Three college buddies were sick of the fattening food in DC, so they opened their own restaurant. Years later, their approach to healthy, fast-casual fare has spread across the country like wildfire.
Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Nemen were three friends who wanted something healthier to eat around their Washington D.C. campus of Georgetown University. They opened a small, 500 square foot store in 2007 on D.C.’s M Street. The market for fast-casual and healthy food was not big in the city at the time. Their prestigious university led business students towards becoming bankers or consultants, not small business founders, so these three guys’ professors were unsupportive.
Against all odds, they knew they had something special, so they opened Sweetgreen. They were millenials after all, and they knew millenials were yearning to be more responsible, to infuse their lifestyle and food choices with purpose. Like the National Journal said, millenials want to know where their food comes from, they want organic and sustainable foods, and they want to Instagram those suckers.
Sweetgreen is all those things – healthy, innovative, responsible and affordable
Sweetgreen provides a variety of healthy food options, ranging from Umami grain bowls, to roasted salmon, to their delicious Avocabbo, and tons more. You can even customize your own bowl. All the food served is local and organic, coming from farmers in the area of wherever the Sweetgreen is located. Their packaging is compostable, their furniture is reclaimed, they even offset 100% of their energy with wind energy credits! They even donated 1% of purchases made through their rewards program to help connects kids in schools with healthier food choices.
Organically growing food and their business
The guys had a hit on their hands, and they started expanding all across the country. Investors took notice. Most recently in late 2014, they secured their latest round of over $18 million in funding. The contributors included the founders of Stonyfield (served in select Sweetgreen locations) and Shake Shack.
Sweetgreen boardmember Steve Case, the founder of AOL, is one of their biggest champions. The money is being implemented not only to create additional locations, but also to improve “supply chain technology with local farms and consumer-facing mobile apps.” Their rewards app has already been live for some time.
Their own music festival?
Sweetlife has been throwing musical get togethers since they had one years ago in the back parking lot of their second location. For 2015, they’ve put together 25 (!) artists over two days to perform for you at the famous Merriweather Post Pavilion (voted one of the best venues in the USA by Rolling Stone).
That line up though!
Headliners like Kendrick Lamar and Calvin Harris? The Weeknd?! The Pixies and Billy Idol?!?! This is a Coachella level event!
They are also totally taking over the concession stands, curating food choices from some of the most renowned chefs in the US, including Jose Andres, Erik Bruner-Yang and even the Momofuku Milk Bar. Tickets are on sale now!
Coming soon to a location near you!
Sweetgreen already has 31 locations open, and they’re undoubtedly coming soon to bring farm-fresh fare to your neighborhood. Above is the upcoming Los Angeles location on West 3rd Street. It looks like it is coming along nicely. I personally cannot wait to try some affordable, healthy fare in LA, a city that sorely needs a place like that!