Fast Food

Strategies employed by Nathaniel Ru to make sweetgreen successful

Mention Sweetgreen in the U.S. and people start thinking about organic, fresh and healthy food. The brand, which was co-founded by Nathaniel Ru with the help of Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, caught the attention of big investors, including Danny Meyer, and Daniel Boulud, who have worked together with the young minds to establish 40 eateries spread throughout the country.


The three partners started off as classmates in college, studying a Tech course, and decided to open a restaurant immediately after graduating back in 2007. They were driven by the fact that nor a single restaurant in the area, specialized in fresh and organic food. Little did they know that this would grow to become a trademark of one of the best eateries in the area. They were further motivated when the restaurant managed to run even when students were on vacation, and when the campus was empty.


The business would, of course, not be as successful as it is now, without superior and strong strategies. For instance, each year, the head offices close up to five times and those working there are expected to serve in the various eateries spread across the country, just to get close to the customer, and to get to know what the needs of the clients are. To add to this, the company has no specific headquarters. This is because, according to Ru, they are looking to decentralize their corporate work, and avoid being biased towards one specific area. For this reason, the owners are bicoastal and work to grow the chain of restaurants in every part of the nation.


To fulfill their objective to avoid food wastage, the company gets foods that the farmers have, rather than just asking for a crop. This way, all the food produced by farmers would get to be used. Apart from that, this strategy enables clients of Sweetgreen to enjoy foods they may have never tasted before. Ru gives an instance of the broccoli leaves that the firm serves at times. A farmer in Salinas supplies the vegetables. He got the deal after Ru visited his farm, and found out that the broccoli leaves were being returned to the ground after the fruits had been harvested. The farmer stated that this was so, because nobody cared to eat the veggies.


About Nathaniel Ru

Ru believes that people should take food that fits. It is this belief that compelled him to start Sweetgreen, even after graduating with a degree that doesn’t relate to it. In addition to this, he started sweetlife, an annual food festival that has grown to become one of the biggest in the region. Over 20,000 people attend the festival, including renowned chefs and popular music celebrities.

The Story Behind the Success of National Fast Food Restaurant Chain, Sweetgreen

Jonathan Neman, Nathaniel Ru, and Nicholas Jammet started Sweetgreen restaurant three months after graduating from Georgetown University and grew it into a national fast food outlet. Today, every student at the university knows the local Georgetown restaurant that is one of 64 national locations in the U.S.


In 2007, the three college friends and colleagues decided to open a restaurant during their fourth year after they realized that there an unexploited niche in the local fast food market. Their restaurant would offer healthy food that was affordable to both the students and residents.


Starting Sweetgreen

After writing their business plan, the three opened their first restaurant despite their inexperience in entrepreneurship and the food industry. However, they used any local resource that was available to them at the time from talking to other restaurant owners to seeking help from their college faculty. They also applied what they had learned so far in their restaurant, and it paid off.


Sweetgreen relies on five key values: “Win, win, win,” “Add the sweet touch,” “Make an impact,” “Think sustainably,” and “keep it real.” These values influence the daily operation of the company, its business decisions, how it celebrates successes, and who it hires. The three founders are keen on offering quality services, healthy food, developing practical solutions for their customers, and making an impact in the local community.


Community Service

Sweetgreen launched the “Sweetgreen in Schools” community program to educate children on the essence of proper nutrition and living healthily. The program runs several workshops and has seen the participation of an impressive 20,000 kids. Sweetgreen also uses music to reach its customers and organizes a festival of food and music every year. Nathaniel, Jonathan, and Nicholas say they plan to remain actively involved in the Georgetown community for years to come.


Nathaniel Ru

Nathaniel Ru is a co-CEO and co-founder of Sweetgreen – a successful fast food chain restaurant started in Georgetown. During his final year in college, Nathaniel and his two friends, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman, realized that there was a need to have a restaurant that served fresh and healthy food in the community.


Today, Nathaniel co-runs the company from New York. He also serves as the principal of SWTLF Ventures and has invested in several ventures including LOLA, EatPops, Bond Street, and MeUndies. Nathaniel is active in all Sweetgreen’s philanthropic and community service programs.