What impels a corner delicatessen with less than 10 employees to grow into a community of 10 businesses with over 700 employees and almost 60 million dollars in revenue?
If you asked Ari Weinzweig, CEO of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, he would tell you that the number one thing is having an inspiring and strategically sound Vision. At Zingerman’s they teach Visioning to every level of their organization and use it to define success for events big and small – from opening a new business to planning a wedding to getting a new dishwasher for the office!
Listen below to a conversation with Ari, where he dives into why visioning is key and how to follow a “recipe” for writing your own vision for your next project.
About Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches. Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 700 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue.
Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 3 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and The Power of Beliefs in Business (Part 4). Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker and in 2015 Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan Spring Commencement.
Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.
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