Nathaniel Ru and some college classmates from Georgetown founded Sweetgreen, which was intended to be a place that serves healthy food that is considered to be a “fun and easy” restaurant. Sweetgreen has become a chain restaurant present in several locations throughout the U.S.
When the group was looking for a venue, the landlady of their first location was very clear that she would agree to rent the building to them if the group developed and presented her a concrete business plan backed by investors and a sound architectural plan.
After some weeks of planning, Ru and his partners able to come up with a business plan, and with time, the restaurant became a franchise with restaurants in Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The ingredients and food used by Sweetgreen restaurants are almost always bought from local farmers.
Theresa Dold, in charge of Sweetgreen marketing, who spoken alongside Ru at conferences, is a believer that Sweetgreen should feature the same simplicity in their product as Apple was able to integrate into their products. Dold once stated:
“People do not buy what you do. They buy the way that you do it.”
Ru backs up Dold’s position and makes sure that all Sweetgreen locations follow their 5 values, which can be viewed in every Sweetgreen kitchen. Ru feels that every Sweetgreen stakeholder, specifically suppliers, customers, as well as the restaurants, should all benefit. Ru is a sustainability advocate – and once stated that “Every decision you make should be for the long term. Everything you do should last longer than you.”
Ru clearly understands that Sweetgreen must be realistic in considering its authenticity. The sweet element of Sweetgreen must come from employees, which generates word of mouth marketing. Ru emphasizes the importance of teamwork and says that this is the factor that makes Sweetgreen successful.
Sweetgreen has created a connection of music to their food. On Saturdays and Sundays, Sweetgreen features outdoor music in front of stores where this is possible. In addition, Sweetgreen features a yearly event, which is located beside a farmer’s market called “sweetlife”, which usually draws a crowd of approximately 20 thousand people.
Sweetgreen has the primary focus of connecting with the student crowd and teach them about healthy eating. Sweetgreen has an app that allows its customers to build up points and also features status levels that characterize the fidelity of clients, who in turn, collect benefits
Nathaniel Ru uses the strategy of partnering with other businesses that are also in the healthy lifestyle sector. Some partnership examples are yoga classes, gyms and fitness clubs. This generates business results for both sides.
Nathaniel Ru employs the strategy of forming store teams with relatives of existing employees as well as friends to form the strongest teams and the best results possible. This is to provide the best customer experience. Ru is an advocate of the digital age, where he believes that personal marketing is still the very best type.
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