Jersey Mike's Subs Rides Wave Of Franchisee Growth To Enter 50th State

If you aren't getting your sandwiches from an NYC bodega, then there's probably a pretty good chance you're getting 'em from a place like Jersey Mike's Subs. The sandwich chain has over 2,500 total stores across the U.S., the highest concentrations of which are located in warm-weather states like California, Florida, and Texas. Now, QSR Magazine reports that the sandwich chain is making its maiden voyage into perhaps the stereotypically wintriest state in America: Alaska. The new location is owned by franchisee Fred Rosenberg and sits north of Anchorage at 1451 E Parks Highway in Wasilla. This latest expansion means Jersey Mike's Subs now has a presence in all 50 U.S. states.

This milestone isn't the only good news on the sandwich shop's radar lately. Opposite to many other fast-food companies, which have struggled since the start of the pandemic, Jersey Mike's Subs is thriving. Revenue is up to over $1.2 million per store compared to $850,000 pre-2020. The chain generated $2.3 billion during the 2021-2022 sales year and added more than 500 new stores since January 2022, demonstrating consistent year-over-year growth even in the face of a nationwide labor shortage. How? According to Jersey Mike's, the success is all thanks to its franchisees.

Growing 'from within'

Just like the made-to-order subs Jersey Mike's serves, CEO Peter Cancro takes a hands-on approach to franchising. The chain keeps it personal, choosing its franchisees from pre-existing employees who have managed a store for one year or longer rather than outsourcing. As Cancro tells Franchise Times, "What we're trying to do is let young people who never dreamed about having their own business, who are making subs fast, pulling people along and get the culture of rising up together, be rewarded with their own store." It seems to be working, too. At Jersey Mike's, 85% of company growth is generated by existing franchisees; as of January 2022, there were 550 of them. 

Prioritizing franchisees fosters a sense of community and good company morale — but, in a business sense, it also means that product and business practices stay consistent between stores, keeping everyone on the same page. After all, who better understands the best way to run daily operations than the folks on the floor? "That's how you get a quality person opening," explains Cancro, via Restaurant Business. "They know what the business is about. They know the culture ... If you're going to grow, grow from within." 

The sandwich chain aims to have at least 3,000 total stores within the next three years, and franchisee Fed Rosenberg plans to open two additional Alaska locations (in South Anchorage and Eagle River) by the end of 2023.