Founded in 1982, Zingerman’s Deli is now known internationally for its many huge and creative sandwiches. President Obama ate there recently. (“The Reuben is killer,” he told a cheering crowd of students.) But its most important creation may turn out to be a highly unusual business model — one that has produced impressive growth while engaging employees who enjoy the opportunity to help run the businesses and even to start new ones. Zingerman’s has also introduced a business to share its philosophies with other business owners who come from around the country and the world to learn how to create work environments where employees think like owners.
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