Nearly every student at Georgetown knows Sweetgreen for their quick lunch in between classes, post workout snacks or as the “Destination D.C.” About six years ago, the only people who knew about it were the founders; Jonathan Neman (MSB ’07), Nicolas Jammet (MSB ’07) and Nathaniel Ru (MSB ’07). The trio held discussions at the start of their senior year about the limited options in affordable and healthy foodstuff in Georgetown. They bonded over their love for food, eagerness to create something and finally solving a problem in their lives.
After that, they laid down their vision and came up with a business plan. They faced a challenge of having no prior experience in business and particularly the food industry. However, this inexperience worked in their favor as they were able to approach all issues with a fresh pair of eyes. Their first location on the M Street was small, measuring only 500 square feet and the trio opted to focus on what they would not survive without: commitment to quality ingredients and sustainability. They also sought advice from architects, restaurant owners and the Georgetown faculty.
They used their senior year to build Sweetgreen. Their business class taught them the importance of a business driven by value and how a community’s culture influences a brand. The three are glad that Georgetown still insists on the import of service and are happy the business school has expanded greatly especially in the entrepreneurship program. The founders incorporate community service in their company to date. The company runs a program “Sweetgreen in Schools” aimed at educating children in schools about healthy living and nutrition and it has expanded to a number of states. The company also brought a new idea “Sweetlife” which is an annual food and music festival meant to reconnect with the community.
About Nathaniel Ru
Nathaniel Ru graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in BS Finance in 2007 from the McDonough School of Business. Nathaniel and two friends, Nicola Jammet and Jonathan Neman, founded a business in the same year, Sweetgreen. It is a seasonsla and casual kitchen that mainly focuses on sustainability and local sourcing. The first branch was based in Georgetown and since then it has expanded to 27 branches spread over six states.
Sweetgreen thrives on providing its customers with food that satisfies their tastes, imagination, tastes, community and is budget-friendly. Nathaniel and his co-founders launched a music and food festival dubbed ‘Sweetlife’ once a year. It was to boost the business of their second location and also connect with the community.