The founder and chairman of Jimmy John’s sandwich fast-food restaurant, Jimmy John Liautaud, is today estimated to be worth more than$1.7 billion. The latest reports from his company revealed that it currently has more than 2,802 locations and $2 billion in sales.
Read more: Jimmy John Liautaud – Wikiquote
Despite being successful today, his life hasn’t always been like this. Recently, Jimmy decided to share insights into his life, growing up, and finding success as an entrepreneur with Forbes.
A Typical Day as the Head of Jimmy John’s
This food industry entrepreneur and business executive pointed out that apart from managerial duties, his typical days involve also being the taster-in-chief.
He pointed out that as one of the industry-leading companies in the fast-food sector, they also have to lead the way with innovations. Each day, Jimmy John Liautaud commits some of his time to taste the new items that the company plans to introduce to the menu.
On this particular interview day, he was tasting six types of cookies, deli meats, and potato chips alongside 10 kinds of sandwiches.
He started with the bread, and it passed both the aroma and taste expectations. Jimmy then moved on to taste new white chocolate chips to be used for cookies; his verdict was that they were terrible and needed lots of improvement.
Early Life And Becoming An Entrepreneur
Just like many other people, Jimmy John Liautaud had a tough upbringing. He was born of a Lithuanian mother who migrated to the U.S. at age 12 and worked as a teacher in an Illinois elementary school. His father was an army veteran who took up entrepreneurship and had to file for bankruptcy twice. This was when Jimmy was 8 and 12 years, and during these tough times, the family had to rely on powdered milk.
He graduated among the bottom in his class, but at this time, his father had found some success in his plastic molding business. Jimmy was passionate about pursuing entrepreneurship, and his father provided him with $25,000 seed money on the condition that he would join the army is the business did not work out in one year.
With the seed money at hand, this fast-food entrepreneur considered opening a hot dog stand, but that was too expensive. He went on to open a sub shop near Eastern Illinois University in 1983, some days after celebrating his 19th birthday. This was the first Jimmy Johns store, and he owned 52% of the company and his dad 48%.
Selling To Roark Capital
It was not long before Jimmy John’s became widely successful. In 2016, Jimmy John Liautaud decided to sell the majority shares in his company to help it grow even further.
He sold the majority shares to an Atlanta-based private equity firm, Roark Capital in a deal that valued the Jimmy John’s franchise at about $3 billion.
In this deal, Jimmy retained his managerial position and also 35% of the company. Neal Aronson, the CEO of Roark Capital, pointed out that working with Jimmy has been exciting, and he hoped that the part