From Fats Child to Billionaire: The Jimmy John Liautaud Story

The Jimmy John’s Franchise Founder Epitomizes the American Dream

Pictures: Jimmy John’s

If you consider profitable franchisors, legends like Ray Kroc and Colonel Harland Sanders could come to thoughts. These entrepreneurs have unbelievable tales that franchise house owners of all backgrounds can relate to and be taught from. Along with being nice enterprise house owners, they’re philanthropists and neighborhood leaders.

However there’s a complete new era of franchisors who’ve made a reputation for themselves, and Jimmy John Liautaud is one in every of them. Liautaud is the founding father of the Jimmy John’s sandwich franchise and epitomizes the American Dream. However his journey to changing into a billionaire franchisor wasn’t all the time a easy one.

Liautaud’s Early Life

In accordance with Liautaud’s website, he was born in Arlington Heights, In poor health., on Jan. 12, 1964. He’s the second of 4 youngsters of Gina, a Lithuanian immigrant, and Large Jim Liautaud, an inventor, entrepreneur, and educator. Liautaud’s residence life was tumultuous on account of his household’s monetary issues: Large Jim filed for chapter a number of occasions. And when Liautaud wasn’t at residence, it was worse at college as a result of he was bullied for being chubby and struggled at school on account of undiagnosed dyslexia. 

When highschool commencement got here round, Liautaud graduated on the backside of the category and didn’t see faculty as an choice. As an alternative of going to varsity or becoming a member of the navy as his retired veteran father wished, Liautaud had goals of beginning his personal enterprise. 

Early Historical past of Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John’s historical past goes again to 1983 when all Liautaud had was a dream of enterprise possession and a $25,000 mortgage from his father that got here with an ultimatum: If the enterprise wasn’t profitable after a yr, he needed to be part of the navy. Nevertheless, if the enterprise did succeed, Liautaud’s father would personal 48%. Surprisingly, sandwiches weren’t initially a part of Liautaud’s dream; in accordance with his web site, Liautuad wished to open a sizzling canine stand and traveled to Chicago to get a greater sense of the enterprise. 

The tools alone for a sizzling canine enterprise value greater than the mortgage that his father gave him. However he didn’t surrender. He discovered his inspiration for Jimmy John’s at a sandwich store. After discovering the decrease prices of proudly owning one, Liautaud developed his personal menu and noticed his future within the sandwich enterprise. 

The primary Jimmy John’s Gourmand Sandwiches location opened in Charleston, In poor health., in January 1983. The unique menu consisted of 4 sandwiches, – The Pepe, Completely Tuna, Turkey Tom, and Vito – that are nonetheless made the identical means immediately. No prospects got here in on the primary day the store was opened, so Liautaud turned to guerilla advertising techniques. He went to surrounding companies and gave out samples of his sandwiches. Phrase unfold, and the enterprise turned successful.  

Over the subsequent 4 many years, the sub franchise expanded to 2,800 shops in 43 states, in accordance with its web site. The important thing to Liautaud’s success isn’t any secret: exhausting work and dedication. 

Liautaud and Arduous Work

With an estimated internet price of $1.7 billion, Liautaud proves that no one turns into a billionaire with out working exhausting. To make Jimmy John’s successful, he labored 18 hours a day and infrequently, if ever, took off. In a Franchise Occasions interview, Liautaud stated, “I couldn’t imagine that folks didn’t need to rise up at 5 within the morning and bake bread and make sandwiches all day and into the evening. I used to be shocked. I didn’t know that I used to be the weirdo.” With exhausting work, robust franchise partnerships, and a top quality product, Liautaud grew Jimmy John’s into one thing that he couldn’t think about.

After many years of success, Liautaud bought the stability of his stake in Jimmy John’s to Encourage Manufacturers in 2019. However he’s nonetheless captivated with serving to younger entrepreneurs, particularly these seeking to open eating places. Liautaud isn’t only a nice businessman who went from fats child to billionaire; he’s additionally a philanthropist. 

The Liautaud Household Basis

Liautaud Family
Jimmy John Liautaud, alongside together with his spouse and three youngsters, fashioned the Liautaud Household Basis in 2017. 

Liautaud, alongside together with his spouse, Leslie, and their three youngsters, Spencer, Lucy, and Fred, arrange the Liautaud Household Basis in 2017 to provide to charities that help the U.S. navy, schooling, wellness, and extra. Liautaud has labored to make greater than only a revenue together with his enterprise by donating to charitable organizations such because the Mayo Clinic, Lurie Youngsters’s Hospital of Chicago, the American Coronary heart Affiliation, and Disaster Nursery.  

Classes from the Jimmy John Liautaud Story

There are numerous classes that may be taken from Liautaud’s story. He grew up in a tricky household scenario however by no means let that cease him from reaching his goals. Liautaud additionally understands the significance of mentorship and discovering inspiration from those that have been profitable.

In accordance with Liautaud’s web site, Jim Lyons, a dean of self-discipline at his highschool, stood up for Liautaud when his rebellious actions (smoking, ingesting, skipping class) led to requires his expulsion. Lyons additionally instructed him that he may do no matter he wished with exhausting work, which stayed with Liautaud all through his life.  

There may be nice energy when someone believes in you and evokes you to work tirelessly to make your goals come true. Liautaud is the embodiment of that.