Subs so fast you will freak ... an evening with Jimmy John Liautaud

February 12 2007

I had the pleasure of attending the Young Professionals of Chicago's Evening Event with Jimmy John Liautaud last week. Mr Liautaud started Jimmy John's in Charleston, IL and has turned it into a half a billion dollar enterprise. It was interesting to listen to him speak ... he had no restrictions at all (including his language). Some things I found very interesting:

  • He was 2nd from the bottom of his class in high school, has no formal education after that, but learned how to do accounting, procurement, and management on the job.
  • He wanted to start a Chicago Hot Dog stand, but needed $40,000. His dad would only loan him $25,000. Sandwiches was cheaper than Hot Dogs. His dad was in the audience and was definitely a proud father
  • His gorilla marketing idea is brilliant. He hires teams of two that worked for him for 4 years while they were in college. They arrive at a store Sunday night. Monday, they check out the store ... fix it up, clean, etc. They also review the processes of baking bread and sandwich making. They also determine all of the business and schools they want to canvas during the week. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday they deliver over 3,000 samples to those locations. Friday, they have to help the store cover with sandwich making. Gorilla marketing at its best.
  • Much of the attitude of the ads and quotes in his stores comes from him  ... my favorite - "Bread so French it must be Liberated"

A great evening with a very good speaker. Nice to see a corporate executive who doesn't hold back.