Nathaniel Ru is one of the most interesting CEOs in the restaurant industry right now. His company, Sweetgreen, has become almost iconic over the past ten years thanks to its unique approach to melding the food industry and technology into one concept.
Nathaniel Ru, along with a pair of other CEOs, have been steadily turning Sweetgreen into the last stop for high-quality, organic, locally sourced salads-on-the-go. Despite the incredibly specific niche, the company has exploded with growth over the past ten years. Let’s take a moment to learn a little bit about Nathaniel Ru, Sweetgreen, and what makes the whole thing work so darn well.
Nathaniel Ru was attending Georgetown University when the concept of Sweetgreen first came to him. Well, to be more accurate — the concept came to Ru and a pair of classmates. The trio of students, including Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, all brainstormed until they came to their ultimate idea: a fast-food, high quality salad chain named ‘Greens’.
This idea would be tweaked over their time at school before it eventually morphed into the Sweetgreen that we know of today. The trio of students became co-CEOs of the company and managed to hit the ground running in August of 2007 despite all of the odds being stacked against them. Read more: Nathaniel Ru | Crunchbase and Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork
For the Sweetgreen team, the goal was always to put together an idea that brought a semblance of healthy eating back tot he menu for students and people on the go. As a result, their first location would be opened on M Street with the goal being to cater to these students.
The first test for Ru and his fellow Co-CEOs was to survive during summer and winter breaks. If Sweetgreen could shoulder the burden of these down-periods, the team knew that they would have something special going on. Sweetgreen did survive those down times and the company is something special.
The success of Sweetgreen is due in large part to Ru’s team focusing on melding different attitudes. From the beginning, Sweetgreen’s goal was to be health-focused and forward thinking. This led Ru to focus on developing local production for ingredients while focusing also on a digital/internet application.
Now, nearly a third of all Sweetgreen orders are made online before customers ever approach the store. Ru’s team is continuing their expansion across the country and the sky is the limit for the team working at Sweetgreen.