Nathaniel Ru Wants His Restaurant Chain To Stand For More Than Just His Ideas

Nathaniel Ru likely never imagined what his middle of DC restaurant was going to become years later, but one thing is for sure that his passion and commitment to promoting healthy eating and helping people fit in remains the same.

He and his friends Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman are all owners of Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain with a cheap menu but high quality in what they produce. They’ve desired for their restaurant to be more than just another place you grab your order and leave. They want it to be known for being extra welcoming and giving people a great social circle to be a part of.

Sweetgreen was started back in 2007 as part of a business class project Ru and his two friends were engaged in. They all came from immigrant families who had started businesses upon moving to the states, and they intended to follow similar paths upon graduating from Georgetown University.

They found their angle when they started looking at the dining options around campus and felt there was a real lack of healthy eating. So they rented out a little space where they set the restaurant up, and once they had it going through the slow winter months, they knew it could keep going.

Sweetgreen wasn’t without its financial difficulties. Once when Ru and his fellow owners attempted to open another location at a DC strip mall, the crowds didn’t come in the numbers they had hoped and they started losing money. But they weren’t about to let that sink their franchise. Read more: Nathaniel Ru | Dynamic Dialogues and  Sweetgreen Entreprenuers | Fortune

It gave them an idea to start bringing live music to their restaurant which started appealing to passersby, and from there they ran the Sweetlife Music Festival. That festival is not currently running, but Ru says something even bigger could be coming down the road.

Ru, Jammet and Neman have traveled not only to elementary schools to share tips to children about healthy eating, but they also show college students how they can get similar business ideas going. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru:

Right now they all live in Los Angeles where they primarily manage a Sweetgreen in Venice Beach, but they will travel around the nation to work in the kitchens of other restaurant branches. One thing Ru and his friends pride themselves in is running their company entirely out of the corporate norms.