Sweetgreen occupies the higher echelon of the workplace lunch choices. It’s an aspirational order, the (shaky) promise that heat roasted portobellos or za’atar breadcrumbs supply extra diet, or simply extra sophistication, than a Panera sandwich. As Serena Dai wrote for Eater New York in 2019, Sweetgreen is the new energy lunch: “At the moment, an workplace employee who brings a Sweetgreen bowl again to their desk is signaling not solely that they’re culturally related and maintain progressive values, but additionally that they’ve the wage to spend $15 on a superbly composed bowl of uncooked greens.”
However staff are more and more pushing again on having to go to workplaces, in no small half as a result of that $15 price ticket hits totally different in no matter our financial system is to date. So naturally, bowl eating places are increasing their choices in an try and make unhappy desk lunch an anytime meals. To that finish, in a press launch, Sweetgreen introduced a line of recent “protein plates,” aka heat meats over grains, as a part of a “long-term technique to attraction to extra clients at dinner.”
Within the launch, co-founder Nicolas Jammet stated that “round 35% of our clients order Sweetgreen for dinner,” and that extra clients stated they’d if there have been heftier choices. There are three new choices, all obtainable starting immediately at Sweetgreens nationwide — miso glazed salmon, sizzling honey hen, and southwest hen fajita, served over grains and greens, with acquainted Sweetgreens dressings. This all seems like fairly normal lunch-chain fare, like what you’d discover at Cava or Dig and even Chipotle, the bowl manufacturers increasing and contracting on one another like dying stars.
However being Sweetgreen, there’s additionally a component of cultural cachet to this growth. The launch get together in New York featured Calvin Eng of Brooklyn hotspot Bonnie’s, and paired the plates with pure wine from Vivanterre. Jammet is effectively related within the New York restaurant scene (his mom, Rita Jammet, is a revered restaurateur), and beforehand, Sweetgreen has partnered with different “cool” cooks, together with Danny Bowein, Luciana Giangrandi, and Missy Robbins, to create bowls, in addition to with meals girlie manufacturers like Gohar World and Susan Alexandra. In an electronic mail to Eater, Jammet stated Eng is a daily Sweetgreen buyer, and that extra collaborations with cooks are within the works.
However as cool and progressive as Sweetgreen positions itself, the corporate has its issues. The dinner addition comes as 10 former Sweetgreen workers, all of whom establish as African American, are suing the corporate, alleging racial discrimination. Amongst different cases, a supervisor of the Gansevoort Road location in New York is alleged to have usually used the N-word and referred to as Black workers “monkeys.” The plaintiffs additionally say they have been handed over for equal compensation alternatives.
A spokesperson from Sweetgreen instructed Eater New York, “We take these accusations critically and don’t tolerate any type of harassment, discrimination, or unsafe working situations.” This isn’t the primary time Sweetgreen workers have spoken up in opposition to the corporate; in 2020, a former worker sued Sweetgreen, alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and workers sued the corporate a minimum of 3 times between 2014 and 2017, in accordance with Inc.
Sweetgreen shifting into the dinner house is yet one more instance of the eroding strains between quick informal and tremendous eating, indie and mainstream. Instagram recipe developer Nasim Lahbichi partnered with Cava. Carbone is a sequence. You may get Levain and Milk Bar cookies on the grocery retailer. Van Leeuwen made Hidden Valley Ranch ice cream. Intellectual goes lowbrow and lowbrow goes excessive, as a result of everyone seems to be making an attempt to seize each little bit of the market they will. It’s the perpetual development mannequin enterprise capitalists proceed to vie for, making a world during which manufacturers have to be omnipresent simply to outlive. One cease on your three sq. bowls a day.