Food & Bev

Sweetgreen’s newest New York City location ditches indoor dining

Mobile ordering has been a focus for the fast-casual chain, which filed its IPO this week.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Sweetgreen is on the move. The customers at its latest concept will be, too.

The fast-casual salad chain plans to open four new locations in New York City this fall, including one on Friday without indoor dining.

“We’ve evolved our customer experience with new safety standards that focus on crowd management and minimizing contact points,” Nicolas Jammet, Sweetgreen cofounder and chief concept officer, told Fortune. “We are building our stores with the flexibility to transform through the day to provide our customers and team members a safe environment.”

Catch me outside: Sweetgreen’s newest restaurant, located at the World Trade Center, will be 2,360 square feet and have a pick-up station for mobile orders. As Fortune notes, almost all Sweetgreen’s 140 locations nationwide have indoor dining, but the chain is banking on a speedy option for those heading back to the office.

  • Other forthcoming locations will be in Manhattan’s Midtown and Financial District.

Sweetgreen is far from the first chain to experiment with concepts that rely less on indoor dining and hype up their digital ops. Wendy’s recently announced a partnership with Google to enhance mobile ordering capabilities using AI and cloud tech like text-to-speech and maps. Blaze Pizza revamped its mobile app in September so that customers can watch their pizza being made.

  • IHOP’s fast-casual concept Flip’d, which opened in July, leans into its takeout and delivery offerings. Same goes for a new Panera location that comes with a two-lane drive-thru, upgraded kiosks, and mobile ordering.
  • Almost 60% of digital orders over the past 18 months were placed via mobile apps, according to a PYMNTS study of 4.3+ million restaurant orders. While on-premise dining has crawled back, digital revenue still accounts for 50% of restaurant sales.

Zoom out: Sweetgreen filed an IPO on Monday and announced plans to double its footprint in five years. While the company ended its fiscal year on December 27 with a net loss of $141.2 million on $220.6 million in revenue, same-store sales have risen 21% as of September 26.

Mobile ordering has been a focus for Sweetgreen via digital channels like its app. The company’s digital revenue, as a total percentage, has grown to 75% as of fiscal year 2020, up from 30% in 2016, per the S-1 filing.—KM

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