Every student in Georgetown knows Sweetgreen all too well for they get post-workout snacks or quick lunches in between their classes from them. That was not the case however, six years ago as only its founders made the only Hoyas who knew about Sweetgreen. The founders included Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet and Nathaniel Ru (all MSB ’07).The trio engaged in discussions at the start of their final year about the limited choices for affordable and healthy food around Georgetown. The trio then bonded due to a number of reasons: food, desire to start something and lastly wanting to find a solution to a problem in their lives. They then laid out the vision and came up with a business plan. The trio however, did not have any past experience despite them having successful entrepreneurs for parents.
As much as they had no experience on how to build a business or the food industry, it turned out to be a key advantage to the success of Sweetgreen. It gave them the freedom to approach any problem with fresh eyes. Their initial space on the M street proved to be small with only 500 square feet but that did not deter the trio. They opted to think in a creative manner and focus on the things they would not do without. This led to their commitment to use quality ingredients and sustainability. They also sought advice from architects, restaurant owners and the Georgetown faculty. Their business classes became beneficial as they learnt how important a value-driven business is and how a community’s culture can influence a certain brand. The trio are glad that Georgetown is still emphasizing on service importance and the far the school has grown especially in the entrepreneurship program. They have also made sure they have incorporated community service in their company through a program dubbed “Sweetgreen in Schools” that was launched in 2010. The program seeks to enlighten children on healthy living and nutrition.
Nathaniel graduated from Georgetown University with a BS Finance in 2007 from the McDonough School of Business. It is in the same year that Nathaniel and his two other friends and co-founders founded Sweetgreen, a fast seasonal and casual kitchen that focuses a lot on sustainability and local sourcing. Sweetgreen was started in Georgetown area and has since grown to about 27 branches spread across six states. The company had plans to expand to the West Coast area in 2015.
Sweetgreen firmly believes in offering customers with food that can fit their budget, values, taste, community and imagination. In a bid to boost sales, Nathaniel Ru and these two co-founders opted to start a food and music festival, Sweetlife, which is the hugest festival in the region. This event brings about 20,000 attendees and involves high class artists, top chefs, food trucks, local vendors and farmers.