Sweetgreen is a popular fast-casual restaurant that caters to urban professionals, and is clustered in the chic enclaves within New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, and California, (primarily in Silicon Valley). The chain, which has become a leader in sustainability and local food sourcing, was founded by Nathaniel Ru, a 2007 graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, along with two fellow alumni. Ru, along with Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet, continue to lead the ever-growing company. The trio is based in Washington, DC but maintain homes in New York City’s Soho neighborhood, and Los Angeles.
Mr. Ru, and his partners, started the chain in Washington, DC, not far from Georgetown University, where they met, and centered the restaurant’s offerings around local, sustainable ingredients, with an overall theme of eco-consciousness. Mr Ru explains that a visit to local farmers comes first when sweetgreen is considering a move into a new market area. Supply chain and product availability drive their decision making processes, and relationships with their providers is key to the success of the chain.
Sustainability, locally sourced ingredients, and a strong sense of community are the driving factors of Sweetgreen, and many attribute their continued growth and success to these principals. The three founders strongly believe that it is important to offer a dining option that fits its clients’ belief systems, both as a restaurant and as a member of the larger community.
In addition to their continued growth and guidance of sweetgreen, the three partners have also ventured into the music and food festival arena. With sweetlife, Ru, Neman, and Jammet, have created an event that is a celebration of great music and good food. Started in 2010, the festival continues to draw enormous crowds, while celebrating sustainable lifestyles and food options, all with a carbon-neutral footprint!
Nathaniel Ru is a prime example of a successful entrepreneur who looks at the big picture. Ru’s passion for ecologically sound business practices truly sets him apart, and Georgetown University alumni have a great example of success, whose attitude is worth emulating. As the Millennial generation comes into its own, new paradigms will come to the forefront and take precedence over the old ways of doing business. Nathaniel Ru is the embodiment of the ecologically and socially responsible business owner who is mindful of the impact, both positive and negative, that his business dealings have on the world.