Zingerman's — which owns many popular Ann Arbor, Michigan-based eateries including Zingerman's Deli and a mail order baked goods service — is transforming its $50 million operation into an employee-owned co-op. According to Business Insider, Zingerman's Community of Businesses currently has 600 employees who will soon "own the company and influence its direction." Co-founder and CEO Ari Weinzweig says the reason behind the move is that he believes traditional organizations where "executives operate in a different sphere from their employees" are actually only "operating with about 5% of their intellectual and creative capital."
The co-op model, which Weinzweig hopes to have in place within the year, shouldn't be difficult for Zingerman's to adapt: Already all of the company's meetings, including high-level budget discussions, are open to every employee. Employees should probably expect to attend even more meetings now that the company has announced lofty expansion goals (warning:PDF). By 2020, Zingerman's hopes to have "12 to 18 businesses in the Ann Arbor area." Zingerman's Deli is also opening shop within the Detroit Metropolitan Airport by the Fall of 2015. Soon President Obama will have multiple locations to chow down on some of his favorite Reuben sandwiches.
· Why Michigan's Favorite Food Brand Is Turning Its $50 Million Business Into A Worker-Owned Co-Op [Business Insider]
· Zingerman's 2020 [Zingerman's]
· All Zingerman's Coverage on Eater [-E-]