A key to success for many small businesses is to find a niche in the marketplace that is not currently being met and then to provide consistent high-quality products and services. For three Georgetown students in the early 2000s, it was evident that the marketplace was missing something that would be appreciated by both students and residents of Washington DC.
While they were nearing the end of their education at Georgetown University, three friends were discussing the fact that there were no affordable and healthy lunch options available off campus. More specifically, they noted that there was absolutely nowhere that they could go to get a salad bar if they wanted. The three individuals then quickly drew up a business plan and pitched an idea to friends and family members, who then gave the three individuals that money that they needed to open Sweetgreens in Georgetown.
Sweetgreens was practically an instant success in the Georgetown area and within a few years the company decided to expand and start opening more locations. The company now operates more than thirty different locations across the country and has a plan to further expansion through both corporate owned stores and franchising. The success of the company has caught they eye of both consumers and investors. Sweetgreens has been sought after by private equity firms for years and the company recently accepted an investment that valued the company at nearly $95 million. This investment will be used to provide the company with the capital that it needs to executed on its aggressive growth strategy, which will hopefully soon make it a nationally recognizable brand.
Ever since the company was founded over ten years ago, Nathaniel Ru has acted as the co-CEO along with his two business partners. During this time, he has acted as the figurehead for the business when it has come to interviews with the public, interacting with media, and discussing the business plan with investors and potential franchisees. Nathaniel Ru is a graduate of Georgetown and has used his academic experience to help him assist in the growth of Sweetgreens from just a concept to a growing business worth nearly $100 million.