our first kinda-sorta-ambiguous first public press exposure: page 9 in The Ann Arbor Observer
After building a reputation around reubens, olive oils, macaroni and cheese, and other deli and gourmet delicacies, Zingerman’s is cooking up something different: staffers are lobbying to add a Tunisian eatery and an affordable Asian restaurant to its “community of businesses.” Zingerman’s stated goal is to have fifteen to eighteen businesses in the Ann Arbor area by 2020, up from eight today. “We have a few in the pipeline right now,” says co-founder Paul Saginaw, who cautions that many ideas never come to fruition. However, Maggie Bayless, managing parnter of ZingTrain, told a recent training class that the Tunisian and “Asian street food” concepts were on the “path to partnership.” Employee-advocates research new ideas, then work with a senior partner to refine and test a business plan. The decision to go ahead requires consensus among all sixteen Zingerman’s partners- it will be “a minimum of twenty-four months,” says Saginaw, before either could open its doors.
For clarification, we’re not technically on the “path to partnership” until we submit an application, which we’re working on, but we haven’t submitted it yet. After that, we go through a long process to try to get approved as partners, and to get our new business approved. That is just one big hurdle in the adventure of opening our first restaurant!