Who is Nathaniel Ru? He’s a man that believes that everything one does, should last longer than the person who did it. Literally. Ru is a ringleaders of healthy foods and those foods being fun to eat. That’s right! Out of a 560 square foot tavern, Ru and his friends started an eatery in the place on M Street. That was three months after they had graduated from Georgetown.
Now, Ru and his friends (specifically Nicolas Jamet and Jonathan Neman) have a 64 store farm to table style chain of restaurants called Sweetgreen. Essentially an American fast and casual group of restaurants serving healthy food, Sweetgreen has store fronts in California, the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia. There are reportedly over 1,700 employees with the company. It has been declared that legacy restaurants should want to look like Sweetgreen, if they start from scratch.
Ru has a unique was in which he finds the right foods, crafts the company’s service design and how customers can enjoy an array healthy foods – not just kale. One thing Ru credits to his opening so many stores is analysis of the demographics where the stores are planned to go up. This is all part of the real estate strategy behind Sweetgreen. In fact, Ru himself admitted that how they entered the market was just as important as how many stores they opened.
Ru opened Sweetgreen’s first storefront in New York right at 28th and Broadway in a neighborhood known for being increasing help conscious – New York’s famed NoMad neighborhood. Many new media and tech companies are together in the neighborhood as well.
Ru, who was guest speaker at The Wharton Marketing Conference, recently said that turning their business into such a booming one was due to persistence to get a meeting with their landlord at the time to even open the first store. In just three and half weeks, Ru and his friends had put together a three piece plan to build the store. The persistence and teamwork paid off.
As Ru himself put it: The growth of the Sweetgreen company has allowed Sweetgreen to be not just a restaurant company, but a lifestyle brand as well.