In their senior years at the University, Nathaniel Ru and his friends had trouble locating a healthy place to eat. Seemingly, the answer to their problems lay in a 560 square-foot tavern sitting on M Street in the downtown area.


This space was where the concept of the popular, Sweetgreen restaurant, was first actualized. The restaurant chain currently has a store in almost every major city in the northeast and their surroundings. Their serving is healthy and fresh since most of the ingredients are purchased locally from farmers.


Sweetgreen’s business concept has on many occasions been compared to that of Apple for their striking resemblance. Although the two companies deal with very different products, they both pride themselves on their ability to challenge the norm. For instance, Being a restaurant business, it is unconventional that Sweetgreen throws an annual music festival. However, connecting music and food has been one of the great successes of the company. Thus showing that the owners have the courage to challenge pre-existing norms with their genius business ideas.


Theresia Dold, the head of digital marketing at Sweetgreen observed that in today’s business world, consumers are not drawn to what a company does, but the way they do it. Expounding on that theory, Ru held that despite the large fleet of stores run by Sweetgreen, the company has a responsibility to uphold the three core values of the organization as well as serve the surrounding community.


Ru asserts that the company’s signatory food and music experience has made Sweetgreen appeal itself to consumers as an excellent restaurant company and a lifestyle brand. Over the last four years, their annual food and music festival, dubbed Sweetlife, has evolved into one of the biggest festivals of its type. It attracts more than 20,000 people including local food purveyors, farmers and local music and food enthusiasts.


“Tribal” marketing is a primary contributing factor to Sweetgreen’s success. Through a recent “ “Tribal” marketing initiative, the company is looking to partner with healthy lifestyle businesses. For instance, Sweetgreen held yoga classes in Washington DC and collaborated in cross-marketing with fitness clubs by directing customers to gym instructors who recommend Sweetgreen stores to their clients.


About Nathaniel Ru


Nathaniel was born and raised in Pasadena. He is a 2007 Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business graduate who holds a bachelors degree in finance. He is a proud CEO and co founder of an American fast casual kitchen that focuses on local sourcing and sustainability, Sweetgreen restaurant chains.

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