Sweetgreen is a casual fast food restaurant that specializes in salads and frozen yogurt, which attracted the attention of investors like Steve Case, Danny Meyer, and Daniel Boulud. Sweetgreen is the classic start-up business and found its niche in preparing healthy, fresh and organic salads, at reasonable prices.
Three Georgetown University students, Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman, after they took a class on how to be an entrepreneur, had a simple idea that people like good food, and saw a market for eating options that are healthy, and co-founded Sweetgreen.
In 2007, Nathaniel Ru, raised in Pasadena, California attended the McDonogh School of Business and was awarded a B.S. in Finance from Georgetown University. The McDonogh School started the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative in 2009. In the Fall of 2015, the co-founder went to the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day and discussed Sweetgreen. Thus, it is clear that Nathaniel Rue and the other co-founders had an excellent introduction to entrepreneurship before the Initiative was formerly developed.
Sweetgreen’s first location was Georgetown and at the end of 2014 had 27 locations and in six states. As of today, Sweetgreen has 70 locations in seven states plus the District of Columbia.
Sweetgreen’s food “ethos” are,
- a) scratch cooking, in that food in prepared on the premises and prepared fresh,
- b) transparency, in that Sweetgreen works with at lease 500 farmers and the sources of food are listed on the walls of the restaurants,
- c) sustainability, in that Sweetgreen values waste management and to have a positive impact on the food system,
- d) local sourcing, in that Sweetgreen works with trusted local farmers, and
- e) food safety, in that Sweetgreen only prepares locally grown food and trains its employees in food safety.
Ru and the co-founders leveraged their business success with Sweetgreen. In 2010, they launched Sweetlife which is a music, and food festival, a spin-off of Sweetgreen. The festival featured top chefs, food trucks, farmers, and independent food product sales. The Sweetlife events attract up 20,000 people.
What sets off Sweetgreen from its competers is the way it practices its entrepreneurship. In other words, people are more interested in how the business does what it does and not just eating at a salad bar. The idea of the festival is consistient with Ru and his partners out of the box representations of Sweetgreens’ values. In Sweetgreen’s D.C. store, it promotes fitness clubs and holds yoga classes in store.