Technology and the Human Experience- Building Intimacy at Scale
Many think that the more high tech something is, the more impersonal. Sweetgreen has bucked this philosophy, finding a way to use technology to enhance the customer experience, not replace it. They’re building intimacy into the process as they scale their technology, establishing themselves not just as a chain restaurant, but as a brand with a mission. Even as they have grown wildly successful, they have not lost their personal touch with customers. They are committed to consistently innovating the brand while maintaining its foundation and personal experience its customers have come to expect.
Making an Impact
Sweetgreen is on a mission to leave communities better than they found them. As the company has grown, they have also invested in “impact projects” around the country that provide food access and education to underserved communities. From education about healthy eating in schools to mobile farmers markets and continuing education for its employees, Sweetgreen walks the talk.
Power of Partnership
It’s rare that 3 founders of a company are still together and sit in the same office 10 years later. Jonathan, Nicolas and Nathaniel met in college and have grown their business around the fundamental principles of team work, humility and shared values - the same principles of how their own relationship works. Theirs is a perfect example of how these things translate into successful business as well.
Jonathan Neman explains how Sweetgreen's technological innovation made them a favorite of Silicon Valley investors
JONATHAN NEMAN speaks about leadership and innovation during times of crisis, recently appearing on Axios' 1 Big Thing, Entrepreneur's How Brands Are Born and Barron's. This young business leader offers audiences fresh insights on leverging technology across the value chain, maintaining authenticity in the mission, and how to connect with Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
He dove into some of his favorite topics when he appeared on The Founder's Guide podcast, on an episode titled "Building the Modern Restaurant with Sweetgreen co-founder." He shared his knowledge about building direct relationships with customers, how he believes restaurants should work with marketplaces, and more.
Recognized as a key innovator in food and business, Neman has been named to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Inc’s “30 Under 30,” Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Food & Wine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under.” In virtual and live engagements he discusses business innovation and smart uses of technology, making an impact, and the power of partnership.
Even though salad is not a growing food category, Neman and his Sweetgreen co-founders were able to secure a $1B valuation. How? They had already technically streamlined customer interaction, order fulfillment and their supply chain management prior to the pandemic, so much so that they now think of themselves as a technology company, validated by Silicon Valley investors. They have built digital solutions all along their value chain so that they can enhance and capture every input from farm to consumer, for example, they utilize blockchain technology to track their food sources and safety. Next they want to design custom salads to meet individualized nutritional needs based on biome DNA nutrition data.
Jonathan Neman is Co-Founder & Co-CEO of sweetgreen, the destination for simple, seasonal, healthy food. Jonathan and his co-founders, Nathaniel Ru and Nicolas Jammet, started sweetgreen in 2007, opening their first location in Georgetown, DC – just three months out of college. The brand’s strong food ethos, embrace of passion and purpose, and investment in local communities has enabled sweetgreen to grow into a national brand with more than 70 locations across the East Coast, Midwest and California.
Jonathan has been recognized as a key innovator in food and business, named to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Inc’s “30 Under 30,” Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Food & Wine’s “40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under.” In 2016, sweetgreen was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Jonathan graduated from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he met Nathaniel and Nicolas.