The health food industry has continued to increase in popularity over the past decade. While most people are motivated to eat healthy food on a regular basis, many find that it is difficult to find a reliable choice that is convenient and affordable. Due to the lack of options, three young entrepreneurs started a company called Sweetgreens in 2007. While it started as just one store, it is continuing to grow into a national staple.
In 2007, Nathaniel Ru and two former classmates decided to open the first Sweetgreens location in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC. While the three people, who used investments from over 30 different friends and family members, thought that there was a need, they had no clue how big the company could ultimately grow. Over the past 9 years, the company has grown to over 30 locations and is expecting to open its 40th store by the end of the year. While it started as a small business, some industry experts are now valuing the company for nearly $100 million.
While it seems that they had a great business idea, the co-owners of the company all believe that there is much more that went into their success. The primary strength that they believed that they all shared was that they were all very dedicated to the business, each believed in the shared idea of the company, and believed that the company was based on a core set of values and beliefs, as opposed to just being a salad bar.
The company also believes that they need to continue to develop the reputation that they have built. While they were all young men when they started the company, they have grown and aged but are doing their best to remain hip in the eyes of the younger crowd. This has included creating unique titles for employees and encouraging a more relaxed atmosphere.
Nathaniel Ru is just one of three of the original inventors and developers of the growing chain. Ru, along with his partners, is a graduate of Georgetown University and started developing the idea while they were still in school. In his role as Co-CEO of the company, Ru has focused on being the face of the organization and is quickly used for interviews and investor pitches.