The fast-food industry has been put on notice, there is a new leader in town and they are fundamentally changing how things work. Nathaniel Ru, Jonathan Neman, and Nicolas Jammet are the three men behind the start-up, health-focused, fast food chain called Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen started out in Washington D.C. and quickly spread throughout the Northeastern portion of the United States, eventually racking up over 30 locations.
Now, Sweetgreen has their eyes on expanding and bringing their brand of healthy fast-food to the rest of the country. The reason for their success, outside of delivery delicious salads, has much to do with the culture that Nathaniel Ru has helped to cultivate behind the scenes.
Nathaniel Ru was just a fresh-faced college student when he met Neman and Jammet. The trio hooked up during an entrepreneurship class and quickly found the chemistry and concept that they needed in order to develop something special.
The three young men, all first-generation immigrants with family members in business, saw that Georgetown University had no healthy fast-food options. Ru and his team quickly planned to rectify that. By the time that Ru and his friends graduated they would be ready to begin the process to launch Sweetgreen.
A prime location on M Street allowed Sweetgreen to open its doors and a busy off-season, with students away from college, cemented the fact that they were there to say. Read more: Sweetgreen Founder Interview – Nathaniel Ru | Business Insider and Nathaniel Ru | Crunchbase
Still, despite this much success, Ru knew that there was a lot of work to be done in order to keep growing Sweetgreen into the company that it could become. Ru wanted to develop something that would last far beyond merely serving a meal to a customer.
He wanted to create the Sweetgreen Experience and bring tangible change to the communities that they would service. In order to do this, Ru had to resist the urge to pull a complete corporate makeover. Instead, Ru allows work to be done at a store level. Ru says, “We wanted to decentralize our headcount.”
Ru’s success with Sweetgreen has landed him on lists like Forbes’ Under-30 for the food and wine industry and that isn’t an overstatement. Still, Ru knows he has work to do.
When pushed on going back in time to change his past Ru admits, “We’ve learned it’s important to build a team around you sooner than you feel comfortable doing so.”
It’s safe to say that Ru and his team learned their lesson and now Sweetgreen has a new headquarters opening up in Los Angeles for what should be a west coast expansion.
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