October 24, 2023

October 26, 2023

5YF Episode #1: Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman

Robotic restaurants, vertical farming, drone delivery, and the future of healthy eating w/ Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman

5 year frontier

Episode Transcript
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Your next salad could be grown in a building 3 stories in the sky, prepared by a robot, and delivered via drone. Sound like classic Sci-Fi? It’s not - Sweetgreen (NYSE: SG) has already put this into production and is starting to roll it out across their 200+ locations. I sit down with their CEO to discuss the future of food in our debut 5 Year Frontier Episode.

Eventually all of our new restaurants, and much within the industry, will be automated.

What you’ll hear:

🧬 Fast food as healthcare

🦾 The Infinite Kitchen, a first in robotic food production based on MIT technology

🌱 Vertical farming for supply chain resilience

🚦Sweetgreen OS and the gamification of work

🛰️ Partnering with Zipline to pioneer drone delivery ♾️ And plenty more!

We built the Sweetgreen OS — a mission control for the restaurant…a GPS for the kitchen.

Our guest:

Jonathan Neman is co-founder and CEO of Sweetgreen (NYSE: SG), a delicious and much loved chain of salad restaurants. He and his buddies started Sweetgreen in college and have grown it to over 200 locations, generating half a billion in annual revenue and taking it public on the NYSE in 2021. Sweetgreen has built a reputation of being ahead of the technology adoption curve, developing much of it in house and before the rest of the industry, all while staying authentic to its mission of scaling healthy eating and earning a loyal customer following.

1 in 3 Americans eat fast food every single day…the negative cost is $2 trillion — $1T on our economy and $1T on our health.

My takeaway:

Sweetgreen looks at cost structures as opportunities to automate and is a signal where the fast food industry is headed. Labor can be automated with robotic food preparation allowing for quality control and customer engagement to be handled by humans. Human workers are then supplemented by gamified work processes governed by a continuously optimizing restaurant Operating System. The result is faster through put and greater opportunity to personalize to a customers tastes or health profile. Ghost kitchens run in parallel to serve remote customers with hatches in the wall for quick drone dispatch and just in time delivery. Suddenly a physical restaurant takes on a far more dynamic and multi-output staging facility. We knew this was coming for retail stores in the next five years but to see it in the more challenging setting of food showcases just how pervasive advanced automation will become in our near future.

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