Nathaniel Ru and His Georgetown University Classmates Brand Sweetgreen

Nathaniel Ru is the co-Founder and the co-CEO at Sweetgreen. Ru graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2007. Ru met his fellow Co-CEOs, Nicholas Jammet, and Jonathan Neman during an entrepreneurship class at the University. After holding a discussion, the three decided to open a restaurant that would provide healthy and eco-friendly food options to Georgetown residents. Nathaniel Ru and his partners’ parents are entrepreneurs and first-generation immigrants.


The Sweetgreen Company

When the trio graduated from Georgetown University, they sought funds from 40 family members and friends. Three months after graduation, the three had gathered enough capital and started a single shop in Georgetown. Currently, the company is present in 40 different locations in the country. The primary goal behind opening Sweetgreen is creating a brand that stands for something. They also look forward to providing services that fit the values, budget, tastes, and imagination of their customers.


Management of the Sweetgreen

The three CEOs developed a system where they close down all their corporate offices five times in a year to work from their restaurants. They run the company from their different offices without centralizing their operations to one main office headquarters. In an interview with the, Ru advised future management partners to focus on building a team first to help in the administration of the company before running other activities. Nathaniel Ru and the other CEOs embrace the use of technology at Sweetgreen. The company carries out thirty percent of the total transactions using their website or mobile application.


Involvement in community activities

Nathaniel Ru and his partners are active in the community-based activities with their “party with a purpose event.” They launched Sweetlife in 2010, an event concerned with healthy living, community development, and sustainability. It was the largest music and food festival in the region with a record of over 20,000 people. Kendrick Lamar, The Strokes, Avicii, and Calvin Harris, are some of the high profile artists featured at the Sweetlife event. The attendants also enjoyed the delicious cuisines prepared by the top chefs present at the event.

The company also launched the “Sweetgreen in Schools” in 2010. They hold workshops that teach the school-going children about nutrition and healthy living. Currently, the program has registered participation of more than 20,000 children in Virginia, New York, District of Columbia, and Maryland.




Why Nathaniel Ru’s Sweetgreens Isn’t Just About the Salad

Recently, an article was published about a hot spot for college students known as Sweetgreens. While Sweetgreens may be known as a place to eat, it represents so much more in the long-term. One of the founders, Nathaniel Ru made the statement that, “What you do should last longer than you.” The goals for Ru was to ensure that whatever he created made a lasting impact on others, and he wanted to help others eat healthier. This was especially true of college students.


While Ru and his friends were focused on their senior year in college and what they should do upon graduating, the idea was born for Sweetgreens. As college students they could never find a healthy place to eat, and they wanted the experience to be fun and simple.  Now that these entrepreneurs have opened more than 30 locations, they are now on pace to open 40 by the end of the year.

The space that these three young men wanted to rent was perfect, and the landlord was the same landlord that owned the apartments right around the corner from them. Ru was persistent with the landlord, asking for her time to hear his idea. The landlord was not ready to rent the space to them, so Ru called her daily until she agreed to meet him. Once they met, she advised that they seek out investors as well as write up a firm business plan. Ru and his friends spent almost a month to look for backing for their eatery, and they were off to launching their first location with the help of family and friends.


Ru wants people to know that the eatery was birthed out of more than an idea. It was launched with a greater purpose in mind, and that purpose was to help college students eat healthier. This was the “why” behind the idea, and their core values were expected to be consistent throughout all of their endeavors as they opened location after location. Ru and his friends now offer juices as well as a music festival at Sweetgreens locations to keep it social and fun for everyone.