Nathaniel Ru – The Man Behind a Healthier Fast Food Alternative
Nathaniel Ru is a co-founder and one of the chief executive officers of Sweetgreen, a chain of restaurants that provides healthier dining options compared to traditional fast food outlets in the form of salads made of organic, locally sourced produce. Ru graduated from Georgetown University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and, soon afterwards, opened the first Sweetgreen outlet in the heart of Georgetown alongside two of his classmates, co-founders Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet.
This was in response to the lack of healthy eating options available in Georgetown. The fact that their business survived its first winter break, when the students of Georgetown headed back home for the holidays, meant that Sweetgreen could make it in the long run, according to the three co-founders.
Apart from providing fresh salads at 40 outlets across the United States, Sweetgreen makes ordering its scrumptious dishes easy through its website and mobile app, with about 30% of customer purchases taking place online.
Nathaniel Ru and his co-founders have also adopted a new approach to management, closing down their offices 5 times a year so that the office-based employees also get a chance to work at Sweetgreen’s outlets and serve its customers directly. Despite being an ever-expanding network of salad bars, Sweetgreen does not have a corporate headquarters. When asked why this is so, Nathaniel Ru said that the company prefers having a “decentralized headcount”.
Customers have a satisfying experience whenever they visit Sweetgreen. The wait is a little long, usually of 15 minutes, before one can finally place his or her order, but the food is “nourishing” and “reasonably priced”, according to the Tech Insider. The author of the article, Drake Baer, goes on to write, “Unlike many lunch salads, you’re not hungry 45 minutes after eating one,” which shows that Sweetgreen’s focus is not on providing mere salads, but complete, wholesome meals. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnQ9aK4ZmFA and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetgreen
The restaurants have also been carefully designed so that customers feel good when they visit, and a team member walks them through the process of creating the wide variety of salads while the customers get a clear view of the open kitchen. It is all part of an idea that Nathaniel Ru calls “service design”.
Another aspect that sets Sweetgreen apart is the fact that it buys and uses all edible parts of the crops it purchases, not just the parts people are used to seeing. It lets customers try out new salad combinations, which can be healthier than the usual products, according to Ru.
The innovations in the products as well as the cutomer experience, led by Nathaniel Ru and his co-founders, have caused sales to grow which might continue to rise in the future thanks to Sweetgreen’s philosophy of modernity.