Sales have also grown dramatically in recent months, with revenues up by 51% in the current fiscal year to $243 million through Sept. 26, as the chain bounces back from pandemic-influenced sales declines in 2020. It has lost $87 million so far this year, according to its filing.
Sweetgreen stated it sees “significant market opportunity” for brands aligned with changing consumer preferences, including an increased focus on health and wellness; a shift to plant-based diets; rapid adoption of digital and delivery; and stronger consumer connections to purpose-driven brands.
Sweetgreen stated it plans to build on its momentum at the intersection of these trends in part by using newly built restaurants as “strategic foundations to attract new customers and expand the reach of our brand.” Sweetgreen intends to enter two to three new markets a year and will add 30 new stores this year. The company will also “densify” existing markets through additions of drive-throughs and pickup-only locations, it said.
The company will also look to foster new collaborations with cultural influencers. “To date, we have told bold stories with some of the largest celebrities across food, music, and sports, including Naomi Osaka, David Chang, and others,” the filing stated “We are confident that that these collaborations will continue to drive increased engagement with our community and put Sweetgreen in a rare class of culturally minded companies.”
Sweetgreen is also looking to build upon a social-media following of about 500,000 currently “which we believe is a core strength given the size of our current physical footprint,” it stated. “Social media allows us to tell deeper stories around our supply chain and our recipe development and connect with influential creators that speak to our mission. We intend to continue to leverage our social communities to amplify our voice and engage the next generation of healthy eaters who are aligned with our values.”
Sweetgreen’s creative director is Thomas Wilder who leads an in-house agency. Its chief brand officer is Nathaniel Ru, who is also one of the company’s three co-founders.
CEO Jonathan Neman, another co-founder, drew public ire earlier this year for now-deleted LinkedIn comments on the coronavirus, mask mandates and public health. In the post, Neman said the majority of hospitalizations due to COVID are obese and overweight people and called for health mandates over mask and vaccine requirements.