Who owns Jimmy John’s?- Full History

Who owns Jimmy John’s?

Jimmy John’s Franchise, LLC is a drive-in & drive-through restaurant chain. It is an American fast-food corporation that is franchised. Jimmy John’s is known for its lip-smacking sandwiches and wraps. The founder of Jimmy John’s is Jimmy John Liautaud. It is serving at more than 2,700 locations across the United States. It is a subsidiary of Inspire Brands (its parent organization), a privately held company that owns many other restaurant chains. Their restaurant chains are located across 32,000 areas. In this article, we will get to know the insights of Inspire Brands, Inc., the owner and franchisor of Jimmy John’s. 

About Inspire Brands, Inc.

Inspire Brands is a close corporation whose predecessors are Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. and Dunkin’ Brands. It was founded three years ago, on February 5, 2018, by Paul J. Brown and Neal Aronson. It is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia, United States. The CEO of Inspire Brands is Paul J. Brown. There are more than 3,200 franchises and 650,000 company and franchise team members in the Inspire Brands family. It operates in more than 65 countries. Some of them are as follows:

  • Mexico
  • United States
  • Philippines
  • India
  • Qatar
  • Turkey
  • Panama
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Canada
  • Kuwait

The annual revenue of the corporation in 2020 was around $14.6 billion. Its subsidiaries include:

  • Jimmy John’s
  • Arby’s
  • Mister Donut
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • SONIC Drive-In
  • Dunkin’
  • Baskin-Robbins
  • Rusty Taco

Also, it has its Support Centers at various locations such as Massachusetts, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Canton, and Champaign. The Inspire Brands’ owner is Roark Capital Management, LLC, an American private equity firm. Its Founder and Managing Partner is also Neal Aronson. They deal in a leveraged buyout (LBO). It means to meet the costs of acquiring one company by another using a large amount of borrowed money. Along with Inspire Brands, Roark Capital Group is currently investing in 22 other companies. 

Work Culture

According to Inspire Brands, digital technology serves as a north star or a guide to them. It includes the following leading lights:

  • The best customer gratification at all stages of representatives.
  • Enhance and revamp the efficiency of the collaborators inside the restaurants.
  • Supplying ingenious automation to their brands at scale.

They are also working on their Bionic Model. It will be an analytics data state-of-the-art platform in the cloud. Recently, they productized an autodidactic chatbot. It serves as a helpdesk component to carry out internal support and elevate prolificacy in their Service Centers. Due to team members employed at divergent restaurant brands, it had an actual occasion to utilize technology to assist in timekeeping, economic growth, inventory levels, and making timetables. Also, they are evaluating an application for restaurant operations managers. It runs on a tablet and can be operated for inventory governance and team schedules. It is based on predictive analytics.

They aim to construct a corporation having astonishing advancement through data-driven resolutions, innovation, curiosity, and listening. There are different workshops operated for all team members, such as.

  • Leadership Development Program (workshop for new managers in Support Center)
  • Brand Champ (purpose-driven workshop)
  • Inspire U (day-to-day skill development for general managers)
  • Ignite Workshops (to increase effective collaboration and communication)

Inspire Brands encapsulates the notion of a multi-brand organization and implants the company’s aspiration, imagination, and conduct into the office configuration. Their zestful atmosphere exhilarates the customers, employees, guests, and franchisees. They render a perception of company pride and association with messaging and pertinence that acknowledges the culinary society. Inspire Brands is creating a true multiple-user client-focused architecture for technological potentiality. It will be operated with the assistance of a data platform to individualize the experience for a customer at a specific brand. It will also help during the future incorporation of brands to provide economic and speedily delivered features. This is because they will already be having developed amenities for menu design, appraising, etc. In addition, they are continuously working on improving the guest and operator experience. 


The merging of Arby’s Restaurant Group and Buffalo Wild Wings on 5th February 2018 gave rise to Inspire Brands. Buffalo Wild Wings also possessed a Rusty Taco chain. Paul J. Brown, who was the CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, was chosen to be the same for Inspire Brands. Brown anticipated obtaining supplementary restaurant chains in distinct sections. His objective is to structure the corporation akin to Hilton Hotels & Resorts. 

Co-owner of Arby’s Group, The Wendy’s Company experienced a reduction in its stake from 18.5% to 12.3% due to Roark Capital Group’s inclusion to finance the purchase. Inspire changed the name R Taco back to Rusty Taco around September 2018. The Wendy’s Company declared on 16th August 2018 that it traded its 12.3% stake in Inspire Brands back to the organization for $450 million. It comprises a 38% premium atop the stake’s most recent estimation. Nathan Deal, the Governor of Georgia, reported on 28th August 2018 that Inspire was shifting its headquarters to Sandy Springs, Georgia, in 2019. 

On September 25, 2018, Inspire Brands declared that it was purchasing Sonic Drive-In, originally belonging to Oklahoma City, for $2.3 billion. The deal closed on 7th December 2018. On September 25, 2019, Inspire Brands announced to be buying Jimmy John’s. Liautaud, the owner of Jimmy John’s, sold around 65% of his business to Inspire that had an estimated value of $3 billion. The possession was finalized on 18th October 2019. In addition, inspire Brands acquired Dunkin Brands for $11.3 billion. The announcement was made on 25th October 2020, and the transaction concluded on 15th December 2020. Inspire Brands was given the ‘Dealmaker of the Year 2019’ award title by Franchise Times due to its Sonic Drive-In and Buffalo Wild Wings acquisitions. It also got nominated as 2021 US Best Managed Company. Its sponsors were The Wall Street Journal and Deloitte Private. 

How did Jimmy John’s come into existence?

In 1982, Jimmy John Liautaud graduated from Elgin Academy in Illinois, the United States following which his father gave him two career choices. The first was to serve the military, and the other was to become an entrepreneur and run a business. He picked the second option, so his father provided him $25,000. This capital was initially given to start a hot dog business. In the business, Jimmy John Liautaud had a share of 52%, while his father had a 48% share. But shortly, he understood that the cost of running a hot dog business was much more than the profit he earned. 

Therefore, he planned to open a sandwich outlet. He opened this shop in a garage in Charleston, Illinois, the first-ever Jimmy John’s. He also paid a monthly hire charge of $200. Liautaud could afford only second-hand kitchen appliances such as an oven, refrigerator, meat slicer, and chest freezer. Nevertheless, he collected a significant profit in his first-year sale itself. Due to his dedication to delivering food items to nearby dormitories at Eastern Illinois University, it could become possible. Also, he provided free samples for marketing purposes.

Liautaud became the solitary owner of the business in April 1985 after acquiring his father’s profit in it. It was 1986 when he started his second Jimmy John’s in Macomb, Illinois. The third one followed soon after, around 1987, in Champaign, Illinois. He continued to open outlets and succeeded in creating a blueprint before introducing franchising in 1994. The first franchise was inaugurated at Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He continued franchising till 2002 and then stopped for one year to support struggling businesses. Till March 2017, 3,000 Jimmy John’s stores were successfully operating. Jimmy John’s also featured in ‘Great Franchise Bets’ list by CNNMoney. 

How to get a job at Inspire Brands?

The recruiting process at Inspire Brands is usually a four-step process and typically requires a week. The steps are as follows:

  • Apply for a relevant job position online through their official website.
  • Phone screen interview.
  • Hiring manager interview
  • Case Analysis
  • Case Presentation

Each interview session lasts for about thirty minutes. Many behavioral questions are put up during the process. The job sectors that are available for recruitment include:

  • Human Resources
  • Supply Chain
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Technology
  • Business Development
  • Marketing and Communication
  • Administrative Services
  • Operations Services
  • Legal
  • Analytics
  • Photography Director

Some common interview questions asked during the hiring process are as follows:

  • Explain the difficulties you had to face during your recent job posting. How did you overcome it?
  • Suppose that you are required to take up a new initiative. What kind of data will you gather to favor your evaluation of the scheme? How will you compute success?
  • What are your responsibilities in the applied job position?
  • What are your reasons to apply at Inspire Brands?

Inspire Brands showed a tremendous increase in its market value in a concise span of three years. It is no wonder why the corporate world regards its management as one of the finest they have ever observed in a corporation.

Who owns Jimmy John’s?- Full History

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