As Nathaniel Ru and a few of his friends approached the end of their senior year at Georgetown University, they began searching for a solution to a common problem: finding healthy food. Fun eateries with nutritious offerings were few and far between, but that didn’t deter the group of hopeful fellas from reaching for something to be desired. They eyed an empty space not far from their own apartments and approached the landlord with a ridiculously short business plan in hopes that they might be able to persuade her that their brainchild, a farm-to-table eatery they called, “Greens,” was worth a chance. Believe it or, with a push from the landlady and a few edits and added pages to the business plan, Ru and his friends were in business. “Sweetgreen” was up and running and would soon attract the attention of some valuable investors who would help the team expand their college pipedream to 21 stores and counting, sprinkled across the most progressive cities in the Northwest and east.
Ru and his buddies had no idea that their business plans would amount to such success so quickly, but they’ve done their part in assuring that each eatery still adheres to their original values. For one, each restaurant is focused on providing customers with healthy, sustainable food options. The Sweetgreen team works hard to establish connections with local farms and food distributors to assure that many of their menu items are locally grown or harvested. They also work hard to make their restaurants a progressive environment. Customers are made to feel welcome and are given an extra dose of hospitality. They’ve even been known to host in-store yoga classes and an annual benefit festival.
Ru says that his passion lies in providing people with healthy food options. However, salad greens aren’t the only thing driving the success of this modern food mogul. Ru and his friends may have gotten some of their business savvy from an entrepreneurial class they took together at Georgetown. All of them are also descendants of first-generation immigrants parents who started their own businesses. But the mission of Ru isn’t an old-school one. In fact, he and his comrades have used their tech smarts to push the company’s online repertoire and app. This is where they do the majority of their sales. They’ve also embraced their fellow millennials who are looking for more than just a restaurant.