Ari Weinzweig – Zingerman’s – Purpose Podcast 037

Ari Weinzweig Purpose Podcast quote
After episode 036’s interview with Kari Hughes from Buy the Change, she published a blog post aimed at her customers, thinking about Supply Push vs Market Pull. I referred her to episode 30 with Duncan Berry. Fun to make the connections!

This episode’s interview is likely to be one that we look back on and see I’ve referred to it often. Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor has a unique way of growing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Ari Weinzweig, co-founder, tells us about how they started 32 years ago with Zingerman’s Deli. The idea was that it would be unique, have food and service and be a great place to work. Unique means not copied from something else in New York, Chicago or Detroit and also that there would be only one. They’ve now grown to 9 Zingerman’s businesses (deli, roadhouse, creamery, coffee, training, etc.), 625 staff and about $50 million in sales this year.

The training company came from their core competencies (my word, not his) in customer service and vision-creation. They’re part-way through their 2nd 15-year vision and have a methodology that works for them that they love to share with others.

When I asked Ari about purpose, I was surprised that he wasn’t super clear. He referred to the Zingerman’s Experience from their mission, and then ultimately settled on the idea of leaving everybody better for the interaction with us than they were before they entered.

Zingerman’s Mission
We share the Zingerman’s Experience
Selling food that makes you happy
Giving service that makes you smile
In passionate pursuit of our mission
Showing love and care in all our actions
To enrich as many lives as we possibly can.

Just as I would never advise anyone to have 10 core values, though that many works for Zappos, I would never advise anyone to have such a long mission, though it clearly works for Zingerman’s. If they weren’t so successful with that they have, I’d recommend they simplify to something like To enrich as many lives as we possibly can. Perhaps such a simplification would help their people be even more clear than they already are?

Contact Information

3 thoughts on “Ari Weinzweig – Zingerman’s – Purpose Podcast 037

  1. Ted, I just listened to your interview with Ari (Podcast #37) and really learned from it. We’ll, it would be more accurate to say I was inspired by it, and I realized as I listened that I have some work to do in my own (purpose-driven but unexpressed) business. So thanks for the inspiration. I’d say more but I have some work to start. I’ll let you know when I’ve made some progress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s