Getting a Sustainable Business Model and Making it Work-The Story of Nathaniel Ru and Sweetgreens

In 2007, three finance students at Georgetown University, Nathaniel Ru, Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman were walking around campus when they realized that the healthy food options they craved for were not available. They discussed the apparent gap in the supply market and decided that they were going to come up with a product that would adequately fill this gap.  Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork and Sweetgreen Founder Interview – Nathaniel Ru | Business Insider

They had many challenges facing them, but the biggest of them was the fact that they had not ventured into the business before. Nathaniel Ru, one of the co-founders of the venture stated that perhaps the fact that they had not done business before was what motivated them towards making it work.

The first thing they realized they had to do was come up with a product that their customers would want to associate with. They approached the local farmers who specialize in organic foods alone and offered to be purchasing the fruits and vegetables which were in season.

They aimed to make sure that they leave the least possible carbon footprint from their salad production process.

The other challenge they faced was getting someone to fund their business idea. The three were lucky that the women who owned their residential apartment were also the owner of the location they were eyeing. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru:

She challenged them to come up with a great business plan, and she gave them the space to make it a reality. As the idea started gaining popularity, big names in the entertainment industry such as Steve Case and Daniel Boulud came on board and funded the expansion. Currently, there are more than 40 Sweetgreens stores across the country.

They realized that if they wanted to make sales, they would have to incorporate technology in their sales. The trio decided to create an app where their customers could order for the products they wanted.

Currently, more than 30 percent of their sales are made through the application. Their business model is based more o n meeting and interacting with their customers than staying somewhere in a corporate office, away from their clients.

The three also incorporated Sweetlife into their business idea. It is a music festival which brings together their clients and other enthusiasts at least once a year. They believe that their success has been possible because they have created a sense of family. Nathaniel Ru states that their ultimate goal is to make sure that their brand lives on long after they are gone.