HOW IT ALL WORKS

Inc. (USA) - - MONEY -

Un­like most tra­di­tional fast-food chains, Sweet­green es­chews the ef­fi­ciency of cen­tral­ized food sourc­ing and pro­duc­tion. Its prepa­ra­tions to en­ter a new mar­ket be­gin a year in ad­vance. Be­fore fi­nal­iz­ing a restau­rant lo­ca­tion, the com­pany’s sup­ply-chain team is on the ground vet­ting farms and pitching dis­trib­u­tors to come on board—a tough sell when there is only one lo­ca­tion to ser­vice in the be­gin­ning. But the com­pany is up front about the fact that it can’t run a na­tional restau­rant chain and source ev­ery­thing or­gan­i­cally, lo­cally, and from mom-and-pop farms. When a veg­etable is in sea­son, it likely comes from a re­gional sup­plier; when it’s not, it comes from a big sup­plier in Cal­i­for­nia. That’s prac­ti­cal now that Sweet­green has lo­ca­tions in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Philadel­phia, New York City, Bos­ton, Chicago, L.A., San Fran­cisco, and Mary­land and Vir­ginia.

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