The Upward Climb of Sweetgreen

In August 2007, Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman, and Nathaniel Ru founded the farm-to-table salad chain, Sweetgreen. At first there was just the one small shop in Georgetown. This quickly expanded to what by the end of this year will be a chain of 40 shops nationwide. The founders and leaders of the company have also recently completed their third successful round of funding. All in all, they have raised $95 million. Entering the entrepreneurial life was pretty much a natural choice for all three founders who all grew up the children of entrepreneurs.

In addition, all three had parents who were in some way involved with the restaurant business. When they grew up they all three took steps to follow in their parent’s footsteps. In fact, the three met at Georgetown while taking an entrepreneurial class together. It was at that time that they found they shared a common desire to help the public find better, healthier food options. They landed on providing healthier salad options, which also meant getting it fresh from the farms. There original business model was so good and has proved so effective that little has changed since the business was founded.

 

It has also helped that they have had some great investors along the way such as Danny Meyer, an early investor, Daniel Boulud, and Steve Case, co-founder of AOL. They have also attained much success by utilizing the considerable market resources of the internet. Its presence on the web is very strong with 30% of its sale transactions taking place online. This has all resulted in a wildly popular store that consistently has long wait lines at all of its locations. All of this has made them extremely coveted by other healthy, fresh, organic and local oriented food stores.

 

However, this does not mean that they are satisfied with the status quo of their management. They have always and will continue to rethink their management styles and methods. Nathaniel Ru says that they are all three still learning to delegate work to other people instead of trying to do everything themselves. To this end, the trio is seeking to build a bigger team of core management. He also says that their lack of a headquarters for their company was intentional because they all agreed they wanted to decentralize it. This may be harder to maintain in the future, but the three remain very optimistic about the direction of their company.