Nathaniel Ru clicked with two of his college classmates at Georgetown University: Jonathan and Nicholas. The three used to go out of the campus looking for dinner that was healthy in a place that was fun and easy. Unfortunately, they never found their desired eating point since most of the restaurants in the town offered fast foods that were most times served in ordinary settings. Consequently, the three most times ended up eating indoors as they could not stand the food sold in the town.
They felt that there was a niche market that was unsatisfied as they were: those that were looking for healthy food. Consequently the three friends came up with a business idea and decided to start a restaurant that would fill the existing gap. They gave it the name ‘greens’, although this changed when they came up with the core value of ‘sweetness’, which they also made the prefix of the business name.
Nathaniel, Nicholas and Jonathan identified the tavern in which they wanted the restaurant to be located. Consequently, they looked for the landlord’s number, but when they called and explained their mission he hung up the phone on them. The implication of the above was that the idea was unrealistic.
The three did not have any other alternative so they decided to continue pursuing the landlord on the same. They called him daily for a span of 3 months and he refused to pick their calls. However, he was finally tired of their nagging and he decided to meet the three final year students face to face.
When they met, the three brought a 3 page business plan and explained their vision to the tavern landlord. He must have seen their enthusiasm and decided to give them a chance. He asked the three to come up with a more detailed business plan and look for investors and an architect. It took the three lads only 3 weeks to come up with the landlord’s requirements and within no time the business was started.
Sweetgreen has grown to be a household name in the span if the 10 years it’s been in operations. The business has 5 core values : impact, sweetness, sustainability, win win win and keeping it real. The business co-founders believe in doing something that will outlive them.
Nathaniel Ru is a business investor as well as entrepreneur who is based in New York. He is the co-founder and Co-CEO at the Sweetgreen Restaurant.
Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: http://www.businessinsider.com/sweetgreen-founder-interview-nathaniel-ru-2016-3