- Sweetgreen plans to acquire Spyce, a Boston-based restaurant company that uses a fully automated kitchen to create healthy bowls and salads, according to a press release. A purchase price for the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, was not disclosed.
- The fast casual salad chain intends to introduce Spyce's technology into its restaurants to improve the quality and consistency of the food it serves and improve the company's overall efficiency, Sweetgreen said.
- The deal, which will further boost Sweetgreen's technology offerings, follows the chain's appointment of a new chief technology officer last week. It comes two months after the salad maker confidentially filed for an initial public offering.
As Sweetgreen prepares to go public, the company has spent much of the last several years making changes to its improve its business and spur growth.
The restaurant plans to open its first drive-thru later this year and underwent a brand refresh in May to emphasize its food sourcing, sustainability initiatives, workforce and culture. In 2019, the company opened its Sweetgreen 3.0 store in New York City, which eliminated the assembly line. Instead, customers ordered via kiosks and orders were prepared in a kitchen. Sweetgreen also is one of the first restaurants to deploy blockchain within its supply chain.
The addition of Spyce will bolster Sweetgreen's image as a forward-thinking company, especially since the technology is expected to improve the experience of both customers and employees. Acquiring this technology will allow Sweetgreen's team members to focus more on preparation and hospitality. Stores will be able to invest more in training and development to support team members, and interested employees will be able to build their technology-facing skills by operating and maintaining Spyce's technology, the company said in the press release. The fast casual also expects to be able to create faster and more consistent orders. It also plans to enhance its menu outside of warm bowls, salads and sides.
Spyce, which has two units in Boston, was created by MIT graduates and opened in 2018, according to Boston Eater. Customers order their food via touchscreen and then Spyce's automated kitchen, dubbed Infinite Kitchen, makes various bowls within three minutes or less. The stores use minimal labor, but employees help customers through the ordering process, and with prepping food and adding garnishes to finished items.
Sweetgreen also has used acquisitions in the past to procure technology that it doesn't have in-house. In 2019, the chain bought Galley Foods as a way to gain access to the mela delivery platform's logistic technology, live courier operations and production capacity.