Sweetgreen unveiled a new online-only platform that presents customers with a curated set of menu options that satisfy a variety of demands.

The new Collections platform offers guests a list of menu categories designed to better steer their purchasing decisions when ordering online or through Sweetgreen’s app. Lists will be added and adapted based on seasonal items and availability, and will eventually include menu recommendations unique to each user.  

“Collections is a way for us to really think about all the different need states and about our customers, and offer them a broader set of options they can select from that is more customized for them,” says Nicolas Jammet, cofounder and chief concept officer at Sweetgreen.

The Collections platform is the result of listening to customers and creating a more optimal experience based on their preferences, Jammet adds. For example, there are lists of dairy-free menu options and items with more seasonal ingredients. He says company research shows that 37 percent of Sweetgreen have dietary restrictions, while 73 percent say they are interested in finding new ways to incorporate seasonal ingredients.

Collections will be the first thing customers see in the brand’s native app—“Almost like a digital billboard,” Jammet says—and while it’s been under development for about two years, he says it’s become even more critical of a tool during the pandemic, now that the vast majority of orders are being placed digitally.

“As we think about customers whose routines have been disrupted or changed, and what they’re eating, when they’re eating, and where they’re eating it has all changed, we really have been focusing on the digital experience and … trying to think about how we can offer the most compelling experience for our customers,” he says. “Ultimately [we want] to create a more personalized and customized experience for each guest based on their needs.”

In a sense, the Collections platform also replaces team members in the stores who could guide customers through their orders and make recommendations. Similar to that in-store experience, guests have an opportunity to engage with more of the Sweetgreen menu than they might have before.

“When you look at our menu normally, it was pretty singular,” Jammet says. “It was 12 bowls and 12 salads or whatever signature lists we’d have. But we have 60 ingredients that could be combined in a million different ways and in ways that a lot of people don’t think of, or don’t think could be delicious.”

In recognition of the launch, Sweetgreen is rolling out an “Eat Like a Chef” curated menu, which features go-to Sweetgreen orders from chefs like Nancy Silverton, Kwame Onwuachi, and Michael Solomonov, among others. “When they’re not in their kitchens, when they’re not at their restaurants, what are they eating when they go to a place like Sweetgreen?” Jammet says.

On September 14, 100 percent of proceeds from sales from the “Eat Like a Chef” list will be donated to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, an organization working to support local restaurants through the pandemic.

Jammet says the Collections platform is similar to a music playlist that offers a glimpse at a person’s personality. Think of the “Eat Like a Chef” menu as a Spotify playlist of your favorite bands’ favorite songs.

“What Spotify has done for how you consume and discover music is very similar to how we think about how our customers can ultimately discover and engage with food,” he says.

This isn’t the first evolution to Sweetgreen’s menu during the pandemic. In April it debuted its first menu innovation in four years, Plates, which offers nine plated selections featuring an entree and sides similar to a traditional dinner plate.

Consumer Trends, Customer Experience, Fast Casual, Ordering, Story, Technology, Sweetgreen