D.C.-based salad chain Sweetgreen has picked up $35 million in a fresh round of funding that it plans to use to expand across the country, the company said Wednesday.
The restaurant already counts locations in Boston, New York and Philadelphia and opened its first West Coast outlet in Los Angeles last year. It plans to open a second L.A. location in Santa Monica next month, as well as a third restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., by the end of the year, said co-founder Jonathan Neman.
Sweetgreen has 31 locations and more than 1,000 employees, he said. The number of outlets is expected to grow to 40 by the end of the year and the company plans to hire up to 300 new employees. The chain plans also to open new locations in the Washington area this year and expand to two more cities next year, according to Neman. He said the company had not identified the new markets yet.
The latest round brings Sweetgreen’s total funding to $95 million since it opened its first location in Georgetown eight years ago. T. Rowe Price led the investment round, along with existing investor Revolution Growth, the D.C.-based venture capital firm.
Sweetgreen plans to also use the money to invest in technology that improves the customer experience and beef up its supply chain, Neman said. The company is set to release a mobile app later this year.
The salad chain also wants to use the capital to develop its brand and promote healthy eating, according to Neman. Sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet recently accompanied First Lady Michelle Obama to Milan as part of a U.S. delegation on food and development issues.
‘We want to use this funding to raise awareness on the choices we make about the food we eat and where it comes from,” said Neman.