RH 25
ZingermansAriPaul.png Zingerman’s
Zingerman’s Deli founders Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig have grown the related concepts into a community of businesses.

2018 RH 25: Zingerman’s

Seeding employee retention using open-book management

The 2018 class of Restaurant Hospitality's annual RH 25 looks at bold moves made by multiconcept operators — the companies that are crossing segments, shifting operations, building big or pivoting in some way. There is no ranking. These are companies to watch. See all concepts >>

HQ: Ann Arbor, Mich.

Leadership: Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, co-owners of individual businesses included below

Systemwide sales FY2017: About $63 million

Concepts: Zingerman’s Deli, Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Zingerman’s Creamery, ZingTrain, Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory, Miss Kim, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Zingerman’s Mail Order and Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

At a time when many companies are struggling to find and retain workers, diversified gourmet food company Zingerman’s maintains a lower turnover rate than the industry overall — in part due to the company’s practice of sharing its finances with workers and engaging them in discussions about the business, according to Veretta Nix, director of Zingerman’s department for people.

The company practices open-book management, a technique that has helped the iconic deli grow into a diverse collection of businesses, all developed from within by staff members.

Throughout the company, employees meet with management in team “huddles,” where they can ask questions about how numbers are calculated and bring up other issues, and are even encouraged to attend huddles in other areas of the business.

“We think that, through open-book management, leaders build respectful relationships with team members,” said Nix. “Engaging employees in the success of the business allows them to feel valued beyond the hours served on a specific shift.”

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