It’s crazy to discover there’s a deli that makes $50 million dollars a year. It’s stranger still how they’ve managed to accomplish it.
Most restaurants grow their revenue by opening more locations and eventually developing a franchise model like Subway. You sell more and more sandwiches as you open more and more stores. The problem is scale — maintaining quality over a massive empire is much harder than over a single shop. Your restaurant becomes more about volume than great food and remarkable service.
Zingerman’s, a deli based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, faced this fork in the road: open more locations or face continually stagnating revenue growth. Instead of choosing the conventional franchise path, they blazed their own trail.