Jimmy John Liautaud
Jimmy John’s® owner, founder, and chairman
I’m living the American Dream, but my life didn’t start out that way. Up until my teenage years, family life was very stressful due to serious financial losses that resulted in two bankruptcies from my Pop’s entrepreneurial ventures. Home life was volatile, but school was worse. I was the, “fat kid”, bullied, always picked last, and wasn’t a good student.
I graduated second to last in my high school class, so college wasn’t really an option. My dad wanted me to join the Army, but I wanted to start a business. My father loaned me $25,000 and one year to make a profit.
I had no Plan B, I had to make it happen.
I opened my first sandwich shop in 1983 and now we have over 2,800 stores in 43 states. My 35-year overnight success story was built on the foundation of hard work and discipline. The restaurant business is tough, but I found I was good at something for the first time ever, and I loved it. 18-hour work days, no days off, no holidays, and little family time – this business isn’t for everyone. People do what you do, not what you say, so I led by example, made the sacrifices, and my business grew. I never wrote a business plan and never expected my business to grow like it did. Here’s one piece of advice: outwork your competition. Come in an hour early, stay an hour later than the rest, and work on Saturday. I guarantee you someone will notice.
I’ve worked hard, built wealth, and won some awards along the way, and that’s all great, but I view my greatest accomplishments in life as my marriage to my beautiful and smart wife, Leslie, and raising our three beautiful children who have grown into amazing adults. They are grounded, balanced, nice people, who truly care about others. Family is everything to me.
Thanks for visiting my site and I hope you grab a nugget or two that you can use in your own life.
God Bless my family, my team, and God Bless America!
“I can’t dance, I’ve got no rhythm, I can’t read, I’m good at math, and I’ve been given lots of passion and energy. I use it to help others. I love mentoring young entrepreneurs, students who are less fortunate than most, and my team. 14 out of 17 of my department heads came from the sandwich shop and are now millionaires.”
Since starting with just a $25,000 loan from his father and after putting in over 35 years of hard work, Jimmy has grown Jimmy John’s into a national chain.
Jimmy has been recognized for his work growing the Jimmy John’s company and brand. He has received the Horatio Alger Award and the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, and was named Dealmaker of the Year.
Jimmy came from humble beginnings and built one of the fastest-growing chain restaurants in the country. He is dedicated to giving back to those in need in his communities and giving others the resources necessary to help themselves.
Jimmy captivates audiences wherever he goes with his infectious, boisterous personality. He frequently coaches and mentors young entrepreneurs as well as various restaurant and business operators.
As the owner and founder of one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the nation, Jimmy often shares his story and keys to success. He hopes to inspire and motivate others to overcome obstacles and to accomplish their dreams.
As the founder and owner of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Jimmy has had a long career growing the business from the ground up. Keep up with his activity and milestones on LinkedIn.