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Nicholas Jamet, chief concept officer for Sweetgreen, joins the podcast to discuss the brand's future in ghost kitchens and the menu expansion during coronavirus.

Most brands are trimming menus, but Sweetgreen’s big pandemic move meant broadening the menu by adding a whole new category

Find out how the brand’s digital and menu efforts are helping the fast-casual chain during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sweetgreen was founded by a group of Georgetown University students looking for food options that didn’t have to sacrifice quality, health, taste or convenience.

Co-founder and Chief Concept Officer Nicolas Jammet said he and his friends wanted a restaurant that fit into their lifestyle – and one that also evolve right alongside them. The first 560-square foot Sweetgreen opened 13 years ago on the Georgetown campus in a former burger shack.

Now at 110 units, the elevated bowl and salad brand has been evolving ever since. 

“Along our whole, 13-year journey we've really tried to reimagine the whole experience in getting food and trying to remove a lot of the friction that existed and make it more convenient,” Jammet said in our latest Extra Serving podcast.

That journey has involved building different formats, finding new ways to bring Sweetgreen to customers via its Outpost program and testing the emerging ghost kitchen space.

But over the last few months -- Sweetgreen is evolving faster than even the founders had ever imagined due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While other chains have trimmed their menu during the crisis, Sweetgreen broadened its food selection.

The Culver City, Calif.-based company accelerated the rollout of an entire new category, Plates, on its menu to meet the demand for heartier, dinner meals during the pandemic. These dishes, which feature center of the plate entrees like roasted steelhead trout and chicken chimichurri, landed on the menu in April -- the peak of stay at home orders across the country.

“It's really pushed us to stretch how fast we thought about broadening our menu,”Jammet said.

What other pandemic-fueled changes did the brand make?

Jammet tells us how Sweetgreen transitioned its office-centric Outpost program, what future restaurants might look in a post-pandemic world, and the role ghost kitchens might play in the chain’s future.

Listen to our podcast.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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