No one would have thought that three graduates from George Town University in D.C would have turned their problem into a big business that has helped many people in the country.
Nathaniel Ru and his two other friends had trouble finding healthy food and salad to eat while studying at the university. Three months after graduation, the trio set out to start a 560 square foot restaurant or a tavern.
After six years, their small restaurant has become a big chain of restaurants named Sweetgreen offering farm to table salads that many people queue to get. Getting a rental space to establish their dream restaurant was big trouble. Ru recalls calling the Landlord uncountable number of times before the landlord agreed to meet with them for a face to face meeting. The business plan was well established, and at the time, the trio thought of calling their restaurant the “Greens.”
Ru believes that the chance that the landlady gave them was a blessing. She might have done it without adequately considering that the three were university seniors with no restaurant experience but they used the chance very well. She may have seen the spark in their eyes and their deep determination. Read more: Sweetgreen | Wikipedia and Nathaniel Ru | Crunchbase
Today Sweetgreen has stores in New York, D.C, Boston, and Philadelphia. Their food has continued to be contagiously health. The restaurant buys ingredients from local farmers and purveyors.
According to Theresa Dold who is the head of Digital marketing at Sweetgreen, the restaurant is not just a place to buy food but as a why company, it was started with a more profound purpose of giving people healthy lives. The founders likened Sweetgreen to Apple in that both companies think of “why” before going to “what.”
Sweet green takes the same approach when marketing itself. It aims at being smart, social, sexy and local. The restaurant has a great line of juices not to mention that Sweetgreen throws a music festival every year.
According to Dold, people do not buy what you do but how you do it. Sweetgreen created a connection between food and music after they moved to a new location and got no customers for two weeks. They decided to establish an emotional connection using music festivals. The music festival which is today called sweetlife is the largest music and food fest in the region that attracts 20, 000 people.
Sweetgreen takes care of the customers by opening doors for them, giving them umbrellas when it rains and covering their bicycle seats with Sweetgreen shower caps. When hiring, the restaurant uses snowball effect. They hire the best to offer outstanding services.
Nathaniel Ru is a graduate of George Town University McDonough School of business. He graduated with BS in Finance. In 2007, Ru and two other graduates from the same university started Sweetgreen.
Nathaniel and his partners wanted a restaurant that provided people with healthy options at affordable price. He was featured by Forbes magazine as one of the 30 under 30 leaders to watch in the field of food and wine industry.