Community Focused Approach Is The Recipe To Success For Sweetlife’s Nathaniel Ru

July 3, 2017Business, Entrepreneur, Food, Vegetarian, Veggies Standard

Nathaniel Ru, along with Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, opened the first Sweetgreen restaurant after graduating from Georgetown University. Their focus was providing customers with the best food possible. The company’s innovative use of technology and unconventional management strategies have set them apart from traditional chains, while a commitment to sustainability has earned them a loyal following across their 40 locations. Learn more:


From the beginning, it was important to Ru and his colleagues to create a brand with integrity. A big part of that was staying true to their customers, so five times a year Ru and cooperate employees leave the office to work in Sweetgreen restaurants. Something else that sets the chain apart from its competitors is that the company runs without corporate headquarters, operating from offices in Los Angeles while the co-CEOs are bicoastal. Technology is another way Sweetgreen is making an impact in the industry by increasing efficiency and enhancing the customer experience. Customers can order and pay in advance through the company’s website or mobile app. Instead of standing in long lines, they can simply walk in and pick up their food. Digital orders now make up 30% of Sweetgreen sales. Learn more:


Before Sweetgreen launched, Ru had little experience in business and even less knowledge of the food industry. For many businesses, inexperience can translate into disaster, but Ru and his co-founders saw an opportunity to approach the industry with a fresh perspective. Their focus is to provide the customer with an elevated experience and to serve the community around them. Ultimately, this unorthodox approach has played a pivotal role in the success of the company. Learn more:


For Example, when the second Sweetgreen location opened in 2009, it struggled to attract customers. Where some people saw failure, Ru and his co-founders saw an opportunity to provide potential customers with an experience. They used music as a way to connect their food with people. They brought their food and music to the parking lot of a local farmer’s market. Their strategy was such a success that the company now holds a regional music festival every year called “Sweetlife.”


Ru understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to success. Each location reflects local tastes and the company is committed to sourcing food from regional farmers. It is this approach which has allowed Ru and his colleagues to build a lifestyle brand, rather than a fast food chain. Learn more: