At Jersey Mike’s, “Giving…making a difference in someone’s life” has been a guiding principle since Peter Cancro founded the company almost 60 years ago in Point Pleasant, N.J. at the age of 17. From more established local business mentors, Peter learned the importance of supporting the community that supports you. Today, this kind of initiative is called “cause marketing,” but back then it was just considered the right thing to do.
Since 2010, Jersey Mike’s locations throughout the country have raised nearly $10 million for worthy local charities and have distributed more than 750,000 free sub sandwiches to help numerous causes. That includes everything from a franchisee donating subs to the local high school football team to Jersey Mike’s annual March Month of Giving campaign which this year raised $2.1 million for more than 100 local charities.
We are fortunate to have a founder and CEO who genuinely cares about helping people and championing good causes. His tireless commitment to not only helping, but teaching those around him to get involved, has helped Jersey Mike’s create its culture and define its brand personality.
Doing good is also good for business. Our store sales and average unit volumes have been up, our system is growing faster than it ever has, and our brand awareness continues to expand. Jersey Mike’s has become widely noticed as a company that cares. Here are three things we hold to be true:
If your mission to give back is authentic, you will attract exemplary franchisees and team members. Our desire to make a difference is central to the Jersey Mike’s brand and can serve as a differentiator for potential franchisees and team members. This philosophy is not for everyone, but it has gotten the attention of many like-minded folks who care about people and want to be part of a greater purpose. In fact, this passion for helping others has become a “must have” personality trait for prospective franchisees as well as team members from managers to sub makers. This engagement means job performance, customer satisfaction and overall energy all rise to a new level. We are building something people want to be part of.
If your mission to give back is well-communicated, you will attract loyal customers. Eighty-one percent of our most loyal customers say learning about or participating in Jersey Mike’s community involvement has changed their perceptions. They know that we give first and worry about the returns later and that our franchisees “put their money where their mouth is.” We believe that marketing strategies like discounting won’t build a loyal customer base, but offering superb fresh sliced and fresh grilled subs and supporting your local community will. Jersey Mike’s is known as a company that cares and our customers appreciate that.
Business success means additional opportunities to make a difference. Partnerships with local charities are a win-win for everyone. These connections have undoubtedly helped Jersey Mike’s build a bond within our local communities, winning a passionate following. And our business success has a direct benefit for the causes we support: More restaurants mean we can raise even more money for hard working organizations.
Many factors go into a successful restaurant — from operational excellence to a great location — but giving back brings a different sort of value to a business that is very real and grows as the commitment to the community grows. At Jersey Mike’s our experience has been that customers are happy to see a company that does good do well.