Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services Magazine | Page 15

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 .
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 .
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 the morass of the middle of the market .
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 . +
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 . And the newest business , Miss Kim , which serves great tasting Korean fare . Zingerman ’ s produces and sells all sorts of full flavored , traditional foods in its home of Ann Arbor , Michigan to the tune of $ 60,000,000 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 . In 2017 Ari was named one of “ The World ' s 10 Top CEOs ( They Lead in a Totally Unique Way )” by Inc . Magazine . Zingtrain . com