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Jimmy John's Leads List of Franchise Times Dealmakers Winners


Jimmy John Liautaud is chairman and founder of Jimmy John's sandwich chain, and winner of Franchise Times Deal of the Year

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches today received the Franchise Times Deal of the Year award, for attracting Roark Capital as a majority investor and cashing out Weston Presidio, its original private equity partner, for a handsome return in a more than $2-billion transaction.

Founder and Chairman Jimmy John Liautaud told Franchise Times that he is “a micro guy,” whereas Roark’s managing partner Neal Aronson is a “macro strategist,” and he believes the combination is promising for the future of Jimmy John’s, which has more than 2,600 units and $2.5 billion in systemwide sales. When private equity firm Weston Presidio invested 10 years ago, Jimmy John’s had $300 million in sales.

“We are exceptional operators, one of the best on a large scale,” Liautaud told Franchise Times. “What we aren’t is strategists and that’s what Neal Aronson is best at.”

Liautaud accepted the award at today’s gala awards luncheon at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference, at the Encore hotel in Las Vegas. Nine others received Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, in the annual editorial project and awards event designed to highlight excellence in driving capital to grow franchised businesses.

“Our judges called the Jimmy John’s deal one of the best private equity deals of all time in the restaurant business,” says Franchise Times Editor-in-Chief Beth Ewen. “Jimmy Liautaud himself has a relentless focus on the unit level economics of his stores and the profitability of his franchisees. That’s how he drove sales from $300 million to more than $2.5 billion in the past 10 years, a remarkable run.”

Commenting on all 10 award winners, Ewen said: “These dealmakers are smart, creative and most of all relentless in finding the capital they need to grow their companies. Our panel of judges, all selected because of their expertise in franchise finance, noted the diversity and creativity needed to land the boldest deals in franchising.”

The full roster of Franchise Times Dealmakers award winners, with details about how they attracted their new suitors, is the cover story of the April issue of Franchise Times, available April 1 in print and online at www.franchisetimes.com.

The Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference continues through tomorrow noon. Nominations for next year’s Franchise Times Dealmakers project, highlighting the boldest deals in franchising, open October 1.


Jimmy John’s sells to Roark Capital from Weston Presidio in $2B+ deal.


Auspex Capital obtains $263 million in funding for Border Foods’ expansion.

GPS Hospitality buys 194 Burger Kings, commits to remodels and development.

K9 Resorts’ founders attract minority investment from Navigator Partners.

KBP Foods acquires 91 KFC and Taco Bell units from Star Enterprises.

KFK Group buys corporate-owned Taco Bells in a “new-entry” transaction.

M.H. Enterprises buys Teriyaki Madness, sells Maui Wowi in 1031 asset exchange.

Nurse Next Door attracts St. Joseph Health as franchisee in Southern California.

Pieology attracts Panda Restaurant Group as investor; buys Project Pie.

United PF becomes largest Planet Fitness operator, backed by Eagle Merchant and JLM.

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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