Recode Decode: Why Sweetgreen thinks like a tech company

  • How did you come up the idea for Sweetgreen? I had nowhere to eat. Food was either fast, cheap, and bad for you. Or it was delicious, slow, and expensive. 

  • The main idea for Sweetgreen: To create a place to eat that made you feel good while you are eating it and good for many years after. The pitch was farm to table fast food.

  • Sweetgreen will take the trends you see in e-commerce and apply them to food: You’ll be able to order food by voice, text, Slack etc… 

  • Why the restaurant industry needs more technology: Restaurants have a utilization problem. They are open for 12 hours and utilized [mostly] for only 2 hours. How can you leverage technology to capture more demand at that peak and then spread it into the shoulders? 

  • We designed our restaurants to be mobile-first: 50% of our business is done through our app. They just come in a grab the food fast. It’s growing rapidly because it is more convenient for the customer.

  • We don’t use delivery apps: We want to have a direct relationship with the customer.

  • We study the brand of Nike: Nike celebrates athletes. We celebrate the chef. 

  • Technology is just an enabler to meet the customer where they are: The consumer moves and you have to move with the consumer. Technology is just an enabler to meet the customer where they are. We don’t build technology for technology’s sake.

  • What do restaurants look like in 10 years: Food will become personalized. Parts of the restaurant can be automated. The need for hospitality will not go away.

  • Full podcast here.