- Sweetgreen expanded its entree category with three protein plates available nationwide, the company said in a Tuesday press release.
- The Miso Glazed Salmon, Southwest Chicken Fajita and Hot Honey Chicken plate mark the company’s first major entree category expansion in three years.
- Sweetgreen’s latest menu development is part of the chain’s strategy to offer guests more options for dinner, since roughly 35% of its customers order for dinner, per the release.
During a 2022 pilot, Sweetgreen found that 75% of participants surveyed said additional options outside of salads and warm bowls would increase the frequency of ordering during dinner, according to the press release. Since the addition of its Chicken + Chipotle Pepper Bowl, the company has been looking to add more hearty options to its menu, CEO Jonathan Neman said during the company’s July earnings call.
Last year, the company added desserts to its core menu with the addition of its Crispy Rice Treat. Earlier this year, Sweetgreen said it would partner with extra virgin olive oil suppliers Bari Olive Oil Company and Texas Olive Ranch for cooking oil for all its proteins, grains and vegetables. It is looking into using avocado oil as well. Sweetgreen also added catering in March after slowly rolling out the service in select markets at the end of 2022.
“We are committed to evolving our menu with fresh, healthy, delicious, and craveable food,” Neman said on the July earnings call. “Our menu strategy strives to attract new customers, engage our loyal guests, and drive additional day parts and occasions.”
In addition to its protein plates, the company also moved its BBQ Chicken Salad and Italian Chopped Salad, typically summer salads, to its core lineup. Its Elote Bowl is also now available to order online all year long, according to the press release.
Coinciding with its menu expansion plans, the company brought on Chad Brauze as head of culinary during the summer to oversee menu development and innovation. He has 20 years of experience and has worked at Burger King and Chipotle in the past.
Sweetgreen has also been working on ways to automate its kitchen operations. The restaurant plans to have all of its new restaurants automated with its Infinite Kitchen system within the next five years. The company said in an email to Restaurant Dive that the system can also prep and assemble the new protein plates.