When Nathaniel Ru opened his first Sweetgreen store at the 28th Street and Broadway in the chic Nomad neighborhood in New York City, he knew that his store would succeed because Nathaniel had done his homework. Offering a fast casual healthy food experience, the store is located away from the standard strip and fast casual stores on the 23rd Street. The reason for the location is unique demographics of his clients.
In fact, the typical client of the chain store is not Big Apple visitor or professionals who come out to these stores for lunch. Instead the client of Sweetgreen is characterized as locals who want healthy food three times a day. These customers are willing to wait in line for 15 minutes to get their hands on a healthy proportion of food that does not make you hungry after 45 minutes. As a result, potential customers continue to flock to the store in search of new ingredients.
Commenting on the reasons of his success, Nathaniel outlined that his company always uses fresh ingredients that are supplied daily to the local chains. In order to make the business model a success, the management visits local farms before opening an outlet in a particular area. They painstakingly discuss the supply chain and factors that can make it easier for the supplier to deliver healthy food in time before the store opens to the general public.
To market their approach, the company does not tell customers how they do it. Instead, they provide a glimpse of the supply chain in their stores through an open kitchen and a personalized service. As soon as the customer walks in the store, they are greeted by a fresh smell of food. When the wait time is over, a dedicated server presents the food to the customer and walks through the meal preparation process until the customer is satisfied. The entire process only takes 2 to 3 minutes, which is just enough for raising awareness and increasing customer satisfaction. In addition to the healthy food and generous quantity, the value is further enhanced by reasonable prices.
Sweetgreen also knows how to turn an average visitor to a loyal customer because it rotates its menu several times during a year. Fresh ingredients are introduced by adding healthy foods that are otherwise ignored by mass market healthy food chains. Giving an example of such novel ingredients, Nathaniel explained that they recently convinced a local farmer in California to sell Broccoli leaves surrounding the crown. These leaves are tastier and nutritional than most of the lettuce produced in California.
Using these tactics, Sweetgreen has expanded its presence to 64 stores in the United States. There are approximately 1,700 employees working in its store. Recently, the company has extended into lifestyle space, philanthropy, and technology sectors.