Nathaniel Ru Of Sweetgreen Discusses The Rise Of His Sweetgreen Business

The story of Sweetgreen begins with a trio of college seniors from Georgetown University. They are Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman. While in college, they often found that there was a lack of a place to eat healthy foods in an easy and fun manner. This gave them the idea to start their own restaurant which would eventually be called Sweetgreen.

The chain has a very interesting beginning and one that is typical of many American success stories. While studying at Georgetown University, the three students were renting an apartment from a landowner that was also the owner of a 560-foot tavern that they coveted to launch their own restaurant venture.

After daily calls, Nathaniel Ru and his friends managed to convince the landowner to give them a shot and let them lease her property to start a business.

The original proposed name for their restaurant was Greens. They eventually changed the name to Sweetgreen because they believe that everything you do should be done in a sweet manner. What Ru means by sweet a manner is that the service at Sweetgreen’s should be polite and courteous. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru:

Sweetgreen’s specialty is that it serves fresh and healthy foods that are made with local ingredients whenever possible. Eat fresh, eat local and eat healthy can be said to be a motto of Sweetgreen.

What started out as humble restaurant in D.C. has now expanded to well over 20 different restaurants in California, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Many major cities such as Boston, New York and Philadelphia have multiple Sweetgreen locations. The growth of Sweetgreen has led to some concern that the restaurant will just became another chain like Subway or Chipotles. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru:

To counter the idea that Sweetgreen is just another chain, the company is trying to make each location as unique and independent as possible says Nathaniel Ru. This includes incorporating local architecture and themes from the cities where each Sweetgreen restaurant is based. It also includes working with local farmers in the area.

In fact, Sweetgreen tries to source its ingredients from local farmers whenever possible to build a connection with the community that begins all the way in the farm fields, to the store and beyond.

Nathaniel Ru presently serves as one of the Co-CEOs of Sweetgreen. He graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor of science degree in finance while he and his partners were launching Sweetgreen in D.C. He is based in New York City and oversees the East Coast operations of Sweetgreen.

Sweetgreen and its founders

When the title says it all, nothing else is necessary. That’s certainly the case with Sweetgreen, an organic yet high-end salad chain which is run by three co-CEOs who met at Georgetown University.

In their senior year, Nathaniel Ru, Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet were taking an entrepreneurship class together, where they found a common ground – all three felt that the food choices in Georgetown and its vicinity were missing a variety of healthy options that were also fun, so after graduating college in 2007, that was their goal when opening a restaurant together.

Ru has said that they are, “creating a brand that stands for something,” and that they “want to feed more people better food”. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru:

In addition to being young, successful entrepreneurs, Sweetgreen’s co-CEOs are well-versed in technology, allowing thirty percent of Sweetgreens’s transactions to be made on its website or through an app. To do their own fieldwork and to make sure that everyone stays near the action, Ru, Neman, and Jammet also take five times a year to mostly shut down the corporate office.

Nathaniel Ru was born in Pasadena, California, on May 3, 1985. He graduated in 2007 from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and holds the position of one of the three co-CEOs of Sweetgreen. Together with two other graduates of Georgetown, Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, Ru started Sweetgreen in 2007.

The restaurant, Sweetgreen, is a casual kitchen that has local sourcing and an original location of the center of Georgetown. Since that humble beginning, Sweetgreen went to twenty-seven places in six different states, but the co-CEOs weren’t done – they expanded even further to the west coast.

In 2010, a mere three years after the opening of Sweetgreen, the business partners Ru, Neman and Jammet launched Sweetlife, which soon became the largest festival for food and music in the region. Sweetlife is a large event and easily brings in thousands of people in attendance as it features high-quality music in addition to top-notch food from renowned chefs.

Just like Sweetgreen, Sweetlife is a community location as well as leaving a small, gentle carbon footprint.

Read more: Nathaniel Ru | Crunchbase and Nathaniel Ru | Dynamic Dialogues

Nathaniel Ru’s Unique Strategy For Sweetgreen’s Unique Brand

To look at the immensely popular and successful salad chain, Sweetgreens one might very well pause and ask themselves how on earth a restaurant that serves absolutely nothing but salads and fruit beverages could possibly have picked up so much steam.

The answer to this question is to be found in the philosophy of its founders, Nathaniel Ru, Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, who had taken their brand in a decidedly peculiar direction.

Whereas most food chains focused on creating a catching jingle, a memorable mascot and getting the cheapest food products possible, Jammet, Neman and Ru decided to forgo the jingle and mascot and instead opt for direct store-to-farm produce acquisition. Instead of buying frozen produce and shipping it in through various mediators they decided to focus on improving the local small farm businesses by buying direct from Washington area farmers.

Not only did this move greatly benefit the local community via bolstering the financial health, stability and reputation of various local farms and farmers – thus, indirectly increasing interest and respect from the community at large – the move also cut out the middle-man and allowed the company to grow as a horizontally integrated entity.

In addition to Nathaniel Ru, Neman and Jammet’s peculiar marketing strategies was the idea to design, organize, book and host a music and produce festival called Sweetlife, sponsored, of course, by Sweetgreen. The Sweetlife festivals, the first of which took palce as early as 2011, functioned as a sort of fusion between the seemingly disparate worlds of music, healthy eating and communal festivity.

Though initially unsuccessful due their seeming strangeness, Nathaniel Ru persisted in holding the events in tandem with the growth of his and his partner’s company and soon Sweetlife was a smash hit success that was able to host the likes of such well known musical sensations as Kendrick Lamar, the ethereal and retro electronica artist Grimes and Blondie.

In this fashion of fusing local, organic, healthy produce, music, festival and slick, crisp and aesthetically appealing restaurant chains, Sweetgreen was able to become much more than just another trendy eatery; it became a lifestyle sensation.

One which continues to attract a great deal of attention to this day and looks as if it is poised for even larger leaps and bounds in the fast-paced world of the American food industry.

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