A 95 Million Dollar Salad: The Story Of Nathaniel Ru and “Sweetgreen”

In 2007 Nathaniel Ru co-founder of “Sweetgreen” a fast-casual dining chain received a Bachelor’s of Science degree from McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. The son of entrepreneurs Ru wanted to establish a business that didn’t adhere to corporate norms.

Nathaniel Ru and his co-founders have established five core principles for “Sweetgreen”. Firstly, is “Win, win, win”. As Ru explains it, “Win, win, win” means that when “Sweetgreen” comes out a winner so should its customers and the communities in which the company operates.

Secondly, “Every decision you make should be for the long term. Everything you do should last longer than you.”

Thirdly, from the food to the employees conduct “keep it real”.

Fourth, employees should help to grow the business by doing whatever is necessary to keep the customers satisfied.

Fifth, make a positive impact.

The “Sweetgreen” story began with Nathaniel Ru and some compatriots searching for restaurants that served healthy foods. Unsuccessful, they cast-an-eye towards a tavern on Washington’s M Street. Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork

The tavern belonged to the women from whom Nathaniel Ru rented his apartment. When Ru and his friends pitched the idea of opening a health-oriented eatery in the tavern the landlady was unenthusiastic.

After a concerted effort to get the tavern owner to hear their idea, she finally agreed to meet with Ru and his friends. During the meeting, the landlord was presented with a three-page business plan. The plan outlined the establishment of a restaurant that was to be called “Greens”.

Still skeptical of the potential success of such an eating establishment she offered Ru and his associates some business advice. She told them to find some investors and an architect. With those tasks finished they were to present her with a more professional business plan. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: http://www.thehoya.com/nathaniel-ru-jonathan-neman-and-nicolas-jammet/

In less than a month Ru and his team accomplished all that the landlord had asked of them. Against all logic and apparently still harboring reservations, she put her faith in a group of college seniors with no experience as restaurateurs.

Her leap-of-faith made possible the founding of “Sweetgreen”. With Ru as its Co-Chief Executive Officer, “Sweetgreen” has grown into a chain of 27 farm-to-table eateries. With stores covering the width of the US. “Sweetgreen” has more than 1,700 employees and purchases healthy seasonal foods from local farmers and providers.

The healthy restaurant about which Nathaniel Ru’s former landlord harbored such doubt is currently worth 95 million dollars.

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