Every achievement ought to outlive the achiever. This is a maxim that Nathaniel Ru holds dear. He explains that you are only as good as the impact you leave in the society. As a result, Ru advises people to go out there and leave a lasting impression. Nathaniel Ru and a few of his dorm mates from Georgetown University discovered that they belonged to the healthy eating cult. When they got tired of looking for joints that served healthy meals, they came up with the idea of starting their food joint without any experience in the restaurant business. That is how the $95 million capital venture funded Sweet greens stores were conceived.
The venture currently stands at 64 stores and still expanding. Nathaniel Ru believes that all it takes is several core values to firmly establish the brand, besides an aggressive, creative marketing to get the word out there.
Nathaniel Ru argues that a win-win strategy for their business, employees, clients and community are instrumental to the store’s success. Satisfaction from all the stakeholders means that quality is king. He emphasizes that good employee relations and incentives kit while allowing them to offer suggestions on management has a great positive impact on how clients respond. Simple acts with an authentic touch go a long way in keeping things real.
Sweet green has financial backing from business tycoons such as Danny Meyers and Steve Casey. It is more than about salads to high-end clients who line up for their goodies. It is also about technology. According to the CEO Nathaniel, they have developed a mobile app through which payments can be processed while earning ‘green points.’ It makes for convenient purchasing. Besides, cash and credit are still acceptable.
Nathaniel Ru together with co-founders Nicholas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and their marketing director also a former colleague have creatively come up with marketing strategies that have formed a tradition. The best being the famously dubbed “the music and food experience.” In the concept, music plays in a parking lot as people shop directly from food trucks, food purveyors, and sweet greens stores. Another ingenious strategy is by attaching the stores’ coupons to parking tickets.
Born to entrepreneurs, starting a venture from scratch was a viable option. The group’s CEO Nathaniel Ru maintains that nothing much has changed from the business plans. Discipline and having the right set of values in place is the key to their success and to sticking together eight years down the road.