When it comes to opening a restaurant, people usually choose between a large corporate food chain and intimate mom-and-pop operation. Most of them aim for somewhere in the middle but have to choose one or the other at some point down the line. The co-founders of Sweetgreen found a way to stay on the center line.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the restaurant’s success; not least, brilliant leadership. Sweetgreen’s success attracted numerous big-name investors who can’t get enough of the salad chain. Since 2007, they’ve opened 40 locations and plan on adding more in the coming years.
The co-founders create several innovative strategies that apply to every part of the company. When it came to increasing sales and return customers, they decided to increase productivity. They accomplished this by adding technology during a time before technology became so popular. They used a website and mobile apps to facilitate transactions before most of their competition.
They also approached management differently. Instead of following the corporate headquarters traditional, they initiated a bicoastal management strategy that allowed them to grow their company at a comfortable pace while still maintaining a close relationship with customers. Essentially, this new strategy decentralized their headcount. Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork and Nathaniel Ru | LinkedIn
What really sets Sweetgreen apart is how they decide where to open a location. Location is important to every business, but most businesses just look for the most foot traffic. Sweetgreen doesn’t want to be a hot lunch-time spot that people think of during their lunch break.
It’s also important that every restaurant looks clean and modern. It’s why they open in affluent and popular neighborhoods, to fit in with the local scene and attract new customers.
As important as the business aspects of the company are, the emotional aspects are just as important. Staying close to customers is important to all three co-founders. It’s a lesson they learned from their parents, who also started their own businesses. Their parents also taught them to be patient and see what happens rather than acting on impulse.
That advice came in handy when they faced their first winter break on campus. Their first restaurant just opened and was an overnight hit. When winter break came, most of their diners went on vacation, but they survived because of their loyalty to the diners who stayed.
Learn more about Nathaniel Ru: http://fortune.com/2016/02/18/sweetgreen-entrepreneurs/ and https://twitter.com/nathanielru