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Jersey Mike's CEO Peter Cancro, center, with Holley Hood and Haydyn Straus, the first participants in the brand's Coach Rod Smith Ownership Program.
A Jersey Mike’s grilled sub, which every franchisee must learn to make fast.
When Rod Smith loaned a 17-year-old Peter Cancro $125,000 in 1971 to buy a single sub shop, he set in motion a long series of events that eventually made Jersey Mike's a sprawling, 1,700-store sandwich empire that sells more than $1 billion in subs a year.
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.”
Hoyt Jones, president of Jersey Mike's.
Jersey Mike's jumps 14 spots to No. 102 on our annual ranking, and while the company's president says he wishes he could point to one defining move Jersey Mike's made last year to boost sales, the reason for the notable growth is much more basic.
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?”