Sweetgreen is a salad chain that was launched in Washington D.C. in 2007. The now popular salad chain was started by an unlikely group of recent college graduates. One of these is Nathaniel Ru. Mr. Ru serves as one of the two chief executive officers at Sweetgreen. The management model of Sweetgreen is unique. It has two CEOs who oversee company operations in two separate parts of the country.
The business model of Sweetgreen is also unique. Co-founder and co-CEO Nathaniel Ru says that when his chain is looking into expanding into a new area, they take great care in the opening of a store. Mr. Ru states that how Sweetgreen enters a new market is just as important if not more important where they open. Of course, Nat Ru says that they go into demographic analysis and neighborhood analysis.
Sweetgreen says Nathaniel Ru is now increasingly looking at trying to gain weekend and dinner traffic. He says that he wants people to realize that Sweetgreen is not only a healthy lunch option anymore. This should give Sweetgreen an added edge over competitors such as Chipotles and MOD Pizza.
So enough about the business and corporate strategies of Sweetgreen. What is it actually like to be at one? What do they serve? You can describe SweetGreen as a sort of like an Apple retail store, except that it serves food. It is clean, spacious and the team members greet you with a smile on their face. Sweetgreen serves salads that can be customized. As in Chipotles, you approach a buffet of sorts and you custom create your own salad.
A team member guides you through the entire process. Sweetgreen recently changed from a conveyor belt approach, to a single team member guiding the customer from start to finish with their food order. Co-CEO Nathaniel Ru says that this is a more time consuming and laborious process, but it makes the orders more accurate. That is ultimately more important to the customer and Sweetgreen.
Before setting up shop in a new location, Sweetgreen management meets with local farmers in the area. They see what they are growing and try to incorporate it into the salads they will serve to people in the region. Instead of placing special orders, Sweetgreen can use the produce already grown. This drastically cuts costs for Sweetgreen, encourages people to try new vegetables, and helps local farmers stay in business. It is also good for the environment, as incorporating local foods really cuts down on deliveries and the pollution associated with that.