Where did Jersey Mikes come from? Similar to Moses, the Jersey Mikes legend starts by the water and seems improbable. In 1971 at the Jersey shore town of Point Pleasant, not far from Springsteens Asbury Park turf, Jersey Mike’s CEO Peter Cancro started working at a place called Mike’s Subs at age 14. When he was a senior in senior high school, he heard the owner was selling, so he asked his football coach (who was also a banker, because in 70s, anything was possible) to ensure his loan. His coach did, and he became the proud owner of Mike’s at the age of 17.
From there he opened some more stores, however it wasnt until 1987 which he started franchising and added Jersey for the name. In a conversation with Jersey Mike’s President Hoyt Jones, he explained by the end of 2019 they’ll maintain 49 states (sorry, Alaska) and possess near 1,700 stores, with 200 freshly opened in 2019. A 2018 Inc. magazine story quotes Cancro as saying, We’re just getting started and continues on to discuss how, on the next five-years, they need to add another 1,500 locations.
Do you want some competitor context? Subway, quite alarmingly, has nearly 45,000 locations. Odds are like one out of two you’re standing in a single today. Arby’s has 3,300. Jimmy John’s 2,800. Firehouse around 1,100. Quiznos at its peak in 2007 had over 4,700 locations and was considered a genuine rival to Subway because of that heated treadmill oven that toasted their subs, but is now as a result of under 400 (ends up other areas can also toast subs).
Precisely what is Jersey Mike’s seeking to do now? I’d as if you to accomplish a visual exercise in nostalgia: imagine you’re in a surf shack deli on the beach in Jersey. There is a big glass case showcasing the meats. There is certainly sand tracked in on the floor, and waves lapping outside as Bruce Springsteen plays a live set where he tells the long version from the story about his dad through the River and everybody cries while eating saltwater taffy. That’s the Jersey Mike’s decor. Except as opposed to all of that, it’s only a few scattered tables and booths, and the only sign of the beach is literally an indication of a beach, and a surfboard on the wall. But you’ve still got the deli case!
But exactly what are they thinking?!? In order to ascertain their intentions, I begged an expensive creative director in a fancy advertising agency to look at a variety of Jersey Mike’s commercials and give thoughts: “They’re clearly going for the organization lunch crowd — characters are usually within their 20s and 30s, lot of office shots, not families. Voiceover talent is same age because the target market, and the style is terse, and ‘clever?’ The conclusion card always shows a wrapped up sub snagged with a consumer, which, again, makes me think they don’t expect you to definitely eat there. As well as the tagline ‘A Sub Above’ is not exactly ‘Just Do It’ or ‘Imported from Detroit,’ but I guess it gets throughout the message that their sub is superior to competitors.”
As their advertising and limited decor suggest, Jersey Mike’s is wanting to own the quick business lunch, office catering, and delivery apps crowd by proving that they’re an increased quality choice than Subway on the same speed and similar price point, rather than much of a step down from your actual local deli, but with more convenience, speed, and wall-mounted surfboards. Jones confirmed they were leaning in tough to delivery, mentioning that they had national contracts with all major online delivery companies, along with even integrated UberEats and DoorDash into their proprietary POS system. This can be interesting, because sandwich shops inherently have more of a mixture of blue collar and city workers, and college and high school students, in case they feel that’s already their base, the push for your white collar crowd seems aspirational.
More than this, Jersey Mike’s is fascinating, partly due to the bold growth strategy, partly due to its unique environment (Jones told me every franchisee must visit Jersey to get a week, then spend some time inside the field at certified training store), but mostly because, in this particular heavily saturated time as increasing numbers of food entrepreneurs attempt to branch out into increasingly niche corners in the fast casual market, it seems strangely retro for a throwback sub shop through the Jersey shore to bet it may carve out a large slice from the working American lunch scene. You will find, which was a deli meat pun.
Cold subs ordered Mike’s Way are dressed with onions, lettuce, tomatoes, vinegar, oil and spices | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Jersey Mikes Menu Review
The Way I did it: During the period of a month, I went 3 x to two different Northern California Jersey Mike’s locations. Altogether, I used ten sandwiches and three desserts. Per the ethics of these reviews, I didn’t inform anyone at Jersey Mike’s I used to be coming, I purchased all of my food, and that i didnt even sign up for Shore Points, even though 48 would’ve gotten us a free mini size sub.
Bonus Disclaimer: Item availability can vary greatly from franchise to franchise (unfortunately, not every person stocks TastyKakes).
Now back to the cheesesteak.
The Great Stuff:
For me, so that you can be eligible for glory, a cheesesteak must posses this Hylian Triforce of elements:
1) The roll has to be toasty and warm capable to withstand the grease of the melted cheese, meat, and onions/peppers without sogging through.
2) The chopped steak should be crispy and tender, without an abundance of the fatty, inedible bits that bounce your teeth back once you bite down.
3) The cheese (Whiz or American) must be in the correct melty consistency to do something as a binding agent for your meat, cheese and onions without overwhelming the complete production.
The cheesesteak at Jersey menu had those elements. The roll, that the woman at the counter explained was baked in the morning from dough shipped out from Jersey (a company spokesman confirmed this, telling me the trick for the bread is the Jersey water! and that a longtime bread supplier in Jersey ships the dough out fresh to locations all over the country), was rxdwsn and toasty and flaky and held approximately the greasy elements of the sandwich. The steak was chopped correctly and without those chewy fatty gristle bits so frequently apparent in off-Philly cheesesteak productions. The onions and peppers tasted like real vegetables with many bite but were not over greasy and oily. The white American cheese hugged those elements together without suffocating them, much like an excellent parent should, RIGHT DAD?