When Nathaniel Ru and his friends were in their senior year at Georgetown University, they had a hard time finding a healthy eatery. They were looking for a place that was “fun and easy” and that’s when the idea of starting such a place was born. They eyed the 560-square foot tavern located downtown on M street.
Challenges Ru and His Friends Faced Acquiring a Space
Nathaniel Ru spoke on “The New Era of Marketing: Globalization, Analytics, and Choice” Wharton Marketing Conference. He admitted getting a space was not easy for them, the tavern belonged the landlord of the building they lived. When Ru first contacted her telling her of their plans, she hung up on him.
The friends were persistent on calling her and after a month she agreed to meet and upon meeting she asked them to look for an architect, backers, and come up with a real plan. After three and a half weeks, the friends got an architect and backers.
Despite having no previous experience in running restaurant business, the landlord gave them a chance to try their concept. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: http://observer.com/2016/04/jobs-report-sweetgreen-co-founder-jonathan-neman-lives-the-sweet-life/
Doing Things Differently
Today, Sweetgreen has stores in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, all of which serve fresh and healthy foods. The eateries get their supplies from local farms and purveyors.
According to Sweetgreen’s Digital Marketer, Theresa Dold who was also speaking at the conference, the restaurant focuses more on answering “why” than “what”. Their marketing takes the concept of telling customers of the problems they will solve before telling them their products.
Values Running Sweetgreen
Ru said Sweetgreen is based on five basic core values. The first is the “win, win, win” idea whereby the customer, the community, and the company are at stake. Any business decision made should benefit all three. The second is making “sustainable” and long term decisions. This ensures that everything you do lasts longer than you. The third is “keeping it real” whereby everything ranging from source of food to employees demeanor needs to be authentic.
The fourth value is adding “sweet touch” which would make employees give 110% to the customers. This would prompt the customers to invite their friends hence achieving a marketing strategy. The last value is making an impact and they achieve by ensuring they all report to work every day.
About Nathaniel Ru
Nathaniel Ru is a co-founder of Sweetgreen, together with his friends and college mates at Georgetown University. Today, what started as a fast casual seasonal kitchen is a chain of restaurants serving fresh and healthy foods.
The restaurant has over 27 branches in six states and every branch focus on local sourcing of ingredients and sustainability. Nathaniel Ru has a degree in Finance from McDonough School of Business where he graduated in 2007.