Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman's on Visioning with Love and Humility Interview with Ari Weinzweig about opening Zingerman's Delicatessen, the process of creating a vision for your business, and humbleness being vital to a company's ecosystem.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • Leading with Love: Ari Weinzweig did not enter the restaurant industry in a typical fashion. It only makes sense that he would approach the business from an atypical angle. He believes that making love a part of your business and operating harmoniously will have a tangible positive impact.
  • The Visioning Process: We've all heard about the importance of writing things down over the years. For Ari Weinzweig, the long-term vision he had for Zingerman's Deli started with him putting it in writing and teaching all in the company to do the same.
  • Humbleness is Vital to a Constructive Ecosystem: Ari Weinzweig speaks of the importance of humbleness. It is a trait that is important for all business and personal decisions.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses, used visioning and tried-and-true beliefs to grow the Zingerman's brand in big, but thoughtful, ways.

Despite finding great success in the restaurant industry, Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI, does not come from a food background.

"My mother was a good person and a teacher, but not a good cook. No one in my family was in business." Ari Weinzweig tells Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

Going from line cook to owner was a huge learning experience that afforded Weinzweig valuable lessons that he has implemented into the company's vision and foundational pillars.

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

Though leading with love is not frequently woven into a business' mode of operation, it has become an irreplaceable element to the Zingerman's culture.

"I've come to believe that love is a natural byproduct of a healthy organizational ecosystem," says Ari Weinzweig. "I really have come to understand how much it does impact the food, it does impact the guest experience."

That intentionality has also been the prevailing characteristic for Weinzweig's growth plans for Zingerman's.

Initially starting off as only a deli, the organization has gone on to create Zingerman's Bakery, and pass along their knowledge to the Zingerman Community and others via Zing Train.

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

"If you want to grow to be giant, awesome. Do it." says Weinzweig. "But do it because it feels right to you, and because it's how you believe you want to show up in the world."

Intentional growth, a tangible vision, and a foundation of humbleness have driven the Zingerman's company's decision process this far, and, according to Weinzweig, will continue to do so.

Ari Weinzweig and company have the future mapped out for many years.



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Wavy Line

Shawn P. Walchef is the founder of Cali BBQ Media, podcast host, business coach, and proud dad. Since opening Cali BBQ in 2008, he has grown his San Diego restaurant and media company into a global brand using digital tools and smartphone storytelling. 

As a restaurateur who opened during the Great Recession, Shawn learned to use the power of the Internet to stay in business. During the Pandemic, Cali BBQ developed a scalable growth plan that is three times more profitable than the traditional full-service restaurant model.
Email to get in touch.

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