Inc. (USA) - - MONEY -

Since their un­der­grad­u­ate days, Sweet­green’s co-founders have shared the chief ex­ec­u­tive role—and one gi­ant desk. Ten years later, they’ve di­vided and con­quered nine mar­kets.


Cre­ative brand­ing and de­sign

STARTUP GENES Ru’s dad em­i­grated from Tai­wan and started an L.A. busi­ness im­port­ing goods from Asia.

LEAD­ER­SHIP LES­SON Al­ways hire ahead of the curve. The co-founders waited un­til they had opened three stores be­fore hir­ing any cor­po­rate staff. “You boot­strap a lot of things your­self in the be­gin­ning, but it was just the three of us,” Ru says. “We needed some help.”


Food and bev­er­age op­er­a­tions

STARTUP GENES With par­ents on New York City’s restau­rant scene, Jammet in­terned for chef Joe Bas­tianich and restau­ra­teur Danny Meyer.

LEAD­ER­SHIP LES­SON Sweet­green’s sec­ond store was a ghost town—un­til the co-founders started blast­ing mu­sic and sam­pling food out­side. “Never waste a cri­sis,” Jammet says. “Shit is go­ing to hap­pen. Flip it and make a pos­i­tive out of it.”


Tech, real es­tate, and fi­nance

STARTUP GENES His par­ents em­i­grated from Iran and started an L.A. tex­tile man­u­fac­turer. In high school, Ne­man sold day plan­ners and ran a tu­tor­ing busi­ness.

LEAD­ER­SHIP LES­SON When Sweet­green ac­cepted its first VC fund­ing, it switched from geo­graphic ex­pan­sion to devel­op­ing an openkitchen lay­out and on­line or­der­ing. “Some­times you have to slow down to speed up,” Ne­man says.

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