The Unique Rise of Nathaniel Ru and Sweetgreen

For the better part of the past decade there has been a rise and evolution in the way restaurants are being run. Of course, people across the nation are now starting to realize it but they don’t understand where it all started — in Washington, D.C. at a little upscale salad restaurant named Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen was established by fresh Georgetown graduate Nathaniel Ru along with a few of his classmates.

They dreamed up the concept of Sweetgreen during a shared class while attending Georgetown and as soon as they graduated they knew that the time was right to get into the business. Their story is as inspiring as it is American: a group of immigrants who came up with a great concept found success in America’s northeast. Read more: Sweetgreen Founder Interview – Nathaniel Ru | Business Insider

The first Sweetgreen restaurant, located on M Street in downtown Washington D.C., almost never came to be. The reason was simple: Ru and his fellow classmates were kids essentially when they tried to put it into action.

Ru and his co-founders found the perfect spot, an abandoned tavern, and tried several times to get a sit down with the landlord of the building in order to pitch their restaurant.

The landlord ducked them for a long time but Ru never gave up. Eventually they secured a sit down and went to the meeting dressed in their only suits with three pages of a business presentation. Ru understands how lucky they were that the landlord believed in them because they both knew that the pitch was not up to snuff.

Sweetgreen has always been about being more than just a conventional restaurant. Modeling their company after Apple, and Steve Jobs, Sweetgreen has focused on developing their brand as something more than just food. They want to be more than a company, they want to be a social movement.

This has led Nathaniel Ru and his Sweetgreen compatriots to focus on branding public events, getting involved with local charity, and always keeping their hands on with the company rather than retreating to their corporate headquarters out in Los Angeles.

In fact, once every year Ru will shut down the corporate headquarters in order to send all of the business professionals to a Sweetgreen location in order to focus on working in the shop.

Sweetgreen is also a digital company that has the majority of their orders placed online before the customer arrives to pick them up.

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