Before started, I have to clarify that I am not a healthy diet kind of person.
I prefer sweet desert to low fat fruits, prefer calorie-dense food like pizza and burger to green salad. Everyone knows me knows that I like salty, sweeter foods. I know this is not the healthiest eating habit, but comparing to eat healthy, I choose to eat happy! Always.
Living in New York, I have so many “unhealthy food” choices. So every time I passed a restaurant with people having super green salad bowls inside on my way to Bobst Library, I just passed it. It is a restaurant with big clear french windows. I can see the long salad bars and wood tables in it. Since it seems so healthy and tasteless, I never attempted to try it. Until one day, my friend and I got off from the 6 train at Aster Place and it started to rain outside. We ran for a while but the rain became bigger and bigger. As we quickly search for a place to hide, the “glass window salad shop” was there behind us. So thanks to the rainy day, I tired the super green salad bowl and that restaurant becomes my friend. I am surprised that salad can be delicious and healthy at the same time!
The name of that super green salad bowl restaurant is sweetgreen.
Founded in 2007 by 3 close friends in college, sweetgreen is a healthy restaurant serves cold and warm healthy salads. They focus on fresh ingredient, and only source local and organic ingredients from farmers they know and partners they trust. Sweetgreen also supports communities and creates meaningful relationships with them. They have a program called SweetGreen In School, which is going to local public schools and teach students healthy eating. Sweetgreen is not just a place to eat, its goal is to connect people with food, with purpose and passion.
It is great to know there are meaningful stories behind this brand. I like sweetgreen because it is delicious, and very healthy. Super suitable for me. And I have to say I really have a great user experience on its website and Apps.
(sum pic of web + App)
As clear as its physical stores, the sweetgreen official website is designed mainly in white and green. In the Home page, I can easily see the buttons “MENU”, “LOCATIONS”, “OUR STORIES” , and the most obvious one in color green – “ORDER ONLINE”. Under each button there is a page with fleshing photos and short sentences conveys its key message. Except for the easily access to ORDER ONLINE, another great design is at the bottom of the Home page. Same pop green with the ORDER ONLINE button, there is the MEET OUR NEW APP FOR IOS. I clicked in the first time I saw this and downloaded its App immediately.
Ordering from the sweetgreen website is a good experience. I like it always locates me and find the nearby stores before I place an order since I am always at different spots in New York City. The MENU page is definitely the highlight of the official website. Every bowl has detailed ingredients descriptions, prices and calories level listed under its featured photos. It is so clear to read, and with those photos, which is my favorite part when read the menu, I can easily know what is in the bowl. A lovely detail on the page is the DIET button at the top right corner. Under it is a drop down list that I can select the types of food that I prefer NOT to eat, such as diary and gluten, then items that contain significant amounts of these properties will be flagged with a red (!). Another thing I love about the sweetgreen is that I can customize my salad bowl. Click into the photos of each bowl I can easily exchange add or remove any ingredients. As I change items, the calorie and price change as well. Totally a professional healthy smart online menu!
However, the official website is not a perfect one, there are several places I feel uncomfortable while using. First, when choosing a store, there are pictures attach to each location. Some of them are the photos took outside that store, which is very identifiable, but some of them are very vague. For example, the picture of Astor place is a dozen of white bowls. This makes me feel much less real about the store and if every location has their outside store pictures, it would be easier and faster to choose. Customers perceive the pictures on the page first, good pictures bring good impressions and lead to better user experience.
Ok maybe I’m too detailed about the web design, but the next two things are truly annoying. One is the wired gap on the top of the MENU page. It cannot be seen when I first open the page, but as I scroll down the page and those colorful pictures scroll up, they will show in that gap and the page becomes messy. Really don’t understand why they leave a gap there. Another thing is that I think they should add CREATE YOUR OWN on the top of the menu in the ordering page. There are WARM BOWLS, SALADS and BEVERAGES, click them and it will quickly lead you to the according foods. But customization is one of the best features of sweetgreen, a big group of customers design their own salad bowls, so it should be added on the menu so customers can access it easily.
(pic of shortcomings)
Comparing to the website, I have a better experience of using sweetgreen App. Not much information required, I created an account on the App in less than 1 minute. The App has many great features I really love. Firstly, I can check order histories and save my favorite salad choice in the App, makes it really convenient and time-saving to place an order according to my eating habits. In addition, the SCAN TO PAY function exclusive on the app also follows the most updated App function, save my time and makes it easier when check out in store.
The App does have a rewards program. As a student, rewards programs can always attract me. But unfortunately, the rewards of sweetgreen seems very hard to achieve. Spending $100 can get the lowest level the GREEN STATUS, the rewards are receive free salad on birthday and donate 1% every time making a purchase. Not good enough right? What about the next level? The GOLD STATUS is when you spend $1,000. It means if I order a salad bowl of $12, I have to eat about 83 bowls of salads a year to reach the GOLD STATUS! The rewards are Surprise Swag and Invite-only events. Well, I don’t understand what the Surprise Swag is through its description, and I honestly think I will never know since I cannot eat that much salad bowls during a year, though I like sweetgreen a lot.
Another little detail I think the App can improve is the ORDER NOW button at the welcome page. The first time I open the App, there are two ORDER NOW button at the top and bottom of the screen. In the middle is CREAT AN ACCOUNT. Let customer see the order button is important, but put two out there is cumbersome. I strong suggest them to remove one and make the welcome page more clear and simple.
Personally I seldom use tablets and websites on my phone to place an order of sweetgreen. While preparing this blog I tried once and it is good cause the App on the tablet and mobile phone, its website on the phone and the laptop are very responsive to each other. If I am familiar with the App on my phone, I won’t feel strangeness about the App on my iPad. And almost all the element on the sweetgreen website, such as menu order, pictures and online order process are exactly the same with them in the App. When I open the web on my phone and click ORDER NOW, it skip to the App automatically.
All in all, I think sweetgreen did a good job on its omni-channel marketing and bring me a easy and convenient using experience. Cannot say I can reach the Gold Status in its rewards program, but I do order it a lot from my phones and set up a pick up time so I can have a ready to eat salad bowl when I arrive that particular store. But there are some little details that sweetgreen should pay more attention to, since no detail is unimportant when you try to attract more loyal customers through great online user experience.
Try sweetgreen website, mobile web and App!
And see you in my next blog! 💚