Sweetgreen’s off-beat office culture

June 16, 2013

Like many young start-ups in the area, Sweetgreen prides itself on its off-beat office culture. The company’s 410 employees take part in regular outings, including quarterly concerts at the Merriweather Post Pavilion and trips to local farms. Earlier this year, the company moved its operations from a Dupont Circle townhouse to LivingSocial’s former offices in Chinatown, a space they have filled with couches, bicycles and neon signs. Other highlights:

After one year at the company, employees — “everyone from the dishwasher up to the CEO,” co-founder Jonathan Neman says — receive a pair of green Chuck Taylor sneakers. After their second and third years, employees are given Patagonia backpacks and Sweetgreen bicycles, respectively.

Once a quarter, guest speakers such as Ted Leonsis, Steve Case and Seth Goldman, the chief executive of Honest Tea, are invited to address employees. The company also requires all corporate employees to spend one day every quarter working at a Sweetgreen store.

A chalkboard in the office kitchen keeps track of employees’ personal and professional goals. There are mini-celebrations, typically with cake and wine, when employees meet their objectives. “We really believe in celebrating a lot of the smaller things — anniversaries, birthdays, any time someone meets their goals,” co-founder Nicolas Jammet said.

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