Jimmy John's

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Jimmy John's Franchise, LLC
Privately held company
Founded 1983; 33 years ago (1983)
Founder Jimmy John Liautaud
Headquarters Champaign, Illinois, United States
Number of locations
2,522 (June 2016)
Owner Jimmy John Liautaud,Roark Capital Group[1]
Website jimmyjohns.com
Jimmy John's Owner, Founder, & Chairman Jimmy John Liautaud

Jimmy John's Franchise, LLC is a franchised sandwich restaurant chain, specializing in delivery. Founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in 1983 and headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, in 30 years, the company has grown to more than 2,500 locations[2] in 46 states.[3] Jimmy John's has opened approximately 200 locations per year over the past three years.[4] As of 2014, 98% of the locations are franchise-owned.[5]

The original Jimmy John's shop in Charleston, Illinois opened January 13, 1983.


After Jimmy John Liautaud graduated second to last in his class at Elgin Academy (1982), his father gave him the choice to join the military or start a business.[6] Liautaud eventually chose to start a business and accepted his father's $25,000 loan to start a hot dog business, with the son owning 52% of the business, and his father owning 48%.[7] He soon realized that a hot dog business would cost more than he had, so he decided to open a sandwich shop.[8][9]

On January 13, 1983, the first Jimmy John's opened in a garage in Charleston, Illinois. Paying $200 a month in rent, Liautaud could afford only used equipment consisting of a refrigerator, a chest freezer, an oven and a meat slicer.[10]

The store was able to realize a profit its first year of business, despite the poor location of the store, due to Jimmy John’s willingness to deliver his sandwiches to the nearby dorms at Eastern Illinois University, as well as his handing out free samples for marketing purposes.[3][8]

In April 1985, Liautaud bought out his father's interest in the business, becoming the sole owner. In 1986, he opened his second store in Macomb, Illinois and in 1987, he opened a third in Champaign, Illinois.

In 1988, Liautaud met Jamie Coulter, who would later become the CEO of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon. Coulter mentored Liautaud, and “taught [him] how to effectively run multiple units.”[8]

Liautaud continued opening more stores and developed a prototype before beginning franchising in 1994. Franchising continued until 2002 when Liautaud stopped selling franchises for one year to give support for stores that were struggling.[11] The first franchise store opened in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In 2001, the hundredth Jimmy John's store opened in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. In 2007, the five-hundredth store opened in Seattle, Washington, and in 2010 the thousandth opened in Beaverton, Oregon.[12]

CNNMoney listed Jimmy John’s as one of ten “Great Franchise Bets.” The company estimates that annual sales can be as high as $1.2 million while net profits can average at about $280,000. Real estate start-up costs are estimated to be between $305,000 and $485,500.[10]

Liautaud realized that in order to grow he would need help acquiring better locations for his stores. Since he had little expertise in real estate, he decided to take on a partner who did. In January 2007, Liautaud sold a 33% stake to Weston Presidio, a San Francisco-based private-equity firm.[13] In the first year after partnering with Weston Presidio, 100 real estate deals were closed.[8]

The company has completed two recapitalizations since Weston Presidio's investment.[14]

In the summer of 2015, pictures of Liautaud posing next to the bodies of endangered big game he had killed became more widespread on social media along with increased calls to boycott Jimmy John's restaurants.[3]

In September 2016, Jimmy John's announced that Roark Capital Group had had agreed to acquire a majority stake in the company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. As part of the agreement, the company's founder and largest individual shareholder Jimmy John Liautaud will continue as chairman of the board.[15][16]

Labor relations[edit]

In 2010, when the Industrial Workers of the World attempted to unionize ten Minneapolis locations, The New York Times called the effort "one of the few efforts to organize fast-food workers in American history."[17]

In October 2014, it was revealed that employees at Jimmy John's, including sandwich makers and delivery drivers, were required to sign non-compete agreements as a condition of employment.[18][19] The agreement restricted the employee from working for a competitor for two years, where a competitor was defined as a business which derives more than ten percent of its revenue from selling sandwiches and is located within three miles of any Jimmy John's. Additionally, the employee could not work for another Jimmy John's franchisee for a year.[20]

In June 2016, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that she is suing Jimmy John’s accusing it of improperly forcing low-level employees to sign agreements preventing them from seeking jobs with competitors. Madigan says Jimmy John’s initially said it stopped using noncompete agreements in 2015 but later said the policy change was never implemented.[21] Jimmy John's responded with a statement that they had cooperated and continue to cooperate with the Attorney General's inquiry, having removed the offending agreements from new-hire paperwork and even offering to have their CEO sign a declaration that they would never enforce the non-compete agreements against any hourly employee that might have signed one.[22]


Jimmy John's was named #1 on the Entrepreneur 2016 Franchise 500.[23] In 2014, YouGov BrandIndex ranked restaurant chains that have the highest millennial brand loyalty, and Jimmy John's topped the ranking with 83% of the vote based on restaurants they would consider going to again.[24] Jimmy John's was named the #2 Most Popular Restaurant for Business Meals by expense reporting program Certify.[25] In 2015, Entrepreneur.com named Jimmy John's one of the 10 Promising Franchises for Ambitious Entrepreneurs.[26]


Starting in 2007, Jimmy John's began sponsoring NASCAR, first with Steven Wallace in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 and 2010, Jimmy John's sponsored Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.[27] In 2011, Jimmy John's and Richard Childress Racing reached a multi-year agreement to sponsor Harvick for the Sprint Cup Series. The 2014 sponsorship continued with Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing team.[28] On September 13, 2014, Jimmy John's became the title sponsor of the Jimmy John's Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.[29] Kevin Harvick won the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship giving Jimmy John's their first championship.

In 2010, Jimmy John's entered an Ultimate Fighting Championship sponsorship with Brock Lesnar. Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012, and continued his sponsorship with Jimmy John's.[30]

In 2015, Jimmy John's co-sponsored the RCH Factory Racing Supercross and Motocross team featuring Ken Roczen. The team contested both the Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championships.[31] In June, Jimmy John's sponsored former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace for his Speed Energy Formula Off-Road debut at the 2015 X Games.[32]

In June 2015 it was announced that Jimmy John’s purchased the naming rights to the Utica, Michigan baseball stadium which is the current home of the three teams in the newly formed United Shore Professional Baseball League.[33] Jimmy John’s Field opened on May 30, 2016.[34][35]

Other Jimmy John's sponsorships include the Detroit Red Wings, the Chicago Blackhawks, & the GoDaddy.com Bowl among many others.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Roark Capital Buys Majority Stake in Jimmy John's". The Wall Street Journal. 2016-09-08. 
  2. ^ "Jimmy John's Sandwiches Franchise Information". Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved Jun 6, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Bomkamp, Samantha (November 3, 2015). "Jimmy John's founder opens up on expansion, big game hunting, possible IPO". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ QSR Magazine, March 30, 2010
  5. ^ "10 Things You Didn't Know About Jimmy John's". The Daily Meal. Jun 3, 2014. Retrieved Jun 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Reece: The ABCs of success in business". Northwest Herald. February 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ "McHenry County Business Journal - Jimmy John's born from tough love". Archive.biz-journal.com. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Success Stories: Jimmy John Liautaud". SUCCESS Magazine. Mar 4, 2009. Retrieved Jun 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ "10 Things You Didn't Know About Jimmy John's - Facts & Trivia". Thrillist. May 10, 2015. Retrieved Jun 6, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "10 Great Franchise Bets - Jimmy John's". CNN Money. June 16, 2011. Retrieved Jun 6, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Jimmy John's Sandwiches Business Overview". Franchising.com. Retrieved Jul 7, 2016. 
  12. ^ "1000th store". 
  13. ^ "Jimmy Johns stake sold". Chicago Tribune. January 4, 2007. Archived from the original on January 6, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  14. ^ Olivia Oran (May 26, 2015). "Exclusive: Gourmet sandwich chain Jimmy John's prepares IPO - sources". Reuters. 
  15. ^ Taylor, Kate (8 September 2016). "How a 19-year-old turned a sandwich shop into a billion-dollar business". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  16. ^ Frost, Peter (8 September 2016). "Arby's owner buys Jimmy John's majority stake". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  17. ^ Steven Greenhouse (October 20, 2010). "Rare Vote Set on a Union in Fast Food". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Jamieson, Dave (October 13, 2014). "Jimmy John's Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign 'Oppressive' Noncompete Agreements". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  19. ^ Irwin, Neil (October 14, 2014). "When the Guy Making Your Sandwich Has a Noncompete Clause". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Employee Confidentiality and Non-Competition Agreement" (PDF). Huffington Post. September 19, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Illinois sues Jimmy John's over noncompete agreements". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  22. ^ "IL AG files lawsuit against Jimmy John's alleging unfair labor practices". June 8, 2016. 
  23. ^ "2016 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 List". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  24. ^ Ashley Lutz. "5 Restaurant Chains Millennials Love". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Can You Guess The Most Popular Restaurant For Business Meals?". Bisnow. Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  26. ^ "10 Promising Franchises for Ambitious Entrepreneurs". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  27. ^ "Jimmy John's Jumps On Board With KHI". Hardcoreracefans.com. February 10, 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Jimmy John's to sponsor Harvick in 2014". NASCAR. September 24, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Jimmy John's Folds of Honor". Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  30. ^ "The pro wrestling post: WWE stock, Lesnar's sponsors and TNA-Bellator working together?". mmapayout.com. 
  31. ^ "Ken Roczen signs with RCH racing". May 2015. 
  32. ^ Fryer, Jenna (April 2, 2015). "Rusty Wallace to Compete in off-Road Truck Race at X Game". ABC News. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  33. ^ Bill Shea (June 23, 2015). "Jimmy John's buys naming rights to new Utica baseball stadium". Crain's Detroit Business. 
  34. ^ Kevin Reichard (May 30, 2016). "New Utica Ballpark a Springboard for League Expansion". Ballpark Digest. 
  35. ^ Zach Spedden (February 1, 2016). "Ballpark Preview: Jimmy John's Field". Ballpark Digest. 
  36. ^ Bill Shea (June 23, 2015). "Jimmy John's adds another sports sponsorship—in Michigan". Crain's Chicago Business. 

External links[edit]