How Jersey Mike’s Subs Grew In 2020: It Began Acting Like a Tech Company


When the lockdowns hit in March, business at Jersey Mike’s dropped 45 percent in a week. And with fall sports on hiatus, CEO and founder Peter Cancro lost the ability to reach his football-loving customers with game-day commercials. So he went on the offensive: He shifted his marketing dollars to Fox News, NBC, CNN, and ABC.

“Everyone was watching the news, so they saw we were still open,” says Cancro, who used the marketing blitz to reaffirm his small-business roots. One commercial, for instance, opens on a photo of Cancro posing with his high school football coach, Rod Smith — the banker who famously went on to lend him $125,000 to buy his original sub shop in 1975.

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