Sweetgreen repeatedly lied about being profitable

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Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

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  • In a 2018 podcast with Recode's Kara Swisher, Sweetgreen co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman replied "We are," when asked if the company was profitable.

  • Sweetgreen was referred to as profitable in 2018 and 2019 profiles by Forbes, Inc. and Eater. In its IPO filing, Sweetgreen reports losses of $31 million for 2018 and $68 million for 2019.

Inside the numbers: Some companies use a massaged earnings calculation called "adjusted EBITDA" to justify profitability claims, but Sweetgreen's adjusted EBITDA is also negative each year of the 2014-2020 period.

  • The company also told the NY Times last year that its 2019 revenue "topped $300 million," even though it was actually $274 million.

A Sweetgreen spokesperson declined to comment, citing regulatory restrictions.

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