Nathaniel Ru is the co-founder of Sweetgreen. Born in Pasadena, California, Ru graduated from the Georgetown University with a degree in Finance. In 2010, Ru and friends established Sweetlife, a food and music festival that featured celebrated musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, free food sales, chefs, food trucks, and farmers. The American restaurateur has been named in the Forbes ”30 under 30” and Food and Wines’ “40 Big Thinkers Under 40.”
While in the university, Ru and his colleagues Neman and Jammet coined up the idea to start a restaurant that offered healthy food at reasonable prices. Three months after graduation, they founded Sweetgreen that began as a single shop and funded by 40 friends and relatives. As of date, the fast casual restaurant chain has expanded to 40 stations in California and New York.
The success of its expansion lies on Sweetgreen’s real estate strategy. The management sets out a perfect timing before the opening of a new branch. Their objective is to provide meals for clients at their convenience. In New York, the first store was set up at 28th and Broadway, where a series of technology and media companies are concentrated. Sweetgreen captured a large client base because it set itself apart from the Chipotles of New York. Other stores were opened in prosperous neighborhoods of Tribeca, Nelita, and Williamsburg.
Sweetgreen has strategically invested in its interior design that is personalized such that each customer sees the ingredients from an open kitchen. After making an order, the client is taken through some ingredients and the entire process of preparation which takes about three minutes. In that way, the restaurant can show its customers what they do rather than tell them.
The chain of restaurants has included an application that allows clients to make their orders. The system includes images of ingredients that engage customers in a rather visual experience. Users of the application skip to the pickup area making it faster to receive their orders. When planning to set up a new store, Sweetgreen initiates meeting with farmers of the region to find out what they grow. The idea is to expose their clients to new vegetables and reduce food wastage. The restaurant has shown their customers that there are more vegetables you can eat other than kales. Moreover, there are more diverse options for their meals other than the usual burgers and burritos.