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A Summary of

What Sweetgreen Can Teach Startups About Scaling Intimacy  

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First Round Review
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Scale and intimacy are hard to balance

Sweetgreen uses intimacy at scale to expand while maintaining relationships with customers, partners & employees. There are 4 core principles: 1. Slow down to speed up. 2. Study the community. 3. Embrace modularity. 4. Thrive on collaborations. Sweetgreen goes straight to farmers instead of centralized distributers. Their complex supply chain reinvented fast-food business. There are 2 tactics for transparent local sourcing: 1. Go deep to build supplier relationships that last. 2. Open up with blockchain.

Sweetgreen maintains intimacy through technology

Around half of orders are from their app. Their digital process focuses on: 1. Content forward: customers “order with their eyes” with good descriptions and photos. 2. Personalization: experience can be maximally customized.

Sweetgreen invests heavily in local social impact projects

“Leave people better than they found them” is Sweetgreen’s mantra. Leaders focus on retaining employees in a supportive environment & building a team that thrives with change. There are 4 tactics for nurturing a community culture that scales: 1. Intention to kick off the day: build team with daily ritual 2. Shark Tank for salads: encourage team to contribute ideas 3. Nudging with new tools: improve team experience with software 4. Staying tethered as a founder: stay well-versed in the whole business as a founder

Focus on getting stronger & saying no, not just expansion.

Meaningful connections & relationships with internal and external customers are key to intimacy at scale.

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