Salad Chain Sweetgreen Expands into the Suburbs

Image: Sweetgreen

Salad chain Sweetgreen plans to open a drive-thru restaurant in Highlands Ranch, Colorado next year. A move accelerated by the pandemic, the company plans to move beyond cities and into suburban areas.

Founded in 2007, Sweetgreen has raised more than $500M in funding. Its most recent investment, a $150M round in September of 2019, valued the company at $1.6B.

A favorite among city-dwellers and office-goers, Sweetgreen took a hit as work-from-home became the new normal. Recent months took a toll on the salad operation:

  • Sweetgreen laid off 20% of corporate employees.
  • Some locations saw business decline by 40–80%.
  • The chain closed or consolidated 21 of 105 restaurants.

Looking ahead: Despite opinions declaring the death of the $15 salad, Sweetgreen hopes its digital app, accounting for 70% of orders during the pandemic, and drive-thrus can help right the ship as we put 2020 behind us.