One of the most popular and growing restaurant chains in the country today is Sweetgreens. The company today has over locations across the United States, including locations on the east coast, California, Chicago, and Denver. While the company has grown considerably in the past few years, it does have very humble roots.
The first Sweetgreens store opened in 2009. It was founded by three college friends that were nearing the end of their education at Georgetown University. While they were studying for tests one day, the three came to the conclusion that the area was underserved by healthy casual restaurant options. They soon started talking more in depth and came up with the concept of Sweetgreens, which started as a salad bar concept.
Shortly after building the idea, the three met with a landlord of an open retail space in the Georgetown area. After hearing the business plan, which included showing that they had the ability to raise capital for the build out and startup of the first store, the three entrepreneurs were granted approval to open their first location. The first store was an immediate success with Georgetown students and other people in the Washington DC area. Within a year, the company was already looking to expand into other areas of the city and has since spread all over the country.
While Sweetgreens started as a salad bar concept, it has grown into something much greater. Today, it is considered one of the most high-tech restaurants in the country. They have a very effective mobile app and website that allows for online ordering. Today, more than a third of total sales are through the online application. The company is also known for its top customer service, which is an initiative set forth at the top of the company.
While many businesses started by young adults end up splitting up, Sweetgreens has continued to be led by the same three individuals, which are Nathaniel Ru and his two partners. Today, all three of them share the title of co-CEO even though they have started to have different responsibilities based on each owner’s skill set. Nathaniel Ru has been very involved in working with investors, financiers, media, and other interested parties. This has helped him to assist in the growth of the company by raising capital and finding new locations.