While seniors at the Georgetown University, Nathaniel and his two friends, now business partners, found it difficult getting eating places that were “easy and fun” in addition to being healthy. During their search, they came across a small tavern in the center of downtown M Street, which coincidentally was owned by their apartment’s building landlord within the same area they lived.
Excited Ru called his landlord and explained his plan, but she hung up on him. This never deterred him or his friends, and they persisted in calling the landlord daily for a month before finally agreeing to have face-to-face talk with them. Unfortunately, their business plan did not go as planned, but the landlord saw something in them. The three young men were determined to make something of their own and took a chance on them. She advised them to find an architect, some investors, and a real plan.
Less than a month later, Nathaniel and his friends did as instructed and came back to start their company Sweetgreen which now has opened stores in Boston, Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. Their food has consistently been healthy and fresh with a majority of their ingredients sourced locally from purveyors and farmers.
What Makes Sweetgreen Salads Great
The company’s approach to marketing is somewhat similar to Apple’s, as they say. It matters more why rather than what you are selling. Sweetgreen wanted to be sexy, social, local, and smart. That is exactly what they did. They also have a great juice line and throw music festivals each year. Nathaniel and his friends noted that “People do not buy what you do, they purchase the way that you do it.”
The beauty behind Sweetgreen salads is that not only is it healthy food but both reasonably priced and tasty. Unlike many other lunch salads, you don’t feel hungry less than an hour later after eating their food. Also to be noted, the friendly prices means that you can get a nourishing meal at roughly the same price as you would fries with a burger.
Nathaniel Ru’s Background
Nathaniel Ru attended the University of Georgetown McDonough Business School in 2003 where he graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Shortly after graduating, together with his two friends, also fresh graduates from Georgetown, established Sweetgreen. Mr. Ru serves as the Co Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the store chain.
Follow Nathaniel Ru on twitter.