Jersey Mike's Subs CEO donates $100K to No Kid Hungry

Originally Published at NJBIZ by Meg Fry

Peter Cancro, founder and chief executive officer of the nationwide restaurant franchise Jersey Mike's Subs, yesterday fulfilled a pledge he made in March at the Restaurant Leadership Conference in Arizona to donate $100,000 to No Kid Hungry, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign committed to ending childhood hunger.

“He had just introduced our keynote speaker, Mr. J.W. 'Bill' Marriott, an icon of the industry,” said David Jobe, president of Winsight Events and the Restaurant Leadership Conference organizer. “And as a new leader and icon in the industry, Peter said one of the things that he wanted to do was donate $100,000 to No Kid Hungry — but that Tom and myself would have to travel out to Jersey to make sub sandwiches with him to receive it.” 

That’s exactly what Tom Nelson, president of the No Kid Hungry campaign at Share our Strength; Diana Hovey, managing director of Dine Out for the No Kid Hungry campaign; and Jobe did: After making sub sandwiches behind the counter Thursday, Cancro presented them the check.

“That $100,000 translates into a million meals for the one in five kids in this country that are at risk of being hungry,” Nelson said. “Peter stepped up big time to provide such leadership, not just for Jersey Mike’s, but for the whole industry.” 

“Giving back … making a difference in someone’s life” has been part of Cancro’s business model ever since he purchased a Point Pleasant Beach-based mom and pop sub shop in 1975 at the age of 17. 

“They say if you teach men to fish, they’ll eat for the rest of their lives,” Cancro said. “But if you don’t feed them first, how are they going to fish?”

Today, as CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems in Manasquan, Cancro has grown the business into Technomic’s and Nation’s Restaurant News’ No. 1 fastest-growing restaurant franchise, with more than 1,500 stores and $525 million in system wide sales. 

Since 2010, the company has raised nearly $13 million for local charities and distributed more than 1 million free sub sandwiches to help numerous causes.