Calling all Zingerman’s Staff and Alumni

Every year when Zingerman’s celebrates another year of being in business, it means we all celebrate another year of working together at what has been called “The Coolest Small Company In America”. I have to admit, when I first started working here, I was only nineteen years old, had never heard of Zingerman’s before and only went to a job fair for the Roadhouse because a friend had mentioned it and I was moving to the area. I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting involved in. Almost nine years later, I still work for Zingerman’s and cannot imagine working anywhere else.

I think most of the staff would agree with me that working here kind of spoils you for working anywhere else. When we are first hired, we hear from the staff that this is a different kind of place, where the front line staff’s opinions count and the managers are really here to work for the staff. But it isn’t until it happens to you that you realize what they are talking about. I remember back in 2003 when the Roadhouse first opened, I was a server, one of the youngest and most inexperienced. Back then we used team service and split tips amongst the team. It wasn’t great and a lot of people were unhappy. The staff talked to the managers about it and instead of just coming up with a new system and enforcing it, the managers asked who wanted to help fix it. I volunteered and worked on a committee with two other servers who created the new service system on how we tipped out. The managers helped us roll it out to the staff and that was how I helped make a big change that affected the entire Roadhouse. It made me feel empowered, like I could help change anything. Over the next several years, I did help make change and I learned how to make change and I really felt like part of the team, which is something I don’t think you get at many places.

There are so many opportunities presented to staff here, it can almost be overwhelming. From the staff scholarship to U of Z (University of Zingerman’s, an internal training program), attending ZingTrain seminars, working your way up in the business, being a line owner, leading huddles, attending Partner’s Group, being a part of the Leadership Development Program, taking as many classes as there are listed on the calendar, teaching classes, leading a BLC, training new staff members, being on a ZCoB wide committee, I think I could just go on and on. All these really great opportunities are right here for us and it is inspiring to work for a company that encourages us to reach beyond our current jobs and wants us to move forward.

The 30th Anniversary Staff and Alumni party is happening soon—Sunday, July 8th to be exact! All current and former staff plus their families and friends are invited, along with some of our favorite producers and friends from the community. The celebration is our way to say thank you to everyone who has helped shaped Zingerman’s. Whether you worked here for two weeks, two years or two decades, this is our party. It will be a chance to see old co-workers, meet folks from the other businesses and just have a good time. After 30 years, everyone deserves a big staff bash! There will of course be delicious food, music, games, prizes and an exclusive t-shirt commemorating the event. If you are planning on coming and/or are interested in helping out, you can email me, Joanie, at [email protected]. Hope to see you there!