Much of the restaurant industry is still in recovery mode following the pandemic, with brands licking their wounds and establishing new systems and tools that help position them for the consumer demands of the future.
For Jersey Mike’s, though, recovery was barely necessary. That’s because, aside from a sales blip for a few weeks last spring, the company didn’t experience much disruption during the pandemic. Its stores were already prepared with the technology to facilitate online ordering and third-party delivery. The majority of its business was already off-premises. And the nearly 50 years it had put into developing a strong network of franchisees and franchise support meant that store operators were prepared to handle whatever crisis came their way.
It didn’t hurt that Jersey Mike’s also cranked up its marketing spend by $30 million so it could broadcast, for the first time, a national TV campaign that put it on the radar of millions of Americans who had maybe never heard of the brand before.
“We increased our brand [awareness] so well that now we open up in some of these rural areas and people know about us, and it's just really lighting up markets around communities and cities and suburbs,” said Peter Cancro, Jersey Mike’s founder and CEO.
This newfound brand awareness — along with a base of 550 franchisees who are deeply committed to the Jersey Mike’s culture — helped the sandwich concept open over 200 locations in 2020, with plans to open 250-plus this year and more than 300 in 2022.
In this interview from Take-Away with Sam Oches, Cancro explains how Jersey Mike’s established a franchise infrastructure that is allowing it to open new stores at a breath-taking rate, and Sam shares his four take-aways that listeners should garner from the interview.