D.C.-based salad chain Sweetgreen updated its iOS app in January, making it easier for customers to order its Kale Caesar or Rad Thai online. (An Android version does not yet support online ordering but does allow users to accumulate rewards.)
Customers with Apple devices can sign up for a Sweetgreen account in the app or connect an existing account. During setup, they can select from a list of common dietary restrictions (soy, nuts, dairy, gluten, meat and fish), which will be flagged when they view the menu and can be changed later in the settings.
Once ready to order, customers choose a Sweetgreen location (not every Sweetgreen accepts online orders; if a location does not, a red note appears under the address line). It’s then as simple as picking a salad off the menu and customizing if desired. The “Create Your Own” bowl option is similarly intuitive, clearly outlining the options for bases (greens and grains), toppings (herbs, vegetables, nuts, etc.), premiums (proteins, cheeses and “vegan-friendly”) and dressingsBeverages also can be ordered online. And in a shortcut that feels almost too ironic, swiping left on any menu item adds it to your cart.
Other perks include transferring nutritional info from Sweetgreen to the Apple Health app, earning rewards and — most important — not having to stand in line: Pay on the app with a credit card, choose a pickup time and the salad will be ready and waiting upon arrival. (Those concerned about storing credit card information can set up a PIN or TouchID to open the app, or even delete the card on file after every order.)
When I used the app, my salad wasn’t waiting at the designated “online pickup” area; it was behind the counter. But an employee promptly questioned, “Kara?” and the salad bowl — not mixed, so as to keep everything fresh — was mine.
The app’s design is sleek and streamlined, with a simplistic feel reminiscent of Uber. Perhaps not surprisingly, you can even summon Uber to pick you up and take you to your salad, an aspect that feels strange coming from a company that touts its sustainability (Is getting a ride to fetch a salad from a likely walkable distance really the best use of resources?) but does add to the convenience. If you choose to find your own way, the Sweetgreen app can also open directions in Google or Apple maps.
Occasional hiccups still exist: When trying to close the app one day, I found myself in a seemingly endless loop of entering my PIN before being able to shut it down.
Another evening, the opening screen remained stuck for a few minutes in a constant “loading” state before claiming my phone wasn’t connected to the Internet.
And the critical comments from some reviewers make me pause and wonder if my pleasant experience was the exception. Still, the updated Sweetgreen app makes ordering from the chain — something that already felt convenient — even more so.
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OPERATING SYSTEM: iOS
USER RATINGS: (183 ratings)
REVIEW’S BOTTOM LINE: Salads are a few convenient taps away, but beware of bugs.