Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise

Samuel Roche
May 1, 2024
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise

Sweetgreen and First Watch both went public in 2021 and have since steadily increased in popularity – and in store count. So with 2024 well underway, we checked in with the two brands to see how they fared in Q1 and to explore some of the factors underlying their success. 

Key Takeaways

  • Both sweetgreen and First Watch experienced robust YoY visit growth between April 2023 and March 2024, fueled both by expansions and by an increase in same-store visits. 
  • Through their respective expansions, sweetgreen and First Watch have succeeded in diversifying their visitor base without losing their core audience.

Sweetgreen’s Successful Expansion

Despite the dining challenges of much of 2023 and early 2024, sweetgreen posted impressive visits between April 2023 and March 2024, with the chain’s YoY traffic increases ranging from 21.4% to 51.6%. 

The remarkable visit surge was partially driven by the sweetgreen’s significant expansion, which could explain the slight dips in average visits per location for much of 2023 while consumers around sweetgreen’s newer restaurantes familiarized themselves with the brand’s offerings. But since December 2023, YoY visits per location have been positive – with the exception of a weather-induced slump in January – indicating that the chain’s newer venues have established themselves within their community. 

This narrowing of the gap between visits and visits per location may also signal the success of sweetgreen’s strategic shift towards prioritizing "quality over quantity” – slowing down expansion and investing in an enhanced customer experience.

Healthy Salads for Everyone

As a salad and grain-bowl chain, sweetgreen holds special appeal for wellness-focused younger consumers, including singles and members of the coveted Gen Z demographic. But as the chain has expanded, it has also succeeded in reaching new audiences.

Sweetgreen has been explicit about its goal of reaching Gen Z consumers. And analyzing the demographic makeup of the chain’s captured market reveals that sweetgreen’s trade area includes a relatively large share of one-person households (that tend to be on the younger side) But analyzing shifts in the chain’s captured market composition over the past five years also reveals that the share of one-person households has been decreasing – while remaining above the nationwide average of 28.0% – and the share of households with children has increased. So even as sweetgreen continues serving its core consumers, the chain’s expansion has also allowed sweetgreen to reach new audiences. 

First Watch’s Never-Ending Expansion

First Watch is also in expansion mode, and with plans to open some 50 more restaurants this year the chain shows no signs of slowing down. And, like sweetgreen, First Watch’s expansion has driven significant growth to the chain’s overall visits – and the chain’s average visits per location numbers are up as well, indicating that the new venues are finding a receptive audience. 

By staying nimble on its feet and continually changing up its menu offerings, First Watch has succeeded in differentiating itself from other breakfast chain giants – and appears poised to enjoy continued success throughout the year.

Expanding Its Reach 

First Watch’s expansion has also helped the company reach new types of diners even as the chain continues catering to its core audience. The share of the PersonaLive’s “Upper Suburban Diverse Families” segment in First Watch’s captured market has held steady over the past five years, even as the share of the “Blue Collar Suburbs” and “Urban Low Income” segments increased. It seems, then, that First Watch has also succeeded in leveraging its store fleet expansion to reach new audience segments – without sacrificing its core patrons.

Sweetgreen and First Watch Head into 2024 on an Upswing

Sweetgreen and First Watch’s expansions have helped the companies increase visits and reach new segments – without sacrificing their core audiences. What does the rest of 2024 have in store for the chains?  

Visit our blog at to find out. 

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Text Link
First Watch
Digging Into Darden: Q2 2024 Update
2024 Retail and Dining Trends Update
TRU and avid: Midscale Hotels on the Rise 
Diving Into Kroger: A Strong Start to 2024 Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound Office Index: May 2024 Recap
2024 Memorial Day Recap
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive
Eatertainment Chains: Full on Food, Fun, and Foot Traffic
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note