Fast-casual ‘bowl’ style darling Sweetgreen made its market debut on November 18th, with shares surging upwards 91% and giving the company a valuation of $5.5 billion. Prices were originally open for public offering at $28 a share, reaching a peak of $52 before dipping now to $40 as of the close of market November 26.
Founded in 2006 by then-Georgetown students Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet, and Nathaniel Ru, the salad chain has become of the most sought-after brands on the market. Offering a spectrum of trendy ingredients to appeal to health-conscious millennials, Sweetgreen now has well over 100 locations in twelve states across the United States. They’re known as early champions of the efficient app ordering with in-person pickup; stores showcase massive built-in shelves ready to fill with neatly labeled and packaged orders.
With seasonal and locally conscious offerings, Sweetgreen touches on a new generation of eaters that want to feel in touch with local agriculture. Celebrity partnerships have also played a key role in their ‘it’ factor success. They’ve worked with a broad range of influencers that cater to their demographic of young 20 and 30-somethings who crave healthy foods as much as they crave convenience: tennis icon Naomi Osaka, rapper Kendrick Lamar, Peloton instructor Ally Love, Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters, and Chefs Dan Barber and David Chang. From 2010 to 2016, they even sponsored a music and food festival called Sweetlife that featured an all-star lineup with artists like Drake, Solange, Tove Lo, and Vince Staples.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand also partnered with World Central Kitchen to donate over 400,000 meals to frontline workers nationwide. With their socially-conscious strategy and culture-forward marketing, Sweetgreen has cultivated an expansive and loyal customer base through their customizable bowls. Though revenue has fallen, likely related to an increase of work-from-home millennial and Gen Z employees no longer frequenting Sweetgreen locations near their corporate offices, the public offering shows that the brand name remains strong.
Sweetgreen trades on the New York Stock Exchange as SG.