All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars

Kiolbassa Provision Company

Company Background

The Kiolbassa Provision Company is a 65-year-old family-owned manufacturer of handcrafted sausage based in San Antonio, Texas. Originally started as more of a pork and beef processor, the company shifted into making sausage fulltime under the guidance of president Michael Kiolbassa, whose grandfather started the company. The company’s sausages is now sold in all 50 states and in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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Tasty Catering

Company Background

Tasty Catering began as a fast-food hot dog stand called Tasty Dawg more than 25 years ago. Founded by a trio of entrepreneurial brothers, Tom, Larry and Kevin Walter, the company, which is based in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, now serves up tasty treats at weddings, corporate meetings and conferences, social events, residential parties, special events, holiday parties, outdoor picnics, and more. Beyond its great food, Tasty has also garnered dozens of awards for its outstanding company culture.

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Pizza Gallery & Grill

Company Background

It was back in 1989 that Chris Conneen, then 21 years old, started his business, Pizza Gallery & Grill (PGG) in Melbourne Beach, Fl., after he had what he calls, “an entrepreneurial seizure.” But it wasn't for another 20 years until Conneen, whose 260-seat restaurant combines gourmet food with eye-pleasing art, learned about the GGOB from fellow culinary entrepreneur Nick Sarillo, owner of Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Illinois. “Learning about and studying the GGOB in 2009, the worst economic year in our lifetime, helped us get focused on the fundamentals of business – particularly how to generate cash,” says Conneen.

Business Challenges

As he and his team began to play the Game, Conneen, like many business owners struggling through the recession, faced the challenge of paying off his long-term debts despite seeing fewer customers walk through his establishment’s doors. Other challenges facing the business included sky-high overhead fueled by a $19,000 monthly rent payment and the notion of teaching financial liter-acy to a staff of 70 who have an average age of 21. “We have always been great about giving our customers great products, service and atmosphere,” says Conneen. “We just haven’t made a lot of money doing it.”

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Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Company Background

It was back in 1982 that Ari Weinzweig and his partner, Paul Saginaw, opened Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The business has grown by leaps and bounds – particularly since 1992, when the partners began to expand their enterprise by creating the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB), a collection of what is now 11 ventures that include: the deli, a bakery, a mail-order house, a caterer, a training business, a coffee company, a creamery, a restaurant, a candy maker, an event space, and most recently, a Korean restaurant. ZCob also includes a separate business called Zingerman’s Service Network that provides administrative services to its sister companies. Zingerman’s was inducted into the Great Game of Business Hall of Fame in 2007.

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Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen

Company Background

The Macayo’s family-owned restaurant tradition began in 1946, when Woody and Victoria Johnson opened their first café in Phoenix. Today, Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen is an award-winning chain of 14 restaurants that ring up annual sales of $35 million. Its 1,200 employees have been playing The Great Game of Business since June 2008.

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McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores

Company Background

McGinnis Sisters, based in Pittsburgh, is a $19-million family-run business of three popular, upscale food markets that sell a variety of gourmet delicacies, signature dishes, ethnic specialties and farm-fresh produce, meats and cheeses. The company‟s 215 team members (87 are full-time) have been using Great Game principles since 2005.

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