Founders of “Sweetgreen” Turn Their Appetites Into a Multi-Million Dollar Enterprise

Nathaniel Ru, one of Sweetgreen’s co-founders says they wanted to create a brand that stood for something and “feed more people better food.” Sweetgreen more than meets those two goals and many business could learn from them whether they are selling food or shoes. Ru says that at least 30% of business comes through the restaurant’s wise use of technology, that tech is part of their “DNA.”


Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet, and Jonathan Neman opened the first Sweetgreen salad shop mainly due to a craving for decent, off-campus food. Now, the Washington based eatery, known for its farm fresh inventory has grown since 2007 from the first shop in Georgetown to a national total of more than 30 less than 10 years after its founding. They also have three rounds of completed venture capital funding totaling $95 million to add to an already impressive resume.


As the children of entrepreneurs, these young men had their own ideas of how to succeed in life, so with graduation fast approaching, they took their education along with life experiences and used them both to good advantage. Through personal experience, they already knew finding a healthy, nutritious salad wasn’t as easy as it should be. So, they took their idea to investors, raised the money for the first shop, and “Sweetgreen” was born. In ten years the healthy menu has been added to, but its nutritional value remains the same.


They sell more than lettuce at Sweetgreen’s, they sell an idea and values on how a business can be run that benefits all. From the farmer, employee satisfaction, and then to the consumer, they build their shops on the solid principle that all phases of business matter if you want it to succeed. With family entrepreneurial backgrounds they had opportunities other’s may not, and were smart enough to use every one of them.


Dedication to an idea is what won over most of their investors and keeps their business strong. Sweetgreen makes it possible to order good food via modern technology. If you don’t have time for a sit down meal in any one of their outstanding shops, simply order by phone or through their website and skip the lines. Either way, it’s going to be the best salad you’ve ever eaten no matter where you may be sitting to enjoy it.


Combined with all that tech savvy is one very import other ingredient, the value of personal experience in their own shops. Nathaniel says that in order to really know their customers, Sweetgreen doesn’t follow typical management strategies. The corporate office is nearly empty of personnel as they all go off to work in one shop or another at least 5 times a year. That in itself could be their true formula for success, get out there and meet your guests, find out what really makes them want to come back, and then make sure they get it.


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