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Overview of Nathaniel Ru’s Interview on Sweetgreen Design Secrets

Overview of Nathaniel Ru’s Interview on Sweetgreen Design Secrets published on

Sweetgreen is a fast salad chain where people queue for their food as if they are waiting to purchase a new iPhone. The chain has opened up a number of shops in strategic points in various cities. Customers can get their fix either through queuing or using the Sweetgreen app to make their orders and skip the lines. Sweetgreen has a magic in its healthy, reasonably priced and tasty food, which includes tangy dressing, vibrant lettuce and stout cheese crumbles. The lunch salads are also great as you do not go hungry 45 minutes after taking their meals. The salad chain enables people to eat some nourishing food at the same price of buying fries and burgers.



Nathaniel Ru’s Interview on Sweetgreen’s “Service design”



Sweetgreen started out in 2007 in Washington,DC and has expanded to over 40 sites in California and New York, and other shops are planned for Chicago and Boston. Recently, Fortune declared that if the other legacy restaurants were to be given a chance to start from scratch, then a good number of them would love to emulate Sweetgreen. Nathaniel Ru opened up on how the salad chain sources for its food, its “service design” crafting and the reason people should eat more than just kale.



Sweetgreen’s smart picking of locations



Ru stated that the sequencing and timing of the store openings goes in tandem with the chain’s real estate strategy. He said that the way Sweetgreen enters a market is equally important as the number of stores it opens. The chain has opened its stores in areas that are not dominated by food chains and in hip and affluent areas like Williamsburg, Nolita and Tribeca. The idea does not only target the lunch traffic but also weekends and dinners as well.



Service Design and Source of Food



Sweetgreen seems like an Apple store with clean lines and smiling faces due to the great ambience. It has a service design that is a culmination of technology, design and storytelling. It feels like a restaurant that is easily reliable whether ordering on the app (30% of the customers use the app) or in-store. Customers can see all the ingredients in the open kitchen and see how their salads are fixed. Sweetgreen sources its food locally and asks for the crops that farmers grow instead of requesting for certain types. This reduces food wastage and exposes customers to new veggies.



About Nathaniel Ru


Nathaniel Ru graduated with a BS in Finance in 2007 from Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business). In the same year, Ru and his two friends started Sweetgreen, a fast casual salad chain focusing on local sourcing and sustainability. Ru and the co-founders consider “food that fits” with their customer’s values, tastes, budget, imagination and community. They also launched ‘Sweetlife’ which has become the largest food and musical festival in the region.