Nathaniel Ru: Bringing Delicious, Eco-Friendly and Healthy Food to the Table

Sometimes it becomes hard to find a healthy eatery which also brings an aspect of fun with it. This was the case with Nathaniel Ru and his campus friends while studying at the Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

They had a hard time finding places to eat healthily and at the same time, fun and modern. The challenge left them wondering whether the solution would only be in a tavern on M Street in the downtown area.

Six years down the line, their wonderment became a reality when they started an eatery at M Street. Talking of the eatery at the Wharton Marketing Conference, dubbed, “The New Era of Marketing: Analytics, Globalization, and Choice,” Mr. Nathaniel Ru said that Sweetgreenhas become the only farm-to-table restaurant chain.

Amazingly, it turned out that the owner of the tavern was also the owner of the apartment where Ru and friends lived while in school. Recalling back, Ru says that he called and tried to explain what they wanted, but the owner hangs up.

However, Nathaniel and one of his friends continued to call her on a daily basis for over a month until she decided to have a face-to-face conversation with them. Teasingly, he says, that was the first and last time he ever wore a suit to a meeting

The landlady saw their determination and asked them to come up with an architect and business backers with a proper business plan. Starting small, their company Sweetgreen now has many stores in major Northeast cities and their suburbs including New York, Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia. Their main competitive advantage is the healthy and freshness of the food, with its ingredients mostly bought from local farms and purveyors. Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork

The company’s marketing strategy is based on the “why” factor telling people on why it was started. Speaking in the Wharton Conference alongside Mr. Ru, Theresa Dold, who is the head of digital marketing of the company, said that “people don’t just buy what you do but rather the way you do it.”

Sweetgreen’s breakthrough moment was in April 2009 when the founders were presented with an opportunity of a bigger space in Dupont Circle. They had spent a lot to organize for the event, but no one showed up.

No customer appeared in the joint during the first two weeks. With their spirited effort in making it work, they found big speakers and started playing music on Saturdays and Sundays outside the store, connecting music to food, and eventually, their efforts bore fruits.

About Nathaniel Ru

Nathaniel Ru has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Georgetown University. He is the co-founder of Sweetgreen food stores.

Their idea for Sweetgreen was based on the belief that people need delicious, eco-friendly and healthy food. With his friends, Nathaniel launched Sweetlife in 2010, the only musical and food festival in the region.