When Nathaniel Ru and his friends were in college, they had a hard time finding places to eat that were naturally healthy, but also quick and easy. Now several years after Ru graduated from college he owns the restaurant chain sweetgreen. One of the first Sweetgreen locations was opened on M Street in downtown Washington, D.C.
The landlord that manages sweetgreen also managed the apartments that Ru and his friends lived in, in college. The first time Ru called up the landlord to discuss his business idea, he was hung up on. The group of guys called the landlord every day for a month straight until they could set up a proper face-to-face conversation.
Ru and his friends brought a detailed business plan to their meeting with the landlord and she was impressed. She saw how passionate these men were about this restaurant business and decided to help them out if they some business backers and architects to help.
It took a few weeks for Ru and his friends to find the right business backers and architects to help them achieve their goals. Sweetgreen (with one backward “e” and all lowercase letters) is conquering the Northeast. There are sweetgreen locations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. The ingredients are always good for the human body and collected from farmers.
It is not just your ordinary salad bar. The sweetgreen experience involves a fast check out, friendly customer service, and music festivals. Ru has promised that he is always going to stay close to his roots. Being the biggest corporate company with the most employees is not always the right way to succeed. Ru wrote values that all sweetgreen employees have to follow when they are on duty.
Ru believes that both the customer and company should win. Customers submit ideas that help the company grow, in turn, the company earns more revenue. Ru lives by the motto “keep it real.” That means that everyone working for sweetgreen must always be polite and work hard. If employees give it their all, customers will tell their family members and friends.
Nathaniel Ru graduated from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2007 with a degree in finance. He and two of his close friends created sweetgreen, a fast food salad chain. The company has opened locations in six states in the Northeast and has plans to move out west soon. Ru has invested in four companies.
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