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Behind the Bread — 10 Fascinating Facts You Need to Know About Jersey Mike's How old was the franchise founder when he bought the original location of Jersey Mike's? You won't believe the answer.

Key Takeaways

  • The CEO and founder of Jersey Mike's started working at the original Mike's Subs as a teen.
  • Jersey Mike's has integrated philanthropy into its business model, exemplified by its Annual Month and Day of Giving.
  • The brand's franchisee training program is notably rigorous, with 8-10 weeks of hands-on training.

With its unmistakable aroma of freshly baked bread and the promise of piled-high sandwiches, Jersey Mike's has carved out a delicious niche in the hearts (and stomachs) of sandwich aficionados everywhere. Ranked number-two in the 2024 Franchise 500, Jersey Mike's operates more than 2,700 units as of January 2024 and has seen over 40% unit growth in the last 4 years — and they're showing no signs of slowing.

But behind the mouthwatering subs and savory spreads lies a story as rich and layered as their famous Italian cold cuts. From humble beginnings to nationwide fame, get to know Jersey Mike's here.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

1. The CEO worked at the original shop as a teen. Then he bought it.

Back when the original store in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, was called Mike's Subs, Peter Cancro began as a sandwich shop wrapper at 14. He eventually earned the right to slice meats, constantly talking to tourists and memorizing their orders.

When the owners of Mike's Subs put the store up for sale, Cancro's mother encouraged him to buy it. So Cancro bought Mike's Subs at the age of 17 with a loan from his former football coach (who was also a banker).

Related: How Entrepreneur Ranked This Year's Franchise 500, and the Big Trends We Saw

2. Jersey Mike's holds an annual day and month of giving.

The Jersey Mike's Month of Giving also includes the "Annual Day of Giving" on the last Wednesday of March. On this day, 100% of sales — not just profits — are donated to each location's local charity partners.

In 2024, the Annual Month of Giving raised more than $25 million to help over 200 local charities. This amount includes customer donations and 100% of sales from March 27, 2024. After 14 Annual Months of Giving, Jersey Mike's has raised $113 million.

Related: From Coding to Creole Cooking — Here Are 5 Inspiring Success Stories of Black-Owned Franchises

3. Danny DeVito was Jersey Mike's first celebrity endorsement.

Danny DeVito grew up not too far from the original Mike's Subs at the Jersey Shore. When he became Jersey Mike's first-ever celebrity endorsement in a commercial, Peter Cancro was skeptical. However, Cancro saw DeVito's work ethic and commitment during the commercial shoot and realized that DeVito fit well into the Jersey Mike's culture.

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4. They have a comprehensive franchisee training program.

The Jersey Mike's franchisee training program is considered more hands-on than other franchises' training programs. The program consists of 8-10 weeks of in-class training and in-store experience, and Jersey Mike's believes that the more they invest in training a franchisee, the more a franchisee will be successful.

Related: How Immigrating from Argentina to the Bronx Prepared Her for Life as a Franchisee

5. Jersey Mike's is the official naming rights partner of Rutgers Athletics.

Jersey Mike's has a multi-year agreement with Rutgers University to be the official naming rights partner of Rutgers Athletics. The former Rutgers Athletic Center (The RAC) was renamed the Jersey Mike's Arena and the space hosts several Rutgers Athletics sporting events and even concerts.

Related: Find Out Which Brands Have Ranked on the Franchise 500 for Longest, Earning a Spot In our New 'Hall of Fame'

6. There is an alleged secret menu.

There are no official claims for a secret menu at Jersey Mike's, but many customers believe there to be one. It is unclear if customers are just modifying existing sandwiches to create something new, but the mystery of a secret menu still lives on.

Related: Is Franchising Right For You? Ask Yourself These 9 Questions to Find Out

7. There are currently three international locations, but not for long.

Jersey Mike's has two locations in Canada and one in Mexico, however the brand announced a partnership with one of Canada's largest restaurant operators, Redberry. This partnership expects to open 300 more locations in Canada by 2034.

Related: The 23 Items That Make Up the Heart and Soul of the Franchise Disclosure Document

8. The Jersey Mike's Tailgate Tour might come to a tailgate near you.

To improve marketing efforts, Jersey Mike's takes a big truck on a tailgate tour to college football games across the country. Starting in 2024, the Tailgate Tour will also include National Hockey League (NHL) and college basketball games.

Related: Don't Have Time to Start a Business? This Doctor, Lawyer and Now Part-Time Franchisee Would Disagree.

9. A bowl is called a "Sub in a Tub."

Not a fan of bread? Don't let that stop you from trying Jersey Mike's. You can get all the sub fillings (i.e., meat, veggies and sauces) in a bowl, dubbed a "Sub in a Tub."

Related: 23 Questions to Ask a Franchisor When You Meet Face to Face

10. Jersey Mike's is the official sub sandwich of the NHL.

In 2023, Jersey Mike's became an official partner of the National Hockey League (NHL) and their subs are the official sandwich. This agreement includes marketing rights and digital advertising on the ice.

Clarissa Buch Zilberman

Entrepreneur Staff

Freelance Writer, Editor & Content Marketing Consultant

Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor based in Miami. Specializing in lifestyle, business, and travel, her work has appeared in Food & Wine,, Travel + Leisure, and Bon Appétit, among other print and digital titles. Through her content marketing consultancy, By Clarissa, she leverages her extensive editorial background and unique industry insights to support enterprise organizations and global creative agencies with their B2B, B2C, and B2E content initiatives. 

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