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It was Jersey Mike's No. 13, The Original Italian, that piqued Dan Markel's interest in franchising. “It was the best sandwich I'd ever had,” recalls Markel, who was on the hunt for investment opportunities and decided the East Coast-style sub brand was the right fit. Since its opening in 2013, Markel's Jersey Mike's in Van Nuys, California, has become a top five revenue-producing store for the brand and Markel has made it his mission to seek out brands that “can combine great operations with great, craveable food.”

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The year 2016 was a stressful and vitriolic one—at least if you watched the news. From every which way, it seemed all the loudest voices were intent on tearing down other people. As the old (really old) Simon & Garfunkel song laments, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”