2017 Innovation Award

Recipient

Jimmy John Liautaud, Owner, Founder, and Chairman, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches.

In 1983, at the age of 19, Liautaud opened his first restaurant in a converted garage in Charleston, Illinois, with a $25,000 loan from his dad. 34 years later, Jimmy John’s has over 2,600 locations in 43 states and is one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the U.S. The success of the company is a direct reflection of Jimmy’s simple, real, and genuine approach to serving his franchisees, employees, and customers.  In September 2016, Liautaud sold a majority stake in Jimmy John’s to Roark Capital Group. He remains the largest individual shareholder and chairman, and is very involved serving his team.  Liautaud also manages investments in several hotels, wineries, an airline, several bar and restaurant concepts & real estate. Jimmy has a passion for helping others help themselves. The Liautaud family supports many local and national causes relating to health and wellness, promoting the safety and personal growth of our youth, and supporting our troops.  Liautaud has been named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, inducted into the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame, and was recently named Franchise Times “Dealmaker of the Year”.

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