Nathaniel Ru is one of three CEOs of food and restaurant company that’s been around for about 10 years but is still growing and finding new ways to appeal to millennial customers. The company is Sweetgreen which originated in the Washington D.C. area but as grown across the country and now has headquarters in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles. Ru spoke to Fortune magazine about the factors that made Sweetgreen successful and why he’s excited about its future. Learn more: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/nathaniel-ru
Nathaniel Ru told Fortune that he believes reading a lot of books is essential to becoming a great business leader in any industry. He also said he and his fellow CEOs, Jonathan Neman and Nicolas Jammet have learned that to build a big company and maximize production, you have to be willing to let go of various responsibilities and even invite new team members on board sooner than you’re comfortable doing. He points to Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank as a great influence on him and likes what he’s done with that company and its brand. Learn more: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ekeg45fe/nicolas-jammet-nathaniel-ru-jonathan-neman-co-founders-sweetgreen-262627/
Nathaniel Ru and his two friends both came to Georgetown University to become entrepreneurs in the footsteps of their parents who were all immigrants who had each founded a business. The reason food interested them the most was that options on the Georgetown campus were limited, especially for those who preferred a more lean diet focused on salads and vegetables. So that prompted the three to start a salad bar restaurant business and it began in a small shop on the Georgetown campus. The three had to get creative to keep it open during the slow times when almost nobody else was there, but as Ru later said that surviving that first winter break when campus was empty was what made them know they could meet any challenge. Learn more: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/sweetgreens-nathaniel-ru-everything-last-longer/
What makes Sweetgreen important is that Ru and his friends do not want its message to be only about eating green food, but rather to be about balance and making healthy diets popular. They’ve also included technology in their business which takes advantage of online and mobile ordering and customizing services for customers who want their food ready when they arrive. Ru also has expressed the importance of not simply running things from the top down, but actually making it about all employees and taking time off to go work at Sweetgreen’s locations. Initially the investments in the company came from friends and family members, but they’ve now had many more venture capital investors come to the company and have raised over $95 million to date.