- Sweetgreen Chief Operating Officer Chris Carr will depart the chain on March 17 for personal reasons, the company announced Tuesday. Carr will work in an advisory capacity at Sweetgreen throughout Q1 2023.
- Stephanie Traut, Sweetgreen’s SVP of operations, will take over for Carr and report directly to CEO Jonathan Neman starting on Jan. 1. Sweetgreen hasn’t clarified if Traut will lead operations on an interim or permanent basis.
- Sweetgreen’s aggressive growth has raised its revenue and unit count, but losses have expanded apace, SEC filings show.
Carr led a simplification of the chain’s operations, Neman said in a statement, and helped prepare Sweetgreen’s ambitious development pipeline.
The chain aims to reach 1,000 units by 2030, according to its most recent quarterly filing. Sweetgreen’s footprint includes about 176 units, and the chain opened 26 net new restaurants in the last three quarters.
Since going public in 2021, Sweetgreen has employed a variety of strategies to boost sales, improve customer retention and accelerate development. The salad brand launched a subscription pass that offered discounts for its menu items in January, and added a gamified challenge element to its app and website to deepen diner loyalty. Those changes are intended to strengthen the brand’s digital offerings, which have been a strong driver of revenue for Sweetgreen, historically.
The company has also diversified its unit types, launching its first drive-thru restaurant in the Chicago suburbs in November, and adding a pickup-only location in Washington, D.C. in August. The different development models may make it easier for the company to expand quickly, though its pace of new openings hasn’t increased much year-over-year. In Q3 2021, the brand opened 10 new units. Comparatively, it opened 11 restaurants in Q3 2022, according to its latest 10-Q.
Sweetgreen’s new operations chief will be tasked with growing the company and pushing for profitability even as losses have expanded. In the first three quarters of 2021, the company lost $86.9 million on a revenue of $243.4 million. In the first three quarters of 2022, its losses rose to $136.6 million against a revenue of $351.3. Profitability has been a challenge for the company since its inception. Though Sweetgreen told news outlets it was profitable in 2018, according to Axios, the company has not achieved profitability according to GAAP measure or on an EBITDA basis.