Sweetgreen has become a lunchtime powerhouse. Now it wants to move into dinner.
The salad chain has purchased Galley Foods, a Washington-based meal delivery service that specializes in freshly prepared dinners. The companies did not disclose terms of the cash-and-stock deal announced Tuesday.
The acquisition is a first for Sweetgreen, which was founded 12 years ago by three 20-something Georgetown University graduates and has grown into a $1 billion chain with 90 locations. It recently began offering free deliveries to kiosks in offices, stores and co-working spaces through its Outpost service and says the Galley deal will help expand that service.
“The brands are very complementary,” said Jonathan Neman, Sweetgreen’s chief executive. “We both have a mission of connecting people to real food, and we realized that Galley could be a very good way to accelerate our delivery and dinner businesses.”
Sweetgreen will benefit from Galley’s technology and logistics expertise, he said. The company will also be able to save money by sourcing ingredients in bulk.
Galley, founded in 2015, delivers as many as 1,200 meals a day to Washington-area residents. Customers can place orders on its website or mobile app and schedule delivery within a one-hour window between 3 and 8 p.m. The meals are packaged for easy reheating and include such options as butter tofu with rice ($12), chipotle chicken quesadillas ($13) and steak with grilled poblano salsa ($18).
Sweetgreen and Galley will continue to operate as separate brands for the time being.
“Over the coming months, as we integrate the businesses more, we might think about doing more complementary offerings,” Neman said. “Dinner and family meals are an area Sweetgreen wants to learn more about.”
Neman, Nicolas Jammet and Nathaniel Ru opened the first Sweetgreen in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood three months after graduating from college, with $300,000 in funding and salad recipes they had fine-tuned in their dorm rooms. The company has expanded rapidly since. In 2016, it moved its headquarters to Culver City, Calif., as part of a broader expansion to the West Coast. It has raised $365 million in venture capital.
Earlier this year, Sweetgreen announced it would begin accepting cash at its stores again, reversing a two-year policy that critics said discriminated against customers who don’t use credit cards, debit cards or bank accounts.