Today’s interview is with Ari Weinzweig is CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, a gourmet food business group headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Inc. Magazine described Zingerman’s as the “Coolest Small Company in America”. Meanwhile, they have been featured in the Harvard Business Review and on MSNBC for their business practices and Bo Burlingham in his book, Small Giants, cited Zingerman’s as a model for organizations that define success more creatively than just “getting as big as we can as fast as we can”. Ari joins me today to talk about what anarchy can teach us about leadership, culture and customer service, Emma Goldman, building a progressive business and what we should be thinking about when it comes to improving customer experience.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – We are moving from a ticketing age to a conversational age – Interview with Mads Fosselius of Dixa – and is number 336 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.
Here’s the highlights of my chat with Ari:
“Our goal is the freest possible expression of all the latent powers of the individual, which is only possible in a state of society where man is free to choose the motive, work, the conditions of work and the freedom to work. One to whom the making of a table, the building of the house or the tilling of the soil is what the painting is to the artist and discovery to the scientist, the result of inspiration of intense longing and deep interest in work as a creative force”.
Ari Weinzweig is CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, which includes Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Bakehouse, Creamery, Catering, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Coffee Company, Roadhouse, Candy Manufactory, Events at Cornman Farms, Miss Kim and Zingerman’s Food Tours. Zingerman’s produces, sells and serves all sorts of full flavored, traditional foods in its home of Ann Arbor, Michigan to the tune of $65,000,000 a year in annual sales. Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the 2006 James Beard Foundation and has awarded a Bon Appetit Lifetime Achievement Award among many recognitions. Ari is the author of a number of articles and books, including Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon (Zingerman’s Press), Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating (Houghton Mifflin), Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 1: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business, and Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 2: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3; A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Managing Ourselves. Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 4; A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to the Power of Beliefs in Business was released in summer of 2016. In 2017 Ari was named one of “The World’s 10 Top CEOs (They Lead in a Totally Unique Way)” by Inc. Magazine. In 2018 he released the pamphlet, “The Art of Business; Why I Want to be an Artist.” Another pamphlet, “Going into Business with Emma Goldman” came out in June, 2019.
Find out more at Zingermans.com, ZingTrain.com and Zingermanspress.com (You can also find many of the books at Google Books). Finally, say Hi to the folks at Zingerman’s and ZingTrain on Twitter @Zingermans and @ZingTrain and if you want to email Ari directly then his email is: ari at zingermans dot com.
Thanks to Adam Fagen for the image.