Jimmy John’s, the popular sub chain, is offering $1 subs today for its Customer Appreciation Day. The deal will be available at participating locations for just four hours later today.
Click here to find the list of participating locations.
The sub chain was founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in 1983 and has grown to include 2,600 locations in 43 states.
“Customer loyalty comes from consistent experience,” Liautaud told Success in 2009. “They learn to count on you. When you screw it up, you fire your customers.”
Here’s what you need to know about the deal and Jimmy John’s.
1. Subs Will Only be $1 From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 2 in Thousands of Stores
Participating Jimmy John’s locations will be selling subs for $1 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The deal is only valid if you buy the subs in the store. You can only buy one $1 sub per person.
To find the closest location participating in Customer Appreciation Day, click here and type in your zip code or city. The only subs included in the deal are #1-6 on the menup, the JJ BLT and Plain Slims. You can also order the sub as an Unwich or on wheat.
2. Liautaud Founded Jimmy John’s Right After High School
Jimmy John’s was founded in 1983 by Jimmy John Liautaud, just after he graduated college. According to the company website, Liautaud’s father lent him $25,000 to start his own business. If he didn’t make a profit within a year, he’d join the Army, just like his two brothers and his father.
With a love of Chicago street food, Liautaud first intended to open a hot dog stand, but that was outside of his budget range. When he saw a sandwich shop with much less equipment, he decided to go into sandwiches instead.
In January 1983, he was finally ready to open his restaurant in Charleston, Illinois, with his father owning 48 percent of the business. In May 1986, he bought out his father and by 1994, he had 10 sub shops.
In 2002, the company was on the brink of failing. He had 160 shops, but 70 were in trouble. So he focused on fixing those shops. Sixty-three survived, but seven closed down.
“I learned a lot from that experience so I changed the rules for allowing people to buy into my system as a franchisee,” Liautaud wrote. “I explained in detail how tough running a Jimmy John’s can be. I explained the long hours, the unforgiving weather, the late nights, the weekends, and all of the sacrifices that go along with the industry. I made it tough for people to get into the system.”
“How do you turn around a restaurant? I’ll tell you how,” Liautaud told the Chicago Tribune in 2015. “You go inside the restaurant, pull all the equipment, pull it away from the walls, you scrub the walls, paint ’em, patch ’em, fix ’em or do whatever has to be done.”
Liautaud is married to his wife Leslie, and they have three children.
3. CNN Money Listed Jimmy John’s Among its 10 Great Franchise Bets
In 2011, CNN Money listed, Jimmy John’s as one of the 10 “great franchise bets.” The site notes that the startup costs for a franchise, without real estate included, are $305,500 to $485,000. “Franchisees also need $80,000 in cash and a net worth of about $300,000,” CNN Money notes.
Jimmy John’s estimates that a franchisee can see an average gross annual sales of $1,170,866.
“Limited, focused inventory – what could be easier? Everything about Jimmy John’s – from the menu, to the marketing, to the franchise management – is about keeping it simple. No games or gimmicks. Bottom line, we make gourmet sandwiches and we avoid anything that complicates the process or our image,” reads a statement on their site.
4. Liautaud Was Once Criticized for Photos of Himself With Dead Endangered Animals & Said He Doesn’t Hunt African Game Anymore
In 2015, Jimmy John’s was the target of social media scorn and boycotts after old photos of Liautaud surfaced, showing him posing with dead endangered animals from Africa, including elephants and rhinos. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, the avid hunter said he no longer hunts big African game.
“I choose to hunt and I choose to fish,” Liautaud said in 2015. “Everything I’ve done has been totally legal. And the meat has been eaten, if not by me than by someone I’m with. I don’t hunt big African game anymore.”
The photos, which can be seen at Snopes.com, were first uncovered in 2011. They appear to show Liautaud with a dead leopard and dead elephant.
At the time, the company was only getting bigger, but Liautaud learned from the growth boom in 2002.
“Could we grow faster? Yes. But I don’t want to be the biggest,” he told the Tribune. “I want to be the best at what I do.”
5. Jimmy John’s Sponsors NASCAR Driver Kevin Harvick
Jimmy John’s is also in the NASCAR business. The company is one of driver Kevin Harvick‘s sponsors. According to NASCAR.com, Jimmy John’s is the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Chevy for 16 races this season.
In December 2016, Jimmy John’s re-signed its deal with Stewart-Haas Racing.
“We are fortunate to partner with Kevin for many years in a very meaningful way,” Liautaud said in a statement. “On and off the track, Kevin and [his wife] DeLana Harvick are winners in all they do, and Stewart-Haas Racing has proven to be an excellent home for them and for Jimmy John’s.”
“I’ve known Jimmy since 2009 and I’ve personally seen how driven he is and how his work ethic is embraced by Jimmy John’s franchise owners,” Harvick added. “He wants to be the best, period. And he’ll out-work everyone to be the best. That’s the same mindset we have in racing. I’m proud to continue this partnership with Jimmy John’s at Stewart-Haas Racing.”