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    Sweetgreen's Bold Plan to Disrupt the Delivery Business

  • The fast casual launched an in-house system to reinvent the model as we know it.

    Web Exclusive September 27, 2018 By Laura Zolman Kirk
    Sweetgreen
    In this world of third-party platforms having food delivered free delivery is a big selling point.

    Sweetgreen is disrupting delivery by launching a system called Outpost that will help relieve the need of third-party delivery services like DoorDash and provide its customers with free delivery of its fresh, made-to-order bowls and salads.

    “It is part of our initiative to meet customers wherever they are,” says Jonathan Neman, Sweetgreen CEO about the new initiative. “We’re always trying to make it easy and convenient to offer food that is healthy.”

    Essentially, Sweetgreen has developed an app and system of drop-off points to group deliveries, so that it can efficiently deliver multiple orders at once during set peak times.

    To start, the restaurant has partnered with larger companies such as WeWork, Nike, Headspace, and MeUndies, setting up drop-off locations in these companies’ offices for the benefit of their employees like a virtual cafeteria.

    “For the employer they get a really cool amenity of service for the employees,” Neman says. And unlike with catering, customers can order exactly what they want off Sweetgreen’s regular menu and use their loyalty points.

    Sweetgreen

    Currently there are 15 Outposts live today across the country in markets like New York and Los Angeles, and Sweetgreen hopes that number will increase to 100 by the end of this year.

    For official drop-off points—which can be assembled in offices, hospitals, schools, etc.—imagine a bookshelf unit. That’s it, really. Signs around the shelves share information about the app and ordering process—order by 11 a.m. for a drop off at noon, for example.

    There are also virtual drop-off points that don’t involve shelves that can be set up at an office’s front desk, for instance. And, in the future, Sweetgreen hopes to develop drop-off groupings for smaller parties interested in the Outpost system, as well.

    Currently there are 15 Outposts live today across the country in markets like New York and Los Angeles, and Sweetgreen hopes that number will increase to 100 by the end of this year.

    By the end of 2019, it will increase even more to 3,000 Sweetgreen Outposts.

    Neman says these Outposts have handled anywhere from 10 to 100 orders per post, with the capacity to do more or less if necessary.

    There is no cost to the company to place a drop-off Outpost in its offices, and interested parties for all forms of Outposts can sign-up online. “We want our customers to lead it to where they are,” Neman says.

    With this new initiative, Sweetgreen hopes to eliminate the deterrents customers can experience while trying to eat healthy on a daily basis. “People are saying that they love it, because it takes any of the friction of eating healthy away. Oftentimes, you want to eat better, but but it's hard to do,” Neman says. “Depending on where your office is, you have to leave—if you're walking or driving—you have to park and wait in line ... all of these things.”

    What Sweetgreen’s system does is bring the healthy food right to you—for free.

    In this world where third-party platforms are charging upward of $10 to have food delivered free delivery is a big selling point, Neman says.

    “We’re seeing a huge increase in frequency of existing customers and a lot of new customers, too,” he says. “It's a great way to introduce the brand to new customers who never have actually been to Sweetgreen.”

    Quality of the product is built into the backend of the system where food is made just in time, right before delivery. As most devileries feature a single route, food isn’t sitting for a long period of time. In most cases, Neman says, customers are getting it within 15 minutes of the food being made.

    Customer feedback says guests enjoy not having to worry about where to get lunch. Neman calls this the Joy of Choicelessness. “Oftentimes, we have to make so many decisions throughout the day and food is another one of those decisions that could be a really painful one.” That’s what got Sweetgreen asking how the company could make it easier on customers.

    “Our philosophy has always been to be obsessed with the consumer: really listen to them, get to know them, and stay as close to them as possible. This is our way of doing that,” he says.