In the world of sandwich chains, there are a few that are better known than others — Subway, Panera Bread, and Blimpie, to name a few. But for many, Jimmy John’s is king, and we bet that there are some things that you didn’t know about this rapidly growing company.
Jimmy John’s was founded in 1983 by Jimmy John Liautaud (Yes, there’s a real Jimmy John). After being given the choice by his father to either join the military or start a business, he accepted a $25,000 loan from his dad and opened a little sandwich shop in a converted garage in Charleston, Illinois. With a rent of $200 per month, he could only afford a refrigerator, a chest freezer, an oven, and a meat slicer (sodas were sold with no ice because he couldn’t afford an ice machine).
The bootstrapping didn’t last for very long, however, largely thanks to Eastern Illinois University’s close proximity, and the decision to start offering delivery service. Business boomed, and in 1985 Jimmy John bought out his father’s interest in the business. He opened a handful of new stores, developed a prototype, and in 1993 the first franchise opened in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The one hundredth store opened in 2001, and just nine years after that, the thousandth opened. Today, they’re opening about 200 locations per year, and are currently in every state except for Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Jimmy John’s success lies in a couple important factors, namely the high quality of the ingredients used as well as the speed at which their employees can make sandwiches. But there are a few other secrets to the success lurking below the surface, ones that might not be readily apparent. At Jimmy John’s it’s all about efficiency and safety, which means that there are some sandwich toppings that you won’t find behind the counter. There are also a handful of “secret” menu items, and a few other gems hiding up their sleeve. Read on for 10 things you didn’t know about Jimmy John’s.
Founder Jimmy John Liautaud Was at the Bottom of His Class
Liautaud graduated second-to-last in his high school class, and he opened the first location when he was only 19.
Everything is Made Fresh
Bread is baked fresh throughout the day, meat is sliced in the store, produce is cut fresh every morning, and tuna salad is made on-premises as well. If you want day-old bread you can purchase it for just 50 cents, but be warned: it’ll be pretty stale.