Satisfaction Guaranteed: How Zingerman’s Built a Corner Deli into a Global Food Community

Micheline Maynard. Scribner, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-982164-61-4
In this stale hagiography, journalist Maynard (The End of Detroit) chronicles how the specialty food store Zingerman’s went from “a single crowded corner deli in a leafy college town to a $65 million business.” She writes of the company’s founding in 1982 in Ann Arbor, Mich., by friends Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig and details how it evolved into a major force in the gourmet food industry, gaining renown for its dedication to customer service and thoughtful treatment of employees. While Maynard clearly admires the business (comparing it to “some of the world’s most successful companies, especially Toyota”), readers may find the niche store’s business model more tiresome than inspiring. The owners’ purportedly unique “Visioning” process, for instance, recommends that one’s “effective vision” be “inspiring,” “strategically sound,” “written down,” and “communicated”—four conditions that, on the whole, seem pretty basic. The same could be said about Zingerman’s “12 Natural Laws of Business,” a list of ideas the company operates under, which includes such banal points as “Profit is good” and “Greatness takes time.” Equally bemusing is the way in which Maynard describes the impact of Covid on the shop’s customers, who felt an “emotional loss” due to “the absence of the big menu boards with... fun sandwich names.” This one’s reserved for Zingerman’s zealots only. Agent: Irene Goodman, Irene Goodman Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/22/2021
Release date: 02/01/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3930-2
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