Consistency, not Magic, Propels Jersey Mike’s Up the Franchise Times Top 200+
Hoyt Jones, president of Jersey Mike's.
Three of the sandwich brands on the Franchise Times Top 200+ ranking posted double-digit sales growth in 2016, but it’s Jersey Mike’s Subs leading the category with its whopping 22.2 percent increase to $825 million in systemwide sales. The brand jumps 14 spots to No. 102 on our list, and while the company’s president says he wishes he could point to one defining move Jersey Mike’s made last year, the notable growth is really more about consistency.
“It’d be great to say we pulled something magic out of our hats, but we’ve really put a strong focus on being consistent with sales growth and store growth,” says Hoyt Jones, president of the Manasquan, New Jersey-based sub shop chain. “We’ve been very fortunate. We’re at the point of having really strong franchisees, both operationally and financially. They’ve really been building their benches.”
Jersey Mike’s has just over 450 franchise owners for its nearly 1,200 units and the company is “super careful” about who it brings into the system, Jones notes, first assuring ‘zees are a cultural fit above all else. Then it’s about supporting those franchisees once they’re in and recognizing they’ve made a significant investment on their end, he says.
“We don’t take a check and then say ‘knock yourself out,’” he adds. “We guide you every step of the way.”
Founder Peter Cancro continues his philosophy of being a forward investor in people, explains Jones, which means building on the corporate construction and real estate teams, putting resources into in-house technology and ultimately trying to be “a one-stop shop of support to franchisees.”
The brand did shift to more national television advertising last year, something Jones says helps fuel new store volume “because we’re seeding the market before they open.” Jersey Mike’s is also continuing to promote the online ordering platform it rolled out in 2015.
“We’re still at the tip of the iceberg as far as getting consumers to do that—order online and skip the line,” says Jones. “We’re looking to enhance that next year” along with testing third-party delivery in select markets.