Jersey Mike's Subs Surges in Franchises

Originally Published at by Antoinette Martin

POINT PLEASANT, NJ−It all began here, with the heart - and the hunger - of a 17-year-old kid who decided he wanted to buy his favorite restaurant, a sub-sandwich shop called Mike’s.  He persuaded his football coach – who was also a banker – to give him financial backing.

Today, the Jersey Mike’s sub-sandwich franchise operated by the onetime kid, whose name is Peter Cancro, has 1,300 locations open and under development, coast-to-coast.

Last year, it added 140 locations. This year, Jersey Mike’s president Hoyt Jones tells, “we’ll add 200, and it’s onward and upward from there.”

Jones, who is based at the company’s headquarters in Manasquan, says Jersey Mike’s is actively looking for franchisees right now in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta– as well as northern California and the Rocky Mountain states.

Jones says that a number of Philadelphia restaurants will be opening within the next six months. It has restaurants in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and recently opened its 35th market in Delaware.

The original sub shop, started in 1956, was a thriving Jersey shore landmark, when Cancro’s managed to acquire it in 1975, while still in high school. Over the next decade, he established two more Jersey Mike’s in New Jersey.

By the 1990s, growth really began to surge, says Jones, and now it will continue “exponentially.” The franchise  continues to be known for its “authentic” fresh sliced/fresh grilled subs, which surged 22% in sales last year, to $406 million.

“We are deliberate, careful about where and with whom we expand,” says Jones.

“Our ideal franchisee is someone who instinctively understands what we mean by our mission to be ‘A Sub Above,’” he says. This spring, Jersey Mike’s introduced two TV commercials emphasizing the theme of highest-quality ingredients, and also its goal to make a difference in communities in which it operates through charitable efforts.

In March, Jersey Mike’s held its 4th Annual “Month of Giving” national fundraising campaign, raising $2.1 million for 100 local charities.