Jimmy John's CEO Says Long-Awaited Loyalty Program is Coming Soon

Photo Credit: John Locher/AP/Shutterstock
February 7, 2019

By Lillie Carlson and Chloe Aiello

Delivery has always been integral to Jimmy John's, first as a means of survival, then as a cornerstone of its business model. But today Jimmy John's is taking its push for customer loyalty one step further with a rewards program.

"We're in the process. Hold on soon, it's coming," Jimmy John's CEO and President James North told Cheddar Thursday.

Jimmy John's sandwich fiends have long hoped for some sort of rewards program ー there's even a Facebook ($FB) group, called Petition for Jimmy Johns Rewards Program, dedicated to the cause. And although North wouldn't go into much detail about the program ー only saying the company hasn't "made the final decision" about whether the program will be points-based, order-based or otherwise ー at least now these sandwich lovers have something to look forward to.

This development comes as many popular chains, like Starbuck ($SBUX) and Chick-fil-A, have rolled out loyalty programs to drive traffic and increase per-visit spending. Jimmy John's has a devoted customer base and a rock-solid operating process, but a loyalty program could be instrumental in driving up revenue.

Jimmy John's has accrued customers through its consistent speed, accuracy, and quality. The restaurant has its in-house delivery service down to a science. "Delivery's been part of our DNA for 36 years. It was part of the model, it was how we grew the business," North said.

In fact, Jimmy John's is so confident in its business model, it's refusing to let third-party delivery services, like Uber Eats or DoorDash, ever deliver its sandwiches. North told Cheddar that Jimmy John's only delivers sandwiches to areas within five minutes of its stores, and it is not willing to compromise on its promise to customers.

"We have the best delivery model on the planet," he said.

North's confidence is notable at a time when other delivery services are stumbling.

Instacart, a grocery delivery app, recently announced that it is reversing its controversial policy of applying its workers' tips toward their wages, following a public outcry. Its rival DoorDash is under fire for a similar tipping policy.

But James North says Jimmy John's strategy is different. "Our franchisees and our stores take care of our delivery drivers. We’ve got a world-class training model, we’re very safe, follow all the local laws, and our delivery drivers not only have an opportunity to deliver our sandwiches but work in-store. There’s a huge opportunity for growth within our organization if you start as a part-time delivery driver."

For full interview click here.