HOW IT ALL GETS THERE
Keany Produce Co. in Hyattsville, Maryland
THE VOLUME Keany delivers produce six days a week, to all 32 East Coast Sweetgreen locations.
THE CHALLENGE When most restaurants want, say, lettuce, they specify a certain volume, not a source. Sweetgreen specifies primary and secondary suppliers that meet its standards—but the onus is on Keany not to mix up the cases from different suppliers once they’re brought back to its sorting facility. “We’re required to be fully transparent on all products. It’s a painstaking process,” says founder and president Kevin Keany.
THE SOLUTION By midnight every night, the distributor must log into Sweetgreen’s proprietary supplier portal and note which stores are getting lettuce from the primary supplier and which are getting it from the secondary supplier so the chalkboard in every Sweetgreen store is up to date. Keany says getting the systems in place to do this kind of reporting took two to three months, and the company created two positions just to do the tracking. “We don’t do this for anyone else,” he says. “It turned our selection process upside down.”
THE PAYOFF Despite the extra upfront expenses of taking on Sweetgreen as a client, Keany says it has boosted net sales. Thirty-two Sweetgreen stores is a “very sizable account,” he says.
DAIRY DELIVERY A Keany Produce truck picks up Sweetgreen’s weekly shipment of goat cheese from FireFly Farms Creamery (see page 64).