At Georgetown University in Washington, a group of friends were having trouble finding places to eat that offered a healthy menu. They were looking for a healthy menu with a fun and easy atmosphere to enjoy their choices in. When they discovered a tavern on M Street in the middle of the downtown area of Washington, they thought they had an answer. Part of this group of friends was, Nathaniel Ru and the tavern they found would turn into a farm-to-table style restaurant chain.
Six years later
Six years after the dream took hold, the farm-to-table style restaurant chain, Sweetgreen became a reality. Nathaniel Ru states they were very blessed with how events fell into place for him and his friends. He feels it would never work out the same way again- the timing was perfect.
The Sweetgreen approach
Nathaniel Ru states the marketing approach for Sweetgeen is similar to The Apple Company. He and his friends wanted something that was local, smart, sexy, and social. Ru states that no matter how many stores open under the name Sweetgreen, they must all follow the core values that he installed. Those core values include serving the community they are established in and not a corporate giant. Ru and his friends came up with five core values that are posted in every kitchen of every Sweetgreen.
Five core values
Ru’s first core value of Sweetgreen is the idea of winning. A victory for the restaurant should be a victory for the community it exists in. The second value is to make every decision, one that is for the long run. The third value is to keep things real and everything authentic. He expects this from the employee’s demeanor to the sources of the food served. The fourth core value is to add the Sweetgreen touch and the fifth is to make an impact.
Nathaniel Ru says the signature moment for Sweetgreen came when they decided to connect music to food. It was an emotional connection and created an experience for customers to come and enjoy their food while listening to music. They used a parking lot next to a Farmer’s Market where they purchased their food and began creating music. This event became so popular they named it, Sweetlife and has become one of the largest music and food festivals in the region.
Employees and customers get good experience
Ru finds that the best financial results come from stores that have created teams that stay together the longest. He not only wants his customer’s experiences to be great, he wants his employee’s to be also. He states that this may be the digital age, but the best marketing is personal.