Nathaniel Ru is one of a trio of co-founders behind the work being done at the high-end salad chain, Sweetgreen. Founded over a decade ago, Sweetgreen has grown into one of the most prominent and high-potential restaurant chains in the country.
Blending analytics with an honest and healthy approach to food has given the Sweetgreen team some very real credit in the industry.
Sweetgreen is now on the verge of going national, leaving behind their solely Northeastern roots, and that deserves a closer look and some examination for the team guiding them to this point. Let’s talk about Nathaniel Ru and how his hands-on approach to management has changed the direction of the company.
We can trace the success of Sweetgreen back to the humble origins of the company. Sweetgreen was founded by a trio of students who had been attending Georgetown University together. Nicolas Lammet, Jonathan Nieman and Nathaniel Ru had all met and gotten to know each other during a class on entrepreneurship at Georgetown.
Over time they began to put together the concept that would eventually become known as Sweetgreen. Their goal had been to put something together that was healthy, filling, and fitting for the crowd that they wanted to attract: hungry college students that were always out and about and on the go.
The trio of students workshopped the idea until they were comfortable with approaching a potential establishment to host their first building, an old tavern located on M Street.
When Ru decided to lead his team to the M Street location he did so knowing full well that it was a long shot to acquire a lease. After all, Ru and his team were barely a month out of Georgetown and as fresh-faced as graduates tend to be. Read more: Nathaniel Ru | Dynamic Dialogues
It took persistence on the part of Ru and his team in order to get the landlord to accept a sit-down meeting to discuss their goals. For a wonder, the landlord was receptive and gave them the opportunity to put together a real business plan complete with backers. If the Sweetgreen team could make that happen, they would have the location of their dreams.
Now, years later, we can see that Sweetgreen was more than just fortuitous, they were prepared. Sweetgreen brought with them an approach to food that hadn’t been attempted by other entry-level startups.
Sweetgreen focused on the tech side of things while embracing being as healthy as possible. The result? A farm-to-table startup that was embraced by the younger generation.