The Business of Giving Back: How One Jersey Mike’s Franchise Owner Supports His Local Community
The Business of Giving Back: How One Jersey Mike’s Franchise Owner Supports His Local Community

Jersey Mike’s franchisee Matt Jones is making a difference in the Prosper, Texas community.

Jersey Mike’s, known for its fresh ingredients and custom subs, has grown a reputation for going above and beyond to give back to national and local charities. With more than 1,500 locations and more under development, Jersey Mike’s franchise owners are making a real impact.

1851 Franchise chatted with Texas’ newest Jersey Mike’s franchise owner, Matt Jones, to hear his story as well as why he loves to give back to his community and how it’s helped the success of his business.

1851 Franchise: When did you open your first Jersey Mike’s and what inspired you to franchise with the brand?

Matt Jones: We just opened on June 27. This is my first franchise, but I had worked as a Jersey Mike’s manager at different stores for the past five years. I love the brand, the concept and their community involvement. The opportunity to become an owner was due to the fact that Jersey Mike's looked at managers nationwide who were doing a good job, and they offered to help with the financing, so it couldn’t have been better. I’m so grateful and now I’m just enjoying every minute of it.

1851: How important is it to give back to your local community as it relates to growing your business?

Jones: It feels so awesome and Jersey Mike's really facilitates that. We have a day of giving every year in March where 100 percent of our sales goes to a local charity, and North Texas chose Wipe out Kids’ Cancer this year. We also do local fundraising with schools, and when you talk to the kids, they get so excited. When I was a manager, it was great to help out, but now that it’s coming from me, it’s very exciting to make a difference however big or small.

1851: What local or charitable outreach efforts have you made in order to connect with your local community?

Jones: For our grand opening, we partnered with the great local charity Kids Prosper Kids, and they helped us hand out 1,000 to 3,000 grassroots cards by going to every local business in the community. We also invited them to come in with the card to receive a free sub if they donate a minimum of one dollar to the charity. However much they choose to donate goes straight to the charity. It feels really good to help and it gets our word out, gets people to try us out and we hope that they come back!

The fundraiser is actually still going on because we also sent out about 1,500 mailers to homes in the area which are good for the same thing, so we’re still getting donations from that and I’m pretty excited to see what the grand total is going to be!

1851: What are your top ideas or tips to market your local business?

Jones: Definitely just be genuine. You’re going to get more people in the door based on being who you are, sharing your personality and listening to the customer’s experiences. Coupons work well, but if you can get face to face time and build relationships, that's how a business grows. A lot of our customers are regulars, and you’re not going to get that without sharing your day-to-day self, no matter where you are in the community.

1851: How effective are charitable efforts in growing your business?

Jones: Very effective — people love to support people who support the community, especially in a town like Prosper that still has a small town feel and everyone knows each other. Also, the Chamber of Commerce really likes to support local businesses that are doing things for the local community, so it’s a really big deal around here.

1851: What advice would you give to other franchisees who are just starting their businesses to best set themselves up for success on the local level?

Jones: Choose the best people you can to help support you in that effort. You’re hiring a worker, yes, but you’re also hiring a personality and a story — you want to have good people to build your team.  Especially with today’s turnover rate in the restaurant industry, when people come in and see different faces every day, it’s hard to build loyalty. If you can find a crew that has good chemistry and acts like a family more than coworkers, that’s really the best thing.