Helping others to help themselves is Jimmy John Liautaud’s driving force. The selfless American businessman founded his first sandwich business back in 1983 when he was just 19 years old. Hard work and discipline has seen him reach where he is today, owning more than 2,800 stores across 43 states. Today, he is the owner and chairman of the business. Liautaud acknowledges that the restaurant business is not easy to run, and not everyone can do it. It requires a lot of dedication and sacrifices, working over 18 hours every day without days off and holidays, and spending very little time with family. But at least he found out he was good at it.
Liautaud understands that people learn from what you do, as a leader and not what you say, and that is what he does-leads by example. When Liautaud was opening his business, he never prepared any business plan, but through many sacrifices and hard work, the business grew beyond his expectations. Liautaud believes in hard work, and his advice to outshine the competition is to report early and stay late by one hour instead of resting, and work on Saturdays, and you will have guaranteed success. Besides building immense wealth, Liautaud takes pride in his family’s achievements. He is a proud husband to Leslie, and together, they have raised three children.
As the founder and chairman of Jimmy John’s, he has created success stories, and the business has received several recognition awards. In 2015, Jimmy John’s was named among the top 10 Promising Franchises for Ambitious Entrepreneur by Enterpreneur.com. In 2018, Liautaud was listed number one on the Entrepreneur‘s Franchise 500 competitors. Forbes has also ranked Liautaud at number one Franchise. According to the NRM top 100, to date, Jimmy John’s is among the vast growing chains in the country. Apart from creating wealth, Liautaud spends time helping others both at the community and national levels.
Together with his wife, they founded Liautaud Family Foundation, intending to help the less fortunate. The foundation has contributed to many support programs, including health, education, wellness, arts, and military. He has also contributed to various institutions such as Crisis Nursery, Frances Nelson SmileHealth dental clinic, Mayo Clinic, Champaign County Youth Center, and Camp Southern Ground. Liautaud comes from a humble military background where his father, together with his two brothers working in the service, Liautaud recognizes the hardships that the Army undergoes to provide service for the nation. In 2014, he contributed $1 million towards the Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization that offers scholarship programs to families of disabled and fallen soldiers.
Despite his tough academic experience at Elgin Academy, Liautaud still gives education a top priority. In his contribution to supporting education, he gave out $1 million to help construct a new structure that will hold a library, 12 classrooms, and a theater. Liautaud wanted the building named after his name, but the school management, for inspiration’s sake, decided to name the school after his story, Liautaud Lyon Upper School. Together with his wife, they are parents an independent in Wolfeboro, the state of New Hampshire. The couple donated $2 million, which was the largest, to new residents in Brewster.
Liautaud’s family is committed to inspire, motivate, and improve other people’s lives. In 2011, they contributed to the Champaign community a sum of $1 million towards the construction of a modern YMCA. Liautaud is a talented speaker with a strong personality who captivates his listeners wherever he speaks. With honesty, he motivates his audiences with life experiences. He is never tired of helping the needy and encouraging people to move to greater heights