Get All Access for $5/mo

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.



Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Restaurant Influencers is also supported by AtmosphereTV - TV to Enhance Your Business. Try AtmosphereTV.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.


Are Your Business's Local Listings Accurate and Up-to-Date? Here Are the Consequences You Could Face If Not.

Why accurate local listings are crucial for business success — and how to avoid the pitfalls of outdated information.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Money & Finance

Day Traders Often Ignore This One Topic At Their Peril

Boring things — like taxes — can sometimes be highly profitable.


Want to Be More Productive Than Ever? Treat Your Personal Life Like a Work Project.

It pays to emphasize efficiency and efficacy when managing personal time.