For a while I've avoided posting about Zingerman's Deli. Why? Because although it is delicious, it is not a place I frequent normally because it's a little out the way and the prices make it so I can only afford to go once or twice a year. I've tried to provide you with an objective view here:
Zingerman's was founded by some unique individuals - I have met one of them, Ari, before and he was a great, down-to-earth person with a zen, yet bubble personality. I think he has a background in history or something like that. All the founders are intensely passionate about their company and they do care that the products are top notch and original.
From my view, as a non-member of the Z team, it's clear that they aim to find the freshest ingredients for their foods - no matter where on the globe they might be! I respect that zealous attitude and I appreciate the care they take in everything they do. Oh! And customer service - they are amazing with that, too...but more to come!
Like I said, Zingerman's travels the world looking for the most delicious cheeses, meats, peanut butters, olive oils and vinegars, chocolate...you name it, they're lookin' for it. But they also have a Creamery, a Bakery, a Coffeehouse, Deli, Catering Division, a Roadhouse, and their own line of cookbooks. Each division is in charge of upholding itself in order to, ultimately, uphold the Zingerman's name. They also can be hired to give seminars on building a business. They are also known for the hilarious sayings and art sketches that accompany their products - I must admit, they are pretty funny :)
There is one other Zingerman's "trademark" in which I haven't yet mentioned - the price. It's super high. In my opinion, too high. I understand that for the quality of the things that they carry, the prices might be justified. But to charge so much for subtle differences in cheeses, is a little much for a student to pay. I had a very bad experience with their catering service, too - they forgot our order, then found it, unlabeled - it had been sitting for at least a day and the sandwiches had dried up. Now, this was in 2006 and my mom never complained to them so they didn't know. But a few years later, at one of their conferences, I mentioned this to the team and they called me the next day apologizing. I guarantee they would have refunded us had we told them what happened.
What prompted my writing this post was the fact that upon a recent trip to Zingerman's, I had a bad sandwich - as in, some components weren't on par. I wrote an email asking them if they'd changed the recipe and received a personal call from the Sandwich Chef inviting me back to the store to enjoy a sandwich on them. After getting off the phone I was so happy with their service I had to share my experience with you!
If you ever have a chance to make it to Ann Arbor, Zingerman's is a legend you shouldn't miss. Foodies will be in heaven and, at the end of the day if you strip off the the great artwork, the cool names, and even the price tag, you're getting wonderful food. As a friend of mine put it: you'll definitely - find delicious.