The History of Jimmy John’s & Owner Jimmy John Liautaud


What do I Iove about Jimmy John’s Tastes
Great It’s Amazing Awesome Hot, fresh, fast Freaky fast It really is quick The bread The
bread The smell The peppers It’s wonderful I just love it I can get it the way I want
it It’s delicious Once I discovered Jimmy John’s it was all over I never even looked
back So what is Jimmy John’s anyway Jimmy John’s (expletive) Rockstar brand man In 1983,
posed with the choice to go into the Army or open a business a rambunctious teenager
decided to open the doors to his own sandwich shop rather than lace up his boots I stumbled
on Booby Sandwiches in Carbondale, Illinois visiting a buddy and it literally had a Coca
Cola refrigerator and a small make table and a cash register it was literally 6 feet by
6 feet with a door and that was it and I said I can do sandwiches so I went right back to
Cary and baked bread in my mom’s kitchen and in a week I came up with a bread recipe went
to Dominick’s grocery store and bought lunch meats I had all these menus from different
sandwich shops and I made sandwiches and came up with six that I liked and invited my family
over they voted on four so I had four sandwiches that I thought I could make a go with The
Pepe The Big John The S&M and The Vito Geneveso With four family approved sandwiches and a
lot of enthusiasm Jimmy set out to open his first store he was 19 years old Jimmy signed
his first lease in October of 1982 a five year deal for $200 per month the first Jimmy
John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop opened on January 13, 1983 in the college town of Charleston,
Illinois First I figured out I could work from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the morning
that was the start and then by the time August came around I knew what I wanted my manager
to do so I hired Tyler he passed this lie detector test What was up with all the lie
detector tests? I’ve always wondered that and I liked the
kid so I hired him I just answered an ad in a newspaper went in there and there’s this
guy and he’s got his shorts t-shirt curly hair you know you come in there and he’s like
“Tyler, you know, how it going?” and he’s yelling at you you know and he’s just he’s
already up here It was going to be a rockstar deal so I just wanted to go do it well what
the hell else was I going to do? a lot of people think this was all handed
to Jimmy and somehow it just happened and he really didn’t have anything to do with
it well I can personally vouch that that was not so I knew the guys and back at the time
it was American National Bank I took Jimmy down to see Dick O’Neil and Jimmy true to
being Jimmy is an explosion “my company’s gonna go big we’ve got this I got this going
we got delivery” boom boom boom Dick looks over I said “he’ll pay you back” and he goes
“ok son” you know and all was good he walked out the door and it was done there’s this
circle of comfort and there’s this line that’s uncomfortable and that’s where Jimmy seems
to live is right in that edge he’s a walking explosion (expletive) man I was ready to go
never one to mince words Jimmy made sure all the advertising for the stores was simple
and attention grabbing well my first paid advertisement was a full page ad in the Daily
Eastern News that headlined ‘all restaurants closing in Charleston after Jimmy John’s opens’
and then I had ads where the headline was ‘Party’ and there was a bunch of fill and
one was ‘No zits,no pits no day old bread no grease no fries great subs instead Jimmy
John’s we deliver’ and I would just save my money up and run an ad and save my money run
and an and save my money up and run an ad it’s just creating this Jimmy John’s box to
where the experience was the same whether was there or whether I wasn’t there and it
required writing down the systems a uniform box and then training the people by example
showing them exactly what to do the greatest thing about the company is the evolution you
know Jimmy’s always wanting to get better I like when the certified managers come back
from corporate training and they are fired up you talk about drinking the kool aid I
love seeing their attitudes when they get back it’s like they’ve been reborn when Jimmy’s
director of operations left in February of 1999, Jimmy responded by personally taking
over that position and in August moved his family from Chicago to the college town of
Champaign-Urbana and opened an office amongst his original groups of stores 54 miles from
Charleston Illinois in February 2001 the sandwich chain hit another milestone as the 100th store
opened in Mt. Pleasant Michigan Quality is a way of life every ham every roast beef my
cheese every single one of those things is absolute best in class the brand is clean
it’s sharp it’s fast we just kind of set the standard for what we want one item I learned
from Jimmy is it doesn’t cost that much more to go first class go first class do it first
class if you’re going to take your employees out for steak or cook them a steak why not
have it be prime you’re taking the time to do it anyway we have everything in life but
time cook prime In 2002 the first ever sandwich masters championships pitted the best Jimmy
John’s crews against eachother to make perfect sandwiches freaky fast saw new menu additions
as well boxed lunches a BLT a popular turkey bacon club called the Club Lulu cucumbers
and hot cherry peppers a lettuce wrapped Unwich and Jimmy John’s own branded chips Jimmy John’s
500th store opened in Seattle Washington in February of 2007 for a company that executes
speedy delivery Nascar was a natural fit and in summer of 2007 Jimmy John’s entered the
Nascar scene by sponsoring Nascar legend Kenny Wallace if people really want to hear the
story I think it’s about the people and the culture and the team and how it’s grown up
from within and how there’s this unbelievable farm system it’s like a professional sports
organization in 2009 Jimmy John’s joined Facebook as another way to connect with fans and build
the brand for a sandwich like you’ve never had before just make a call and we’re at the
door you’re like whoa that was freaky fast Tempe get your sandwich on Tucson get your
sandwich on Dallas get your sandwich on Oklahoma get your sandwich on the company launched
online ordering as well as Jimmy John’s gift cards and a new test kitchen was built at
company headquarters we’re not about being the biggest we want to be the best our whole
philosophy is people operations and profit as you invest in people and do a good job
like that your operations your profit and everything else is going to come real easy
there’s just nothing like this that I’m aware of out there at 47 deciding to start a Jimmy
John’s was a big surprise I had been a stock broker for 25 years I ate at Jimmy John’s
on the way to see my son play soccer knew that that was my life’s passion opening sandwich
shops I own 15 stores now I love that I can get up each day and have new challenges to
conquer and places to go and new people to meet I realized my dream Jimmy started with
the same passion of making sandwiches and the brand exploded by operators following
his lead In July 2010 Jimmy John’s sponsored MMA fighter Brock Lesnar as he captured the
title at the world championship fight in Las Vegas in August 2010 superbowl mvp champion
Drew Brees signed on to become a Jimmy John’s franchisee there’s no question that Jimmy
John’s is a household name but in 2011 the love of the brand was apparent in baby name
books across the country Jimmy John was named the 9th most popular brand name to name a
boy one ahead of Patron Jimmy John’s joined the Billion Dollar Brands club in December
of 2011 making it one of the most valuable brands in the US in 2012 Jimmy won the Golden
Chain award the 1500th store opened in Logan Utah followed by the rollout of the triple
chocolate chunk cookie with the company revving into high gear Jimmy John’s celebrated their
30th anniversary with 30 years under the belt it was time for a new look the 210 design
was born as the company grew so did the training program a new training center opened in Champaign,
Illinois in August of 2013 proving to be a fan favorite Jimmy John’s was rated number
one by travelers in Certify’s Orderly report the first military base location opened at
Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri in January of 2014 In
fall of 2014 Jimmy John’s proudly donated $1 million to the Folds of Honor Foundation
andKevin Harvick won the Nascar Sprint Cup giving Jimmy John’s its first ever Nascar
championship 2015 saw the creation of the high speed sense of urgency immediate response
team hotline as yet another resource to help franchisees solve issues freaky fast in 2016
mini Jimmys were launched as a new catering option the 2500th store opened in Kenmore,
Washington and Jimmy John’s climbed all the way to #1 in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500
with over 3.5 million Facebook fans and through apps such as Twitter Instagram and Snapchat
the company is connecting with its customers more than ever and the Jimmy John’s brand
like Kevin Harvick behind the wheel of his Jimmy John’s powered racer keeps on winning
Kevin Harvick in that 4 car he is taking no prisoners here early they’ve been chasing
him all day Harvick wins it! Harvick wins freaky fast today it was freaky
fast goes to prove that tenacity and hard work beats brains seven days a week doesn’t
it you know we made a big dent in the sandwich business and now people know who we are we’re
coming it brings chills to my spine it’s awesome it’s one of the best things I’ve ever been
involved in and frankly I really think we’re just getting started

18 Replies to “The History of Jimmy John’s & Owner Jimmy John Liautaud

  1. Jimmy Johns was one of the reasons I made it thru college at EIU! Loved seeing the old Charleston store. Remember it well. I also ate from Booby's in Carbondale! Didn't know that Booby's inspired Jimmy Johns. Loved this video and love Jimmy Johns!

  2. I had my first jimmy John sandwich yesterday which made me google everything about them and their history. I freaking loved their roast beef.

  3. I enjoy Jimmys a lot though their tomatoes and cucumbers are so the smallest edge pieces at my local JJ's its too bad since everything else is great

  4. I was a Junior at EIU in 1983 and had his sandwiches delivered all the time. They haven't changed except initially they were skimpy with the meat. Now they're even better. I always had a Buffalo Bird Hoagie, which later became the Hunter's Club. At the time, Domino's Pizza was the only place that delivered and it tasted terrible. When Jimmy started delivering sandwiches everybody loved them!

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