Nathaniel Ru: A Green Dream

Sweetgreen is a healthy, fun restaurant that started as an idea by a few Georgetown University students, including Nathaniel Ru. They really wanted somewhere healthy to eat that was also fun and easy. That’s where this idea for sweetgreen started and it just grew from there.

Ru and his friends then decided on a location for this restaurant idea. They found out who the landlord for a building they found and began calling her. The first time Nathaniel called her and explained why he was calling, she hung up on him.

He didn’t give up. Every day either Ru or one of his friends would call the landlord until she decided to meet in person.

Ru, dressed up in a suit and tie, met up with her and she proposed they find some investors and an architect to strengthen their initial plan.

Three and a half weeks later, they had their investors, architect, and a better plan which lead the landlord to give them an opportunity to follow their dream.

Sweetgreen is now a successful 21 store restaurant chain who prides themselves on buying a lot of their ingredients from local vendors and markets. So why is the company so successful? It is the way they run things that make them successful.

First, they follow a list of five values. This list is posted in every sweetgreen kitchen. Number one, win for the company, win for the customer, and win for the community. Number two, think sustainably or for the long-term. Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: and

Number three, every aspect of the restaurant is authentic from the employees to the food. Number four, be sweet so that customers have a sweet experience they can go tell their friends about. And five, the whole company needs to make an impact.

The company, sweetgreen, also connects with their customers by having an annual music festival, a mobile app where customers can earn reward points, and living healthy partnerships with yoga instructors and gyms.

Employees also help their customers with the door, leave coupons on windshields to make their day, and provide umbrellas at no additional charge. They truly want to help people and their community.

Nathanial Ru graduated from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in 2007. He and two other fellow Georgetown graduates and friends started sweetgreen in 2007. Nathaniel and his business partners also developed sweetlife in 2010. Sweetlife is a music festival that promotes good living, health and well being, community, and as well as sustainability.

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