A writer from Tech Insider became an instant fan of Sweetgreen, when this fast-growing salad chain opened a new branch two blocks from his office. At first he was a little hesitant to jump into the bandwagon when his friends heaped superlatives about the restaurant. However, after his first try, he understood why people endure the long lines in the same way that obsessed customers line up for a new iPhone.
He said it was delicious, describing the wonderful combination of a tangy dressing over vibrant lettuce enhanced by great-tasting cheese crumbles. This Tech Insider threw his full support for Sweetgreen after realizing that he did not have the same experience with other restaurants that serve the same type of lunch salad, and that is not going hungry 45 minutes after eating.
Great tasting and reasonably priced healthy alternative to burger and fries made Sweetgreen an instant hit in four metropolitan areas. It started in Washington, DC in the year 2007. A few years later it expanded to New York, California, Boston, and Chicago.
Nathaniel Ru, the co-founder of Sweetgreen hatched the idea of developing a healthy eating option while he was still a student at Georgetown University. Ru a first generation immigrant shared the reason for the company’s astounding success, and he said that choosing the right location and timing the opening of a new branch are critical factors. He said the decision to open the first Sweetgreen store located at 28th and Broadway was due to the need to create a distinction, as well as to distance itself from other fast casual dining places that dotted New York’s 23rd street.
Ru pointed to Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s CEO as one of the business leaders he admired the most, and he said that a company should stand for something beyond products and services.
Without a doubt Ru like Under Armour’s business model, but a quick tour of Sweetgreen’s New York branches reminds first time visitors of an Apple store that succeeds in the seamless integration of top notch one-on-one service and cutting edge technology.
Those who wanted a more traditional approach to ordering their lunch salads stands in line for an average 15 minute wait period. When it is their turn to order, they will talk to a team member who will walk them through the whole process, which takes about two to three minutes to complete. It seems not a big deal to spend precious time in order to eat healthy. However, those who do not have the luxury of time can download the Sweetgreen app into their smartphones, they can order using the said app, skip the long lines, and go straight to a pick up area.
Ru said that everything you will see in a Sweetgreen store is the byproduct of service design – he said it is the combined effect of storytelling, technology, and store design for the purpose of selling a product in a personalized way without sacrificing quality and efficiency.
Mr. Ru co-founded Sweetgreen with fellow Georgetown alumni Nicholas Jammet and Jonathan Neman. He is the son of immigrants. He holds a BS in Finance degree from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Three months after his graduation from the said university, he and his friends created a startup that has now expanded into six states. In 2010, Ru, Jammet, and Neman launched Sweetlife, a music and food festival that attracts twenty thousand people. This is a testament to Ru’s belief that it is important to create food that fits your values, imagination, and community.