By Jennifer Conlin
It was a typical Wednesday morning at Zingerman’s Roadhouse, a restaurant in Ann Arbor, Mich., that offers nine varieties of macaroni and cheese and smokes its own hogs for pulled pork. But on this particular morning, in a colorful back dining room, finance was on the menu.
Gathered for their weekly huddle at various booths and tables were roughly 50 restaurant staff members, all studying a large whiteboard filled with handwritten numbers. Alex Young, a James Beard Award-winning chef who has run the restaurant since it opened in 2003, noted one figure in particular: $165,256, the previous week’s sales.
That number, as the board showed, was nearly $13,000 more than they had anticipated in the monthly plan for this third week of April and close to $5,000 more than they had forecast just seven days earlier. Smiles erupted across the faces of everyone from the busboys to the line cooks to the wait staff. For one thing, they had served 300 more meals than anticipated.
“I think we could get that number up to $180,000 next week with the start of graduation ceremonies,” said Mr. Young, referring to the fast-approaching festivities at the University of Michigan. “How do you think we might get to that goal?”