Here's How Much Sweetgreen Rips You Off You When You Order Online (with data)

Here’s a Crispy Rice Bowl that I ordered in person at Sweetgreen.

A salad from Sweetgreen
My in-person order weighs 492 grams. Not bad!

Here’s the same item, but ordered online.

Another salad from Sweetgreen
I ordered the same thing online and it only weighs 373 grams 😡

Notice any difference? That’s right, the online order weighs 24% less.

Ever since returning to an office, I’ve been eating a lot of Sweetgreen. My office building is part of their outpost program that lets me order online and have my food delivered to the office for a fee of only 94 cents. It’s perfect when I haven’t brought a lunch and I have a busy day, or if I’m just feeling lazy. Needless to say, I took advantage of this quite a bit.

Screenshot of my Sweetgreen online order
Delivery fee of less than a dollar. The exact same meal delivered through Uber Eats costs a total of $21.83 😱.

One day I forgot to submit my online order before the delivery deadline, so I decided to walk over to Sweetgreen and order one of my favorite bowls in person. When I held the bowl, I noticed that it was… heavier.

Was I getting ripped off on all my online orders? Was I paying slightly more and also getting less food? Or was it all in my head? I decided to find out.

The next week, I put a kitchen scale on my desk and told my co-workers to weigh their meals each time they ordered anything from Sweetgreen. We set up a shared spreadsheet to track the data.

We agreed on some rules to make our measurements as consistent as possible, such as adding all sauces and lime squeezes from online orders to the bowl before weighing to make them match in-person orders as closely as possible. The containers used for online orders are identical to the ones used for in-person orders, so that doesn’t account for any of the difference.

Screenshot of spreadsheet showing Sweetgreen weight data
The first few weeks of data.

After a few days, the difference was clear. One day I had an online Shroomami Bowl weighing in at 436 grams, and the next day the same menu item weighed 606 grams (39% heavier) when I ordered in person.

We continued gathering data for months until we had a single menu item with 10 in-person orders and 10 online orders. Here’s how much 20 Crispy Rice Bowls weighed.

Screenshot of graph showing weights of in-person vs online orders
20 Crispy Rice Bowls. Half ordered in-person, half online.

For the Crispy Rice Bowl, the average online order weighed 16% less than the average in-person order. For the Shroomami Bowl, the difference was a staggering 20%.

If you want a filling meal from Sweetgreen, ditch the computer and order face-to-face.

© 2024 Sean Gransee