of SweetGreen. In an interview, he told that they are creating a brand that stands for something and committed to feed people better food. The company doesn’t have any Headquarter, and when Nathanial Ru was asked for the reason, he stated that rather that growing a giant corporate house, they believe in decentralizing business. Ru is busy these days traveling to open up new branches in other countries.
In an interactive interview the Co-CEO of the company, Nathaniel Ru stated that reading book is the most important thing he should do regardless the time he gets. He believes that building a good team is crucial to run a successful business and they do it very wisely. Ru also stated that the employees should understand the value of the principles of Sweetgreen and employ only those team members who can represent these values to their customers.