When Nathanial Ru was in his senior year he had difficulties finding a healthy place to eat. Six years later he founded a restaurant chain called sweetgreen with his friends. The landlord of the space they wanted to use saw something special in the three men and told them if they could devise a real plan and locate an architect they should come back. Three weeks later they came back and were given their chance. The chain has expanded to Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston with healthy and fresh food coming from local farmers whenever possible. Nathanial Ru makes certain every store lives up to the company’s core values and serves their community. The five core values have been posted in the kitchens of every sweetgreen.
The business found their key move in 2009 and began playing music right outside the stores on Saturdays and Sundays. The connection of music and food was emotional and led to a music and food experience next to the farmers market where they purchased a great deal of their food. Every time they hosted the festival more people attended until there were 20,000 people including farmers, food trucks, and food purveyors. This helped establish a lifestyle brand for sweetgreen. The company has a lot to offer including a mobile app, a program that teaches about healthy eating, and cross-promotions involving yoga classes, fitness clubs, and gyms. Their employees will hurry to open the door for a mom with too much to carry, offer sweetgreen umbrellas in the rain, and cover bicycle seats with shower caps to keep them dry when it rains. Sweetgreen hires good people for their employees and treats them well.
Nathanial Ru is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business in Georgetown University. The first location of sweetgreen was in Georgetown and relied on local sourcing and sustainability. Nathanial Ru strongly believes every community deserves a restaurant that serves delicious food, is eco-friendly, healthy, and offers an option for dining. He feels food has to fit your values, tastes, budget, community, and imagination. Nathanial Ru along with his partners launched sweetlife in 2010. The event has become the biggest festival for food and music in the region. The artists are high profile and always on the cutting edge. Food is available from food trucks, top chefs, farmers, and local purveyors. Nathanial Ru’s festival is the embodiment of sustainability, community, well-being, good living, and health.
Connect with Nathaniel Ru on LinkedIn.