Jersey Mike’s Subs is launching a nationwide crew-level recruitment campaign aimed at entrepreneurial spirits who might want to become store operators or owners—if not heads of a multi-billion-dollar operation.
A new TV commercial features CEO and chain father Peter Cancro, whose affiliation with the brand began when he bought the original unit at age 17 after working in the store for three years. Although the camera focuses on Cancro, he speaks of his mentor and champion, local banker Rod Smith, who was the 17-year-old’s football coach at the time. Coach Smith lent the teenager $125,000 to buy Mike’s Submarines, which was later re-christened Jersey Mike’s Subs to emphasize its south Jersey roots. Today, the chain extends to 2,000 locations, with systemwide sales of $2 billion.
The TV spot suggests that the opportunity for advancement is part of Jersey Mike’s DNA.
“We want individuals to come and grow with us and see Jersey Mike’s as a place that can become their career,” Cancro said in a statement.
The launch follows Jersey Mike’s adoption of a program called the Coach Rod Smith Ownership Program, where store-level managers and assistant managers who can’t qualify for financing are helped by the chain to become owners of their own unit. In at least one instance, Cancro co-signed for loans and the lease and even helped the recipients find a location for their restaurant. The CEO has said he hopes to expand the program to benefit 100 managers per year.
“What Rod Smith did for me changed my life and I want everyone that becomes part of the Jersey Mike’s family to know that the future is unlimited for them, from becoming a store manager to eventually an owner,” says Cancro.