When founder Peter Cancro purchased his hometown sub shop in Point Pleasant at 17 years old in 1971, he couldn’t have guessed that his brand would eventually span almost 1,500 stores—nearly 95 percent of them franchised—over 47 states.
Published this week, Jersey Mike’s nabbed a spot on QSR Magazine’s 9 Best Franchise Deals for 2019. It has more franchise units in the country than any other restaurant on the list.
The franchise fee for a Jersey Mike’s is $18,500, and start-up costs range from $237,419 to $766,971, according to QSR. Franchisees pay a royalty fee of 6.5 percent of their gross sales and a marketing fee of 5 percent of gross sales but are free from a renewal fee so long as they’re in good standing.
“Part of the reasons you join a brand is for systems and processes but also name recognition and brand identity,” said Jersey Mike’s President Hoyt Jones, in reference to the marketing fee. “As you grow awareness builds and when you’re fortunate enough to make the leap to national billboard and national radio presence, your awareness really develops quickly.”
In its 10th year, QSR’s best franchise list was chosen by a council of five franchise experts who’ve built careers in the industry. The council members evaluated “a near-record number of submissions” to assess key financials, franchisor support, and brand elements and reviewed Franchise Disclosure Documents.
“The reasons people are attracted to franchising a certain brand [are] that they like the product and the culture of the company. We have a very strong product, but also a really strong corporate culture of giving. Our mission is making a difference in someone’s life. We take that very seriously,” Jones said.
Every year, Jersey Mike’s hosts a Month of Giving in March where each store helps support a charity local to their market. On the last Wednesday of the month, they donate 100 percent of sales to that local charity. This year, stores raised $7 million nationwide.
Additionally, he credits a business model that gives franchisees a return on investment strong enough to encourage growth from the inside. Of the more than 200 stores planned for the next year, over 150 will be opened by existing franchisees, and some will be built by managers-turned-franchisees.
“Our franchisees tend to get a solid return and they feel good about the product and service they’re putting forward in their community,” Jones said.
Its recognition, he said, is humbling.
“Every year when we’re recognized for one thing or another, we’re just trying to do what we’re trying to do,” Jones said. “We just try to execute day in and day out. We’re an operations-focused company, and when we execute properly, we’re rewarded with new franchises coming in, existing franchisees building more stores, and franchisees being successful. It just kind of self-perpetuates.”