Q&A with Fruitive

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Gregg Rozeboom, Founder of Fruitive!

What does the Washington D.C. community mean to you?

For many people, Washington, D.C., is associated with politics, but for me, as a small business owner in the heart of downtown, this is my neighborhood. My customers are some of the kindest, most genuine people you'd ever meet. The money-hungry, no-values stereotype is such a small percentage of our community that it's barely noticeable. Most of us are just real people who are honored to serve each other and our country.

How is your company rethinking innovation?

For many people in the restaurant industry, innovation is about another month of new product or program launches. But for me, innovation is about forging a daily connection between our team members and our customers, hyperfocused on their health and wellness.

What fun facts may your fans and customers be surprised to learn about?

Fun fact 1: In the restaurant industry, the average employee stays with a company for less than a year, but our average D.C. employee stays for over five years. Fun fact 2: I have five kids: two in college, one in high school, one in junior high, and one in elementary school. Fun fact 3: When Fruitive opened in 2012, over 40 percent of our sales came from fresh pressed juices. Today, it's less than ten percent.

Why do you think highlighting community innovators is important?

We've heard of the growth mindset from Carol Dweck. Typically, we think of a growth mindset on a personal level, but the same mindset should apply on a community level. It's community innovators who help us see how we can always keep improving and growing. We need to have a growth mindset as a community.

What is one thing you wish others understood more about you?

Some people think that just because our products are more expensive, we must be making a lot of money. But, the reality is that we care so much about investing in high-quality ingredients that, like many small business owners, we have to work very hard to make a profit. When I was recently asked if I was willing to lower the quality to get more customers in the door, my response was immediate: I would rather shut down than forgo my mission and lower the quality.

What are the key trends shaping the future of your industry? What are you excited about, and what are you worried about?

The key trend is heading in the right direction in the sense that people are looking for healthier options. Our concept was very innovative when we first launched in D.C. as the first certified organic plant-based restaurant in the DMV. I'm excited about the growing desire for healthy breakfast and lunch options. However, I am concerned about the rising cost of quality ingredients and the ability for us to offer healthy food at a reasonable price.

What advice would you share with those who want to build a meaningful business like you?

If you're building a for-profit business, the idea that you would be one of the famous tech companies that lose billions of dollars while they're growing is as rare as winning the lottery. The rest of us need to keep our priority on making a profit as quickly as possible and sustaining profitability as we pursue our mission to make a positive difference through our business.

What's your advice on building a good company culture? What values are important for your company, and how did you build that culture?

One of the questions I ask every interviewee is what are your top three strengths, followed by what are your top three areas for improvement? It's essential to me to have team members who recognize that they have strengths and can contribute to the team to make us stronger, but they also have areas in which they can improve—creating a culture mindset of growth and confidence in that growth. Secondly, it's not hard to be kind to each other. Yes, we have rules and standards that need to be enforced, but they can be held and promoted with kindness.

What podcasts/books/movies do you like to watch for new inspiration?

One of my all-time favorite podcasts is "How I Built This," and more specifically for this industry, "The Exam Room." Since I have a vegan restaurant, I am inspired by popular plant-based world documentaries, such as Forks Over Knives. As for books, I love all the classics. They help me to take a step back from the daily grind and remember what life is all about. My recent favorites include The Grapes of Wrath, Gulliver's Travels, and The Little Prince.
Picture of FRUITIVE

FRUITIVE

Fruitive started when I received a phone call from my parents asking for a restaurant suggestion. I searched for a healthy restaurant but couldn't find one. So, I decided to start a company with the vision to promote health and wellness to family, friends, and neighborhoods through plant-based foods.

Don't miss out on the inspiring talks and ideas at TEDxLogan Circle 2024 – secure your tickets today!