Nathaniel Ru is the Co-CEO of Sweetgreen, a restaurant idea that combines farm to table foods along with an appealing customer service experience. He came up with the idea back in his college days when he and his friends could not find a viable healthier alternative to the fast food and junk food options in the area. Ru wanted to create a place where natural healthy foods were available, but also create a fast and easy experience for the diner. The Sweetgreen idea was the solution.
Although he had a difficult time getting the space they needed to launch their Sweetgreen idea, they now are opening restaurants in several major cities such as Boston and New York. Nathaniel Ru credits the success to the ability to provide local and fresh foods to his customers that are appealing, and a dining experience that is affordable and quick. He credits the success to his philosophy of core values, one of which is “win, win, win”, where the customer, the community, and the company all have an interest and should all come out ahead. He also believes in “keeping it real” in regards to the authenticity of the food, to the actions of the employees.
In addition to the restaurant, Ru created the Sweetlife music festival. The idea was born when in order to get customer’s to come to the new place, he offered music outside on the weekends. The connection between the food and the music was strong. It is now the areas largest food and music festival, with nearly 20,000 people attending. Food trucks, sellers, growers and musicians alike are part of the festival.
Each restaurant is uniquely designed to fit within the neighborhood and to provide the best customer experience. Most kitchens are open designed so that the food can be seen, and each customer is walked through their order individually so that they can choose what they like and ask questions about ingredients, which are listed as to the local source they originated from. The waiting line is run like a well oiled machine and the customer can get in and out quickly.
Sweetgreen and Nathaniel Ru also take care of employees, noting that this is another reason for his success. Hiring motivated people and keeping them together in teams, like a family. The result is satisfied customers and the continuing growth of the Sweetgreen line of restaurants. .