Sanjiv Razdan

Sanjiv Razdan is a global consumer brand leader and proven expert in the restaurant and foodservice industries. He is the Founder, Chair, and CEO of GLEAM Network, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and leadership development to the underserved community within the foodservice industry.

In addition to this, Sanjiv also serves as an Advisor at Ono Food Co. and a Board Member at Bluestone Lane.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Sanjiv Razdan talks about his former position as COO at sweetgreen, a health-conscious restaurant chain
  • Sanjiv’s experience growing up in India and starting his career at Sheraton Hotels
  • The story behind Sanjiv’s 20-year career with Yum! Brands, the Owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and more
  • What is the future of fast casual and full dining in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Sanjiv discusses the power of personal and professional mentorship

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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Episode Transcript

Prologue  0:03

This is the Always Direct Podcast and we talk with movers and shakers in this world to learn about the ups and downs they went through to get where they are now. Let’s get started with the show.

John Rayyan  0:16

So Hello, everyone, and thank you for watching the Always Direct Podcast my today, my guest today is Sanjiv Razdan. And he’s got an amazing story and tons of experience in many different areas of the restaurant and the hospitality space. He’s worked with Yum! Brands Sheraton Hotels, and most recently with sweetgreen, which I believe is the only unicorn restaurant in the history. Right? That’s true.

Sanjiv Razdan  0:38

I like certainly the one of the most recent ones. I don’t know if it’s the only one.

John Rayyan  0:43

I think it is the only one. I know. I don’t think anybody’s ever reached a that quickly as least. Um, so I thank you for coming on the show.

Sanjiv Razdan  0:52

My pleasure, John, I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.

John Rayyan  0:55

Absolutely. So, um, you know, are you working anywhere right now? Are you taking a little hiatus?

Sanjiv Razdan  1:01

I am running a nonprofit. At the moment, it’s called GLEAM Network. It’s actually a great opportunity to give back to the industry that I come from. Our mission is to provide mentorship and leadership development to the underserved community within restaurants and food service. Well,

John Rayyan  1:24

is that your organization? Is that are you on the board?

Sanjiv Razdan  1:27

Yeah, I have founded that organization. I obviously am also not at the chat of the board at the moment. And yeah, we’re very excited doing some good work making an impact, particularly in this year, right where a lot of people have needed help.

John Rayyan  1:46

Yeah, yeah, I know. It is a strange year. So So when one was how long were you with sweet peas?

Sanjiv Razdan  1:53

I was with sweetgreen.

John Rayyan  1:56

I’m sorry. Sweetgreen.

Sanjiv Razdan  1:57

Yeah. Sweetgreen for about two and a half years. I was. Gosh, I’ve wrapped up with them end of June this year. So about two and a half years. Yeah.

John Rayyan  2:08

Yeah. And it did you did you leave because of the old Corona? Or did you just decide to move on? What was the what was the reasoning?

Sanjiv Razdan  2:18

Yeah, no, I decided to move on had a fantastic run with them. Great company. And like you said, you know, unicorn driving crazy growth, and also one of the rare companies that made the transition from brick and mortar retail to more of a omni channel, digital food platform. But I felt it was time for me to go do something else. And I want to run my own company. And you know, that timing got in the way I didn’t anticipate COVID would be happening when when I agreed with the founders of sweetgreen to pathways and do something different. But yes, eventually I will go back to a different role, whilst I still keep my nonprofit world going.

John Rayyan  3:03

Excellent. Well, you know, I have done a little research for this interview, and you have a very interesting, amazing history. And you’re an inspiration to a lot of restaurant tours and people in the business, because you’re coming from India. And here you are right now CEO of one of the largest startups ever in the restaurant space. It’s pretty impressive. And I just wanted to talk a little bit about your early days. With you start off with Sheraton Hotels, if I’m not mistaken. Correct. Right. Well, first physics and then you draw you said no, not for me. Right?

Sanjiv Razdan  3:41

Actually, that, yeah, I look, I grew up in India, and my mom was a schoolteacher, dad was an architect work for the Ministry of Defense, we would move every three years. That’s the kind of life we were leading. But in middle class India at the time, you had to, you know, go become a doctor or an engineer, or, you know, a professional, some kind,

John Rayyan  4:02

I don’t think it’s changed till No,

Sanjiv Razdan  4:04

no, that’s not changed. And so, and I ended the sight of blood. So that’s, maybe I need to be an engineer, but I hated math and physics that turned the math eventually. And so that’s why I knew that’s not the career I wanted to do, and eventually landed up doing something so different.

John Rayyan  4:21

So why were you moving every three years?

Sanjiv Razdan  4:23

Oh, my dad was on a job that, you know, he would get transferred. And so as a family, you know, we pick up stakes and off we went.

John Rayyan  4:32

And so moving, so moving a lot, forced you to adapt, and and, and I heard you say this, but I’m just repeating it for the listeners on my channel. It forced you to constantly read the situation and adapt. Is that correct?

[continue to page 2]

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