Growth in domestic sales of 21.2 percent in the past year has enabled Jersey Mike’s Subs to make its debut in the Top 100 at the No. 95 spot, rising from 108th place last year. Although the limited-service sandwich chain’s growth in sales fell from the 25.7-percent increase it booked a year earlier, it’s still the fastest-growing chain in the Top 100.
The growth comes from strong and consistent leadership invested deeply in the brand and deliberate, expanded unit count. It added 129 stores, an increase of 22.1 percent, in the most recent year, giving it a total of 713 units, all but 24 of them franchised.
Keys to Growth:
Consistent leadership. Peter Cancro, founder and chief executive of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems Inc., has spent his entire career with the same company. He started at the original Mike’s Subs in Point Pleasant, N.J., in 1971 and bought it from its owners in 1975, when he was 17 years old.
Refined operational systems. Cancro took his time building the concept, refining it over a dozen years before changing the name to Jersey Mike’s and selling his first two franchises in 1987.
Managed growth. Jersey Mike’s Subs didn’t hit the 100-unit mark until 1998, but its expansion picked up speed as franchising systems fell into place. It hit the 400-unit mark in 2009 and has continued to expand quickly ever since. It was the fastest growing chain in the Second 100 last year.
Corporate culture. Cancro looks for franchisees who share his core philosophy of leadership by example and celebration of excellence. He emphasizes hospitality and speed of service in his training. Marketing messages stress the high quality of Jersey Mike’s subs, as well as its charitable activities.