Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman’s on vision with love and humility

by Ana Lopez

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman’s community of businessesused visionary and time-tested beliefs to grow the Zingerman’s brand in big, but thoughtful ways.

Despite great success in the restaurant industry, Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI, has no food background.

“My mother was a good person and teacher, but not a good cook. No one in my family did business.” Ari Weinzweig tells Restaurant influencers presenter Shawn Walchef from CaliBBQ Media.

The transition from line chef to owner was a huge learning experience that provided Weinzweig with valuable lessons that he has implemented into the company’s vision and fundamental pillars.

One of those lessons is that love is important for the spirit and growth of the organization.

Although leading with love is not often part of a company’s way of working, it has become an irreplaceable element in Zingerman’s culture.

“I’ve come to believe that love is a natural by-product of a healthy organizational ecosystem,” says Ari Weinzweig. “I’ve really come to understand how much it impacts the food, it impacts the guest experience.”

That intentionality has also been the dominant feature of Weinzweig’s growth plans for Zingerman’s.

Initially started as just a delicatessen, the organization has gone on to create Zingerman’s Bakery and passed their knowledge on to the Zingerman Community and others through Zing train.

The multiple entities are the realization of a vision that Weinzweig and company took the time to write down. This allowed the company’s growth to align with their intentional vision.

“If you want to get gigantic, great. Do it.” says Weinzweig. “But do it because it feels right to you, and because you think you want to show up in the world.”

Deliberate growth, tangible vision and a foundation of humility have driven the Zingerman company’s decision-making process to date, and will continue to do so, according to Weinzweig.

Ari Weinzweig and company have been plotting the future for many years.

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