Jimmy John Liautaud - Founder of Jimmy John Gourment Sandwich Chain, Timeline and Childhood

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Jimmy John Liautaud's Personal Details

Jimmy John Liautaud is the founder and chairman of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich chain

InformationDetail
BirthdayJanuary 12, 1964
NationalityAmerican
FamousFounder of Jimmy John Gourment Sandwich Chain, Millionaires, Business People, Restaurateurs
City/StateIllinois
SpousesLeslie Liautaud
SiblingsGreg Liautaud, Lara Liautaud Berry, Robby Liautaud
Birth PlaceArlington Heights, Illinois, United States
GenderMale
FatherJames P. Liautaud
MotherGina Gudaityte Liautaud
Net Worth$400 million
Sun SignCapricorn
Born inArlington Heights, Illinois, United States
Famous asFounder of Jimmy John Gourment Sandwich Chain.

// Famous Founder of Jimmy John Gourment Sandwich Chain

Jimmy John Liautaud's photo

Who is Jimmy John Liautaud?

Jimmy John Liautaud is the founder and chairman of the popular ‘Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich’ chain. An entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, when boys of his age were busy deciding what future course to study, Liautaud was giving wings to his ambitions. His long-aspired desire to become an entrepreneur first gained grounds when he asked for financial help from his father to set up his own food venture. After much research, Liautaud decided to set up a sandwich shop. Though his sandwiches tasted brilliant, his location did not bring his business the success that he deserved. Instead of being disheartened by its average results, he worked hard to build up on the brand name and brand value of his sandwich shop. Soon, Liautaud’s modest one-store sandwich expanded to the next level as he began franchising it. Today, with more than 2500 outlets, his brand, ‘Jimmy John’s has definitely not just helped Liautaud realize his dream but has made him one of the top entrepreneurs of the world globally. As per an audit report by YouGov BrandIndex, Jimmy John’s scored a whopping 83% in restaurant chains that have the highest millennial brand loyalty. Most people who have once been to ‘Jimmy John’ consider going there again.

// Famous Millionaires

Childhood & Early Life

Jimmy John Liautaud was born on January 12, 1964 in Arlington Heights, Illinois to James Liautaud, an entrepreneur, and his wife, Gina Gudaityte Liautaud. He has three siblings, two brothers Greg and Robby Liautaud, and a sister Lara Liautaud Berry. He is the third of the four siblings.

He attended Elgin Academy, a private prep school in Elgin, Illinois. After completing his schooling, he enrolled at the Eastern Illinois University. However, Liautaud left it midway to make a career in restaurant business.

Career

When Jimmy John Liautaud graduated from high school, he asked his father for a loan of $25000 to open his own business. Though his father readily agreed to give him the money, a condition was laid that if the business failed, Jimmy would enlist in the US Army. Senior Liautaud also asked for a 48 % stake in the business.

With money at his disposal, Jimmy started to think, about what venture would best be suitable for him. Initially, he planned to open a hot dog stand, but finally decided on opening a sandwich shop as hot dog stand would go out of his budget.

For opening a sandwich shop, all he had to do was to purchase premium meats and bake his own bread. He started off by making his family taste different types of sandwiches and finally concluded on having four types of sandwiches on his menu.

On January 13, 1983 ‘Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches’ opened in Charleston, Illinois. Though he had perfected his taste by then, poor location did not do much to enhance his sales. However, not the one to give up easily, he offered delivery service. Next, he targeted University dorm students and started selling his sandwich samples door-to-door.

His efforts paid off and his restaurant turned profitable within a year. By the end of second year, his sales boomed further and he successfully bought his father’s share in the business. Operating as a sole owner, Jimmy John Liautaud’s food venture turned extremely lucrative and by 1987, Liautaud opened two more shops.

In 1988, Jimmy first met Jamie Coulter, the Pizza Hut franchisee owner. It was Coulter who helped Liautaud upscale his small shop business into a big entrepreneurial venture. He educated Liautaud on the importance of creating a brand value and name of the business.

In 1994, Jimmy John Liautaud sold his first Jimmy John’s franchise. The franchise not only helped Liautaud extend his accessibility to people from different areas and regions but also gave him a new growth opportunity. By the time the first leg of the franchising was over, ‘Jimmy John’ had 10 new stores. He had successfully taken his business to the next level.

By 2002, Liautaud’s company had more than 200 stores around the country. Of these, about 10 percent of the stores that were corporate were managed by Liautaud himself.

What seemed as a dreamy expansion turned a little tainted as some of Liautaud’s stores performed poorly. In fact, sales at the stores managed by Liautaud and those that were managed by franchise owners had a wide margin of profit difference between them.

Taking it upon himself, Liautaud visited 70 of the poorest performing stores. He instilled in the staff a new surge of energy and spark by motivating them to up their skills. He turned tables and converted the tedious and monotonous activity into one that is interesting and appealing, thus helping the stores become profitable.

In January 2007, Liautaud struck a deal with a private-equity firm, Weston Presidio. The main aim of this equity firm was to help him acquire better locations for his expanding company. Buying 33 percent of the stakes, by the end of first year of their partnership, Weston Presidio had successfully made more than 100 real estate deals with Liautaud.

In September 2016, Roark Capital Group purchased a majority stake in Jimmy John Liautaud's company, after Weston Presidio sold their minority investment. Currently, Liautaud retains 35 percent of the company shares. This makes him the company’s largest individual shareholder. As a founder member, Liautaud also serves as chairman of the board.

Apart from his restaurant business, Liautaud is an investor in wines and vineyards, at least one of which has been featured on the cover of Wine Spectator Magazine.

Awards & Achievements

Jimmy John Liautaud received the first token of appreciation when he was named Chicago’s ‘40 Under 40’ by Crain’s Chicago Business.

In 2004, he was named the Ernst & Young Food & Beverage Entrepreneur of the Year in Illinois. Same year, he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National CEO Conference. He was also inducted into the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Hall of Fame.

In 2007, he was invited to deliver a commencement speech at his alma mater, a program of Elgin Academy now known as the Liautaud-Lyons Upper School.

He is a Hall of Famer of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain award.

In March 2017, Jimmy Liautaud was named ‘Dealmaker of the Year’ by Franchise Times' (FT). It was basically for the deal that he cracked up with Roark Capital Group as the company's new majority owner. FT's editor-in-chief called the deal ‘one of the best private equity deals of all time in the restaurant business’.

Personal Life & Legacy

Jimmy Liautaud married dancer, playwright, actress and choreographer Leslie Liautaud. The couple has been blessed with three children, Spencer, Lucy and Fred.

An avid philanthropist, Liautaud has been engaged in a lot of charity. His benevolence and generosity helped make a difference in many ways than one. In 2008, he donated $1 million to his high school, Elgin Academy. In 2011, he donated money to Frances Nelson SmileHealthy dental clinic in Champaign, Illinois.

In July 2014, Liautaud donated $1 million to the Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization that supports the families of fallen soldiers. In mid-2016, Liautaud helped funded the first phase of construction for the Kickapoo Rail Trail that would connect Urbana and St. Joseph.

Together with his wife Leslie, Liautaud founded the Liautaud Family Foundation. The main aim of the philanthropic organization was to help make donations to a variety of charitable causes. The Foundation’s first donation was provided to Crisis Nursery, a $200,000 fund for its building expansion. The nursery serves as a shelter, providing emergency childcare facility for families in crisis.

Trivia

Liautaud’s love for hunting put him in a fix to the point that people started boycotting his restaurant. Pictures of him posing with dead elephants, rhinoceros, and a leopard went viral on social media. Though they were taken way back in 2010 during a legalized safari in Africa, certain group of people still connect him with the big game in Africa.

// Famous Business People

Jimmy John Liautaud biography timelines

  • // 12th Jan 1964
    Jimmy John Liautaud was born on January 12, 1964 in Arlington Heights, Illinois to James Liautaud, an entrepreneur, and his wife, Gina Gudaityte Liautaud. He has three siblings, two brothers Greg and Robby Liautaud, and a sister Lara Liautaud Berry. He is the third of the four siblings.
  • // 13th Jan 1983
    On January 13, 1983 ‘Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches’ opened in Charleston, Illinois. Though he had perfected his taste by then, poor location did not do much to enhance his sales. However, not the one to give up easily, he offered delivery service. Next, he targeted University dorm students and started selling his sandwich samples door-to-door.
  • // 1987
    His efforts paid off and his restaurant turned profitable within a year. By the end of second year, his sales boomed further and he successfully bought his father’s share in the business. Operating as a sole owner, Jimmy John Liautaud’s food venture turned extremely lucrative and by 1987, Liautaud opened two more shops.
  • // 1988
    In 1988, Jimmy first met Jamie Coulter, the Pizza Hut franchisee owner. It was Coulter who helped Liautaud upscale his small shop business into a big entrepreneurial venture. He educated Liautaud on the importance of creating a brand value and name of the business.
  • // 1994
    In 1994, Jimmy John Liautaud sold his first Jimmy John’s franchise. The franchise not only helped Liautaud extend his accessibility to people from different areas and regions but also gave him a new growth opportunity. By the time the first leg of the franchising was over, ‘Jimmy John’ had 10 new stores. He had successfully taken his business to the next level.
  • // 2002
    By 2002, Liautaud’s company had more than 200 stores around the country. Of these, about 10 percent of the stores that were corporate were managed by Liautaud himself.
  • // 2004
    In 2004, he was named the Ernst & Young Food & Beverage Entrepreneur of the Year in Illinois. Same year, he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National CEO Conference. He was also inducted into the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Hall of Fame.
  • // 2007
    In 2007, he was invited to deliver a commencement speech at his alma mater, a program of Elgin Academy now known as the Liautaud-Lyons Upper School.
  • // Jan 2007
    In January 2007, Liautaud struck a deal with a private-equity firm, Weston Presidio. The main aim of this equity firm was to help him acquire better locations for his expanding company. Buying 33 percent of the stakes, by the end of first year of their partnership, Weston Presidio had successfully made more than 100 real estate deals with Liautaud.
  • // 2008 To 2011
    An avid philanthropist, Liautaud has been engaged in a lot of charity. His benevolence and generosity helped make a difference in many ways than one. In 2008, he donated $1 million to his high school, Elgin Academy. In 2011, he donated money to Frances Nelson SmileHealthy dental clinic in Champaign, Illinois.
  • // 2010
    Liautaud’s love for hunting put him in a fix to the point that people started boycotting his restaurant. Pictures of him posing with dead elephants, rhinoceros, and a leopard went viral on social media. Though they were taken way back in 2010 during a legalized safari in Africa, certain group of people still connect him with the big game in Africa.
  • // 2012
    In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain award.
  • // Jul 2014 To 2016
    In July 2014, Liautaud donated $1 million to the Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization that supports the families of fallen soldiers. In mid-2016, Liautaud helped funded the first phase of construction for the Kickapoo Rail Trail that would connect Urbana and St. Joseph.
  • // Sep 2016
    In September 2016, Roark Capital Group purchased a majority stake in Jimmy John Liautaud's company, after Weston Presidio sold their minority investment. Currently, Liautaud retains 35 percent of the company shares. This makes him the company’s largest individual shareholder. As a founder member, Liautaud also serves as chairman of the board.
  • // Mar 2017
    In March 2017, Jimmy Liautaud was named ‘Dealmaker of the Year’ by Franchise Times' (FT). It was basically for the deal that he cracked up with Roark Capital Group as the company's new majority owner. FT's editor-in-chief called the deal ‘one of the best private equity deals of all time in the restaurant business’.

// Famous Restaurateurs

Jimmy John Liautaud's FAQ

  • What is Jimmy John Liautaud birthday?

    Jimmy John Liautaud was born at 1964-01-12

  • Where is Jimmy John Liautaud's birth place?

    Jimmy John Liautaud was born in Arlington Heights, Illinois, United States

  • What is Jimmy John Liautaud nationalities?

    Jimmy John Liautaud's nationalities is American

  • Who is Jimmy John Liautaud spouses?

    Jimmy John Liautaud's spouses is Leslie Liautaud

  • Who is Jimmy John Liautaud siblings?

    Jimmy John Liautaud's siblings is Greg Liautaud, Lara Liautaud Berry, Robby Liautaud

  • Who is Jimmy John Liautaud's father?

    Jimmy John Liautaud's father is James P. Liautaud

  • Who is Jimmy John Liautaud's mother?

    Jimmy John Liautaud's mother is Gina Gudaityte Liautaud

  • What is Jimmy John Liautaud's sun sign?

    Jimmy John Liautaud is Capricorn

  • How famous is Jimmy John Liautaud?

    Jimmy John Liautaud is famouse as Founder of Jimmy John Gourment Sandwich Chain.