Nathaniel Ru was taking was attending Georgetown University when he was struck with the concept for a business. Okay, he collaborated with two other individuals during an entrepreneurship class and they eventually fell onto something that would later be known as Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen is a farm – to – table restaurant that is now located in all of the major cities in the Northeast. The goal of Sweetgreen was to provide nutritious, all natural, healthy meals for people who want to be more aware of what they are putting in their bodies.
Nathaniel Ru and his Sweetgreen co-founders could probably truthfully say that they were in the ‘right place at the right time’. As new graduates with no experience in business, Ru and his Sweetgreen co-founders were lucky to fall into places where people believed in them. Of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t work hard to get there. Ru and the group saw a 560 sq/ft empty tavern located on M Street and they knew that this would be where they started their first Sweetgreen restaurant. The problem? Well, the landlord probably rightly had no interest in renting out to a bunch of young adults. Still, they persisted and after enough phone calls they finally managed to secure a meeting. Ru says, “It was the first and last time I ever wore a suit to a business meeting.”
Needless to say, the meeting went well and within a month Sweetgreen had a slew of backers, an architect, and a business plan that looked good on paper. Ru says of this process, “We would never be able to do it that way again. The timing was just right.” And right he was, indeed. Soon the first Sweetgreen would be opening up and then a flurry of activity and energy would overtake the company. Now, years later, there are 21 different Sweetgreen locations in some of the biggest cities in the Northeast — including Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.
Success with Sweetgreen hasn’t stopped the team of founders from continuing to push the limit. Theresa Dold, co-founder and head of marketing, says: “Sweetgreen was started with a deeper purpose.” Dold goes on to liken Sweetgreen to the tech giant Apple, saying that they both live by their values and focus on ‘why’ over ‘what. With these aspirations and this early success in the fold we anticipate a long and successful run for Sweetgreen.
Follow Nathaniel Ru on twitter @natanielru.