|Founder(s)||Jimmy John Liautaud|
|Headquarters||Champaign, Illinois, United States|
|Number of locations||1,621|
Jimmy John's is a franchised sandwich restaurant chain founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in 1983 and headquartered in Champaign, Illinois. In 30 years, the company has grown to more than 1,600 locations in 40 states.1 Jimmy John's has opened approximately 200 units per year over the past three years.2 As of 2013, 98% of the locations are franchise-owned.
After graduating second to last in his class at Elgin Academy (1982), Jimmy John Liautaud's father gave him the choice to join the military or start a business.3 Prior to graduation, Luke "Jimmy" Lyons, a dean at his high school, is attributed with encouraging Jimmy to remain in school even when many others said he should drop out. A building at Elgin Academy is now named after Lyons in honor of his encouragement and faith in Liautaud. Liautaud still thanks Lyons for believing in him and making his dream seem like a feasible reality.4 Liautaud eventually chose to start a business and accepted his father's $25,000 loan to start a hot dog business, with the son owning 52% of the business, and his father owning 48%.5 He soon realized that a hot dog business would cost more than he had, so he decided to open a sandwich shop.6
On January 13, 1983, the first Jimmy John's opened in a garage in Charleston, Illinois. Paying $200 a month in rent, Liautaud could afford only used equipment consisting of a refrigerator, a chest freezer, an oven and a meat slicer.7 Liautaud soon started delivering his sandwiches to the students of Eastern Illinois University.8
In April 1985, Liautaud bought out his father's interest in the business, becoming the sole owner. He opened his second store in Macomb, Illinois and two years later opened his third in Champaign, Illinois. Liautaud later opened several more stores and developed a prototype before beginning franchising in 1993. The first franchise store opened in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In 2001, the 100th Jimmy John's store opened in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. In 2007, the 500th store opened in Seattle, Washington, and in 2010 the 1000th opened in Beaverton, Oregon.citation needed
In 2010, when the Industrial Workers of the World attempted to unionize ten Minneapolis locations,1011121314 the New York Times called the effort "one of the few efforts to organize fast-food workers in American history."10
In 2009 and 2010, Jimmy John’s sponsored Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Also in 2008 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Jimmy John's sponsored Steven Wallace.15 In 2011, Jimmy John’s and Richard Childress Racing reached a multi-year agreement to sponsor Harvick for the Sprint Cup Series. The sponsorship will remain with Harvick when he joins Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.16
In 2010, Jimmy John's entered a UFC sponsorship with Brock Lesnar. In 2012, when Lesnar returned to WWE, Jimmy John's entered another sponsorship agreement with Lesnar. They also have a agreement at the United Center in Chicago with The Blackhawks.
- "Jimmy John's History". Jimmyjohns.com. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
- QSR Magazine, March 30, 2010
- "Reece: The ABCs of success in business". Northwest Herald. 2013-02-19.
- "McHenry County Business Journal - Jimmy John's born from tough love". Archive.biz-journal.com. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
- "Our History". Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- "Our History". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
- "Jimmy John's Facebook Page". Retrieved 2013-05-02.
- Chicago Tribune, January 4, 2007
- Steven Greenhouse (2010-10-20). "Rare Vote Set on a Union in Fast Food". The New York Times.
- Baertlein, Lisa (January 12, 2011). "NLRB nullifies Jimmy John's union vote results". Reuters.
- "Union loses tight Jimmy John's vote 87-85". StarTribune.com. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
- Bissell, Jennifer (2011-03-23). "Seven Jimmy John's union workers fired | mndaily.com - Serving the University of Minnesota Community Since 1900". mndaily.com. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
- "West metro labor dispute escalates". TwinCities.com. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
- "Jimmy John's Jumps On Board With KHI". Hardcoreracefans.com. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2011-06-13.
- "Jimmy John's to sponsor Harvick in 2014". NASCAR. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
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