Today, the Sweetgreens chain of restaurants is a practical staple for college studnets in Washington DC. What once started as a small restaurant offering a healthy off-campus lunch option has continued to grow into one of the most successful small business restaurants in the country. What makes the chain even more special to those in the DC area is that several graduates of Georgetown founded it.
Three Georgetown graduates of the 2007 class started the first Sweetgreens location on M Street in 2010. The three graduates were nearing the end of their college education when they began to discuss the lack of off campus dining options that provided an affordable, convenient, and healthy option. The three young men quickly bonded over the desire to serve quality and healthy food, start their own business, and add value to the Georgetown area that was not previously present.
After the three graduates worked and continued their education, they continued to formulate their plan to open their first location. After taking out a personal loan from friends, family members, and investors, the three young men were able to raise the capital that they needed to open their first location in Georgetown in 2010. For the first few years, the restaurant operated out of one location, but as the reputation for quality grew, so did the demand for expansion.
By the end of 2016, just six years after the company was first formed, Sweetgreens is expected to have over 40 locations with over 1,700 employees. The company has opened up new locations all over the East Coast, including in New York, Boston, and Baltimore. The company has plans to continue its growth into Northern California, Los Angeles, and Chicago. They company has also gained a following for its philanthropy, technology, and lifestyle.
All three of the founders share a co-CEO role and have different roles in the company. Nathaniel Ru has continued to be the focal head of the company and has taken on the role of discussing the business with investors, customers, reporters, and in public forums. He has been very important in helping to develop the reputation for quality, which has been a hit with customers and investors.