Growth Strata•Gems Magazine Growth Strata•Gems Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 15

calm confidence, appreciation and abundance mentality that are found in any mutually rewarding relationship. 4. SUBSTANCE SELLS. Glitz will only get us so far; to achieve long-term business sustainability our product actually has to be good—not just have good marketing. In order to get the emotional buy-in and passion we’re looking for, those who buy from us have to understand why our products are distinctive, why they cost what they cost and how they will make their lives better. 5. DEFINITELY SWEAT THE DETAILS. Ideas are wonderful and all, but when it comes down to the food, what we serve does have to taste good every day in the real world, not just in the test kitchen. In order to make this happen we have to watch the details. All the time. In the food business, maintaining outstanding quality is a lot of work—and it can all come apart at a moment’s notice. Just because we made one good meal doesn’t mean the next one will be good, too. All it takes is someone forgetting to add the salt, or serving tepid soup from a steam table and before we know, a guest is having a way-less-than-stellar experience. the morass of the middle of the market. 7. IF THE FOOD ISN’T GOOD, PEOPLE AREN’T COMING BACK. Okay, maybe that’s not always true. But at Zingerman’s, from the day we opened back in 1982, we’ve believed that the burden was on us to produce something—food, service or, better still, both—that would make customers want to travel a long way to buy from us. And it’s still true today. When we score quality—we do it here on a 0 to 10 scale—we’re driving for the hard-to- hit 9s and 10s at the top of the chart. While 7s and 8s aren’t likely to cause customer complaints—that’s the range where people are usually perfectly satisfied—we want to sell stuff that leaves people talking and shaking their heads in a good way. While we never get it all right, and we know everything we do can be improved upon, it’s those 9s and 10s that have taken us to where we are today. They are also what make customers start thinking about coming back not long after they finished their lunch. To be clear, in closing, I don’t think anyone has to do any of the seven things I’ve listed here in order to be successful. But I do think these seven steps can make a difference. A few years ago I was in Calabria visiting with a talented cheesemaker. As we were finishing lunch, after discussing the details of cheesemaking and tasting a bunch of terrific cheeses, he leaned over and said, “People ask me if I believe in luck.” I paused, having not a clue where he was going with this story. “I tell them, for sure, I believe in luck. But I find the harder I work, the luckier I get!” I’m with him. When we achieve all seven of these steps, sales seem to get stronger, the staff seems more engaged and the bottom line tends to look a whole lot better. I guess then that seven really is a lucky number. u 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. 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 and Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Part 2. 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. 6. KEEP GETTING BETTER. While we may have made great things happen for nearly 30 years here, there’s still no way we can happily sell customers the same sandwich tomorrow that we sold them yesterday. Anyone who’s committed to greatness in the food business knows there’s no resting on laurels; if our food isn’t getting better then we’re sinking into FALL 2017 | 15