Over the past 10 years, one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the country has been Sweetgreens. This company was started by three college friends while they were still in school at Georgetown University. The three students came up with the concept when they were discussing how there were very few fast casual and healthy lunch options for students that wanted to dine near campus. By the time they graduated, they had formulated a detailed plan for the first Sweetgreens location, which is a salad-bar concept restaurant and provides diners with an affordable, healthy, and convenient lunch option.
While the company started out as a small, one-location, restaurant, it has grown considerably over the past few years. The restaurant chain has raised a lot of interest and capital and outside investors, which has allowed it to grow to a chain of over 40 locations across the northeast United States and California. One of the big differences between Sweetgreens and other restaurant chains is how it chooses locations.
Sweetgreens has often focused on finding locations that would not be considered by other larger chains that are looking to capitalize on the professional lunch rush. The company looks for locations that are located in trendy neighborhoods that have a population of residents, but also have some professionals in the area. This allows each location to capitalize on a standard lunch rush, but will also provide the location with demand at night and on the weekends.
Unlike other chains, the company also has a higher focus on technology. The company has developed a very popular mobile application. Between the application and online sales, the company generates nearly a third of its revenue online, most of which will come from pre-ordering a fixed salad online. Customers like this due to the convenience and reduced amount of time they have to spend waiting in line.
While the company was founded by three friends, each of which shares the Co-CEO title, each of the three founders has had a different role in the company. Nathaniel Ru has continued to be a focused leader for the company and has handled a variety of important tasks, including raising capital, talking with the press, and promoting the company.