Modern food beckons for quickness, affordability, and most importantly, health. As exemplified by chains like Chipotle, natural, locally-sourced meals sell en masse. After a couple of statistical studies, even McDonalds has revamped their ingredients. However, the new buzz is the sexiest startup of recent memory, Sweetgreen. An avant-garde salad-shop, no one could have predicted that this start-up would sweep the west coast. Now, locations have sprung up from Boston to New York, exemplifying the flexibility of the shop. The best part of this “VC darling” success story is the man at the helm. Nathaniel Ru, a 3-month graduate, led this business to the sharp status it possesses.
When picturing a green salad, most people would not imagine a main course, especially not a filling one, talk about being hard to market. Yet, a team of three graduates employing some start-up capital (from the likes of AOL co-founder Danny Meyer) somehow made salad sexy. However, the businesses golden status does not simply come from the elegant posturing of its quaint salad shoppes.
Nathaniel Ru has spread his influence throughout the company, and is based in robust interpersonal relations. As any great leader, he understands that people work in unique synergy when they feel a team atmosphere. It is part of humanity’s tribal nature. Thus, supervisors at Sweetgreen are “Coaches”, and employees are “team members”. Furthermore, Ru makes sure that relations with local farmers are tight. To this capacity, he has found unique solutions to food-waste problems. Ensuring a green, carbon neutral image.
Ru keeps it fresh, Sweetgreen even holds an annual music festival with legit performers. Headliners from Calvin Harris to The Weeknd certainly do not hurt Sweetgreen’s image. The event has over 20,000 attendees, so anyone that is hip will be there. Quite the social engineer, Ru has a clever way of entering markets, and dominating them. He times his entry into various markets through sequencing to maximize popularity and efficiency. It must work, as he over 27 locations in 6 states. Keeping in touch with brand identity, Ru maintains minimalist elegance, reminiscent of apple stores. This keeps the atmosphere consistent and modern across the board. Of course, the store has an app (used by about 30% of customers), which ensures a meal for time-sensitive busy-bodies.
In today’s age of scientific advances, people understand the need to break the cycle of fast-food chemical festivals. Indeed, the unprecedented success of this salad-chain symbolizes America’s changing demographic. Although burger-cravings are sure keep stalwarts in the market, Sweetgreen’s country-wide success is a serious indicator of changing trends. In more tangible terms, a consistently fresh salad which constitutes a true meal is huge shift from previous conventions.