UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2nd
The Breakthrough of Sweetgreen Under Nathaniel Ru’s Astute Management
Nathaniel Ru in conjunction with two of his friends upon taking their first entrepreneurial step, decide to give the food industry a shot. Together they came up with the idea of a restaurant that would serve people fresh farm products taken directly from the farm. They discovered while in college how hard it is to come across hotels that offer new and healthy foods. The few that were present did not put in hard work towards improving their surrounding and mode of delivery.
When Nathaniel Ru and his friends decided to give the food industry a try, They had an intention of bringing prestige into a field that had been sidelined by many as boring. These experiences led to the birth of Sweetgreen. It is a food chain that has presently gained a lot of popularity. The firm is set up in the neighborhoods of Georgetown University. Over time, it has managed to grow and now has up to forty outlets in different states in the US.
Like most businesses, the start was rough. Nathaniel and his friends had to devise a business plan and get a financial backup before starting their first enterprise. The three businessmen attribute their success to working hard, being focused and being passionate about their endeavor.
Presently, the company has grown to admirable heights. The growth is both in size and revenue. Nathaniel and his friends use two strategies in managing their company. They make sure to put in place policies that aid in management and marketing. The three do not agree with having a large headquarter for their business. In a bid to be able to reach their employees and customers effectively, they decided to break down their management structures and instead put in place regional offices.
In a financial year, Sweet Green closes its offices to ensure that its employees can get to meet directly with the clients. This happens annually on five different occasions. This mode of conducting the business has aided in promoting staff responsibility and ownership.
In as much as Sweetgreen is trying to expand its services to international platforms, most of its operations are localized. They deal with specific regions. Nathaniel avers that the reason many people are enthusiastic about their products is that they have taken time to understand the importance of a customer in a business like theirs. Theresa Dold who is in charge of the marketing department says that its how you do what you do that interests people.
In their senior year at the Georgetown University, Washington, D.C, Nathaniel Ru together with his friends found it very difficult to find a healthy place to eat fun and easy food. They figured out that by establishing an eatery at the M Street, they would provide many people with what was lacking in the market. As it turned out, the landlord of the lounge space they wanted to rent was the same owner of the apartment they lived in. Nathaniel Ru called her explaining of their intention, but she hung up on him. He did not give up but rather continued to call her each day for a month.
She eventually picked up and agreed to have a one on one talk with the three. Nathaniel Ru says that this was his first time to put on a suit for a business meeting. On the day of the meeting, the three carried with them a plan of activities which was barely three pages and one page of the financial plan. They intended to call the place greens. The landlord had seen a twinkle in the vision of the three finalists. She asked them to look for an architect and someone who can support their idea and come back with a proper business plan. In three weeks, they had found the architect and backers.
Speaking at the Wharton Marketing conference, Nathaniel Ru said that he grateful that his landlord agreed to help them despite the fact that they did not have prior knowledge or experience with restaurants. Sweetgreen was started in 2007 and has up to date expanded to serve people not only around the Georgetown University but to serve residents of New York, Boston, Philadelphia as well as Washington. The head of the digital marketing of Sweetgreens Theresa Dold likens the company to Apple. She says that the founders asked themselves “why” before “what”. Just like the Apple Company, Sweetgreens want to promote its items in a sexy, smart and local way.
In every year, Sweetgreens throws a music festival in which they showcase their products among them a line of juices. Nathaniel Ru noted that the most fulfilling result comes from those stores where the team have been together longer. For this reason, he and his partners are dedicated to giving the customers and the employees as well, a pleasant experience. For instance, at one particular time, the company was engaged in planning a wedding for two workers. The gestures is not easy to forget.
Follow him on LinkedIn and @nathanielru