Shortly after finishing undergraduate studies, three friends got together to change the common perception of fast food. The friends, Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Newman, started the company, Sweetgreen in 2007. Sweetgreen takes the concept of from, “farm to table,” a step further.
Just imagine, if you will, stepping up to a farmer’s table and being served the freshest veggies, chopped when you order, in a delicious salad. That’s what you get at Sweetgreen, which has an open kitchen design, one that is similar to the way Chipotle is set up. But, that’s where the similarities to other fast food chains ends. Because Ru and his friends, turned business partners want you to experience on-site scratch salads. High end salads that are made from local, organic vegetables, topped with in-house dressings, made fresh daily. As tech entrepreneurs, Ru, Jammet and Newman use mobile apps and their website for salad transactions; which accounts for 30% of their business.
Sweetgreen is thriving in the scratch food business. The three friends have come a long way since meeting in an entrepreneurship class at Georgetown University. At first, the three business partners, didn’t want to hire outside help, instead they tried to manage all the organizational stuff, internally. But, they quickly realized that this approach wasn’t feasible and built a team. Ru said that it’s best to hire others to fill roles within the company, sooner, rather than later.
As one of the co-founders and co-CEO of Sweetgreen, Nathaniel Ru is often interviewed about the company. He lives in Washington, D.C. and New York, the cities where Sweetgreen first opened. Ru believes that his team is the most important aspect of Sweetgreen. They share a family meal at the beginning of each season to celebrate the bounty of the farmer’s crops. It’s obvious that Ru and his business partners remain anchored in the real world and work on maintaining their close ties.
Nathaniel Ru said that what he likes best about his business is the concept. “Hopefully the first thing you see is the open kitchen;” because for Sweetgreen they want their customers to see the ingredients, how their meal is prepared and what goes into each salad. Ru believes that the reason customers keep coming back is the food first, but also for the atmosphere. For Nathaniel Ru and Sweetgreen, high-end salads are apart of embracing a healthy lifestyle brand.