March / 2021

#002: Jersey Mike’s Founder & CEO – Peter Cancro

America’s leading sub sandwich franchise, Jersey Mike’s Subs is headquartered in Manasquan, New Jersey. Its Founder and CEO, Peter Cancro purchased the single-store sandwich shop formerly called Mike’s Subs at only 17 years of age and has grown it to over 2,000 stores across the globe closing in on over $2 billion in annual sales.

Joining Fran Racioppi on the show, Peter shares his secret for scaling his franchise empire: by building its foundation on a “SubAbove” culture of giving and a commitment to its people. Peter also dives into how he got into the sandwich business and overcame all adversities.

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What does it take for a 17-year-old aspiring entrepreneur to break into the industry?

For Peter Cancro, Founder, and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Subs, all it takes is to put the best foot forward, have a deep desire to serve others, and set the example in everything. All of these plunged him into the business scene, allowing him to raise a $125,000 capital – which equates to more than $700,000 today!

Peter inspires people to work their hardest by consistently showing up and doing the work himself, helping others understand the best processes through hands-on examples. For him, one doesn’t just have to walk the talk if they can make a run for it.

This philosophy allowed him to open up around 2,000 stores today, experiencing rapid growth even in the middle of the pandemic. He credits all of his triumph to his attitude of putting others first, working with people with that very same attitude, and having the constant desire to learn.

“Be subservient and put others first before yourself. Always pull people along, never push them.”

Because of this, every single one of his stores is partnered with a local charity, all to uphold their mission of serving the people. In addition, they pay huge attention to their training programs, a hallmark of their excellence in performance, leadership, and consistency across thousands of stores.

Despite this company mission, Peter makes it a point not to force everyone on their philanthropy work but make it all inspiring and come naturally to them. This effective leadership point eventually gave birth to their Day of Giving every last Wednesday of March, which for 2021 they have decided to expand for the whole month instead.

Although he experienced a lot of professionals wins, Peter’s career is not free of failures and challenges. He saw how his business flat-lined after the high-tech bubble burst in 2002, and their sales plummet in 2020 because of COVID-19. Nevertheless, they managed to push through simply by harnessing the power of the so-called “sub-sandwiches.”

Among the biggest initiatives spearheaded by Peter and his team is Wreaths Across America, where they remember the fallen by raising money to adorn their tombs with flowers. They also work in Sub Abover Grants, which highlights extraordinary people who make even the smallest differences in their communities.

All in all, Peter Cancro aims to raise the bar all the time, striving for excellence while putting the people in the limelight.

About Peter Cancro

Peter Cancro is the Founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Subs. In 1971 at the age of only 17, Peter raised $125,000 to purchase the single-store sandwich shop called Mike’s Subs. Today, Jersey Mike’s has over 2000 stores across the globe and is closing in on over $2 billion in annual sales. Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked Jersey Mike’s #7 in the 2021 Franchise 500 Ranking. Peter has built Jersey Mike’s on a culture of giving and a commitment to its people, investing over $150 million back into its store owners to update and modernize. Peter was named to the 2021 Power List by Nation’s Restaurant News.

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