10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jimmy John Liautaud

Welcome to a fascinating dive into the life of Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the immensely successful ‘Jimmy John’s’ sandwich chain, philanthropist and entrepreneur extraordinaire. In this article, we uncover ten facts about Liautaud that you may not have known, offering insight into the inspiring journey and character of this extraordinary businessman.

1. His Early Life

Born in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Jimmy John Liautaud’s early life was humble. His father was an entrepreneur and, initially, the family lived in quite advantageous circumstances. However, due to some failed ventures, economic hardship hit the family while Jimmy was in his teen years which shaped his future.

Despite the family’s economic challenges, they remained supportive. His father gave Jimmy a unique proposition upon graduation: “Either start a business, or go to the military.” Jimmy chose the former, aided by his father’s $25,000 loan.

2. Beginnings of Jimmy John’s

Jimmy started ‘Jimmy John’s’ Gourmet Sandwiches in 1983 when he was only 19 years old, after his father rejected his initial idea of a hot dog stand. His father thought hot dogs were too expensive and suggested the sandwich stand instead.

He started his venture in a small garage in Charleston, Illinois. The first menu was limited to four sandwiches. Today, Jimmy John’s is one of the fastest-growing franchises in America, with over 2,800 locations nationwide, serving more than 30 different sandwiches.

3. His Business Philosophy

Jimmy John Liautaud attributes his success to his business philosophy of “keeping it simple.” For him, a simple menu, high-quality ingredients, and first-rate customer service are pivotal to his business model.

This philosophy is evident in the sandwich chain’s operation. The menu remains relatively minimalist, and each location bakes their own bread every day. Jimmy’s first priority is the customer, and it is this mantra that has guided the company to resounding success.

4. His Philanthropy

Jimmy is also well-known for his philanthropy. Over the years, his generosity has extended to numerous charitable causes, both within and beyond his local community.

His contributions involve supporting local community endeavors, educational programs for low-income students, and various conservation and animal welfare initiatives. He believes that the success of a business lies not just in profits but also in giving back to the community.

5. Sale of Jimmy John’s

In September 2019, Liautaud sold all of his remaining stake in ‘Jimmy John’s’ to Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and several other restaurant chains.

Despite parting ways with the business he spent over 35 years establishing, Liautaud remains proud of his journey and confident in the future of the brand. Today, he focuses more on his philanthropic ventures, both personally and through the Liautaud Family Foundation.

6. An Avid Hunter

Liautaud has a great passion for hunting, a hobby he fell in love with at age six. His dedication to hunting has led him to various locales across the globe.

However, it’s also caused controversy. He has faced criticism for hunting big game, a controversy hooking after photos surfaced of him posing with his hunted animals. Although a staunch defender of hunting, he admits regret for some of his actions.

7. Member of Horatio Alger Association

In 2018, Liautaud was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. This prestigious group comprises individuals who have overcome personal and professional obstacles to achieve success.

Following his induction, Liautaud established the Jimmy John Liautaud at Horatio Alger scholarship, further amplifying his commitment to helping the underprivileged.

8. An Advocate for Entrepreneurship

Jimmy John Liautaud is a big advocate for entrepreneurship. He frequently shares his entrepreneurial journey to inspire young entrepreneurs.

He firmly believes that America is the land of opportunities and emphasizes that anyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, can achieve success through hard work, dedication, and a never-give-up attitude.

9. Father of Three

Despite his commitments as a businessman and philanthropist, Liautaud also makes time for his family. He is a proud father to three children whom he shares with his wife, Leslie.

He emphasizes that his family is his biggest achievement and has often mentioned how important it is for him to be a present and supportive father.

10. Passion for Classic Cars

Away from sandwiches and philanthropy, Liautaud has an affinity for classic cars. He has an impressive collection, which he enjoys driving and showing off at various car shows.

His collection includes rare finds and antique classics. For him, cars are not just machines but pieces of art that represent the innovation and creativity of their time.

Know more about Jimmy John Liautaud’s journey, his principles, and his philanthropic work at the following websites:

Jimmy John’s Official Website
Forbes: Jimmy John Liautaud’s profile
Personal Website of Jimmy John Liautaud