How Nathaniel Ru and Company Are Creating a New Model of Fast Food

If legacy restaurants could start from the foundation, most of them would wish to look like Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen is a high-end salad chain that is backed by global investors like Danny Meyer, Steve Case, and Daniel Boulud. It is hitting in all the leading food retailers locally and internationally. The recipe resonates with diners, who always keep lines long at all the Sweetgreen’s 40 locations. Ru and his colleagues are creating a brand that stands for something because they want to feed more people with better food.


The Georgetown University former classmates are also tech pioneers, and as a result, 30% of Sweetgreen transactions are carried out on its website or through mobile app. Ru says that technology has always been a part of their DNA.


The dynamic entrepreneurs are also rethinking their management strategies. To stay closer to its customers, Sweetgreen almost entirely shuts down its corporate office five times in a year so that every one of its employees can work in its food joints. The company, which opened offices in Los Angeles, functions without headquarters because the co-CEOs are bicoastal as they try to expand the company nationally.


About Nathaniel Ru and Sweetlife

Nathaniel Ru is a former student of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business who graduated in 2007 with a BSC in Finance. In the same year, Ru and two other fellow Georgetown graduates started Sweetgreen, a fast seasonal kitchen with major focus on sustainability as well as local sourcing. Their first premises were in Georgetown itself. Sweetgreen has now penetrated other 27 locations in around six states with plans to venture to the west coast soon. The idea of starting this company was born from their common belief that the community required a delicious, healthy and eco-friendly food options.


In 2010, Ru and his partners launched the Sweetlife, now the region’s leading music and food fiesta. The event attracts over 20000 attendees. It features cutting edge as well as high profile artists and food from top chefs, local purveyors, food trucks and farmers. Just like their restaurants, Sweetlife upholds good living, health together with community sustainability. This exciting event leaves a gentle as well as a carbon-neutral footprint in the minds of the attendees.


The Sweetgreen trademark has received numerous accolades, including from the Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, Food & Wine, Washingtonion, CBS, and CNBC. Ru and his partners have also been featured in Forbes’ “30 under 30, Food and Wine” as well as Wine Magazine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers.