Sweetgreen is one of the most peculiar new restaurant companies around and there are many reasons as to why. First of all, their menu is entirely dedicated to nothing but salads and juice drinks – while this might sound rather boring one must really see the sumptuous and myriad different, nearly endless, choices of different kinds of salads that one can choose from. In addition to all of this, Sweetgreen gets all of its material and produce from local farms establishments which means that there are no GMOs or odd sprays or chemicals to the produce which greatly appeals to the Green crowd.
But despite how good the service of the company it instantly strikes one as highly unlikely that such a outfit – a place that serves only salads and juice drinks – could turn out to be one of the most promising independent food groups out there. So how did they do it? To answer that question we must look to the Nathaniel Ru, the co founder and co executive chief of Sweetgreen. Ru, a young and up-and-coming New Yorker who graduated from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2007 with a bachelors degree in Finance, one might have thought he’d have become a stockbroker but his interests turned far more towards the culinary.
In various public interviews Mr. Ru describes some of the methodologies, reasoning and practices behind his companies success. He notes that one of the primary things which set Sweetgreen apart from any other company was the deep connection he helped foster between the food of the company and music. One of the ways they accomplished this, other than through the obvious venues of social media, which they work extensively with, was to begin hosting numerous music festivals at local farmers markets, the first of which they hosted at Dupont Circle, a prime retail area in Washington. Almost no one showed up but Ru kept pushing the idea and kept on organizing. In short order the festivals grew a impressive audience until recently, over 20,000 people showed up which is quite a feat for an outfit with only a handful of people offering salads. Currently, the Sweetgreen music festivals are referred to as Sweetlife festivals and are the single most successful of all such gatherings in the entire Washington area.
Follow Nathaniel Ru on twitter @nathanielru.