For students at Georgetown University, and other colleges in Washington DC, the chain of restaurants called Sweetgreens is a staple and common eating and gathering space. While the restaurant to the naked eye may seem like a clever place to get a healthy and casual lunch option, it has quickly grown to become one of the fastest growing chains in the country. The restaurant is even more special to those that are in the Washington DC area because three recent graduates of Georgetown founded it.
In 2007 three students at Georgetown were sitting around discussing the fact that they did not have any healthy and off-campus lunch options available to them. Using their creative minds and educational experiences, the three young men quickly started discussions to eventually open up their own restaurant and bring their concept to fruition.
While the three students were finishing up their education, they constantly met to further discuss their ideas. In this time, they were able to come up with a very realistic budget and business plan. Shortly after graduating, the three men started their first Sweetgreens location on M Street in downtown Georgetown. The men were able to raise the capital needed through personal savings, investments by friends and family members, and other capital raising efforts.
For the first couple of years, the three focused solely on the Georgetown location. However, the reputation for quality product and friendly service quickly spread via word of mouth and the three men found the opportunity to expand quickly while maintaining a profit. By the end of 2016, which was just six years after they opened their first location, the Sweetgreens brand has grown to over 40 locations throughout the United States. While the company used to focus on the northeast United States, it has recently opened locations in California and Chicago. In total, the company employs over 1,700 employees.
Ever since the company was founded, all three of the founders have shared the title of Co-CEO. However, they have quickly found the ability to share duties based on each individual’s skill set. Of the three, Nathaniel Ru has acted as the focal point for the company. He has spent the most amount of time dealing with the media, investors, and other third-party communicators.