In 2010 I opened the first Jimmy John’s in the state of New Jersey. Being alone in a tough, new market meant finding solutions for myself, communicating with other franchisees around the country when possible, and leaning on local resources. Accounting and bookkeeping was something that I wanted to keep on top of, but I had to find a good solution for, because I was too busy running my store to spend time doing the financial work myself.
Since it was the best option open to me, I left my bookkeeping in the hands of local accounting firms for the first 5 years. I received financials far down the road, in formats that were difficult to understand for this brand, and lacking any information that I could use to actively improve my operations. After bouncing around to a few different firms and finding out that other franchisees were struggling in the same ways, I decided to build an accounting solution of my own.
Financials with Corporate Values
The brand is all about speed and systems, so when I sit down with my managers every 4 weeks and discuss our financials, I want to be talking about the most recent past weeks – if we’re discussing the state of the store as it was 3 months ago, that’s not actionable for anyone! At the end of that meeting, when I hand them a bonus check based on specific labor, growth, and food cost goals, I want them to trust that those financials are accurate, to be able to look at them with me, to understand why they got their bonus, and to remember the decisions they made which led to that bonus.
After years of struggling with local accountants and realizing that other JJ owners were having the same problems, I decided to scratch my own itch, and to start my own business doing accounting and bookkeeping for Jimmy John’s franchisees. Throughout the process of building the company and the systems that would drive it, I kept in mind the pace and values of the franchisees and the Jimmy John’s company. A year later, Sandwich Math was born!
When owners are working on daily and weekly projections, or even just planning out a large catering order, we joke about doing “Sandwich Math,” so as I formed my own bookkeeping business, I knew exactly what to name it.
We had to be accurate and efficient, but as a franchisee myself, I knew we also had to address the specific needs of the brand; from looking at why we did certain things in the brand, I could figure out exactly how to address them. I committed early on to a faster receipt of financials, to a brand-specific format, and to a future goal of benchmarked data for my clients. Additionally, because we kept the operations lean, we were able to listen to our clients better and continue to improve the service over time.
The Next Generation of Bookkeeping
When Ceterus first contacted me about an acquisition, I couldn’t believe the deliverables their CEO described to me, because they so closely mirrored my goals for Sandwich Math! His vision of real-time, up-to-date, cloud-based financials customized for franchisees to give them a pulse on the financial health of their business, mirrored what I wanted to build since the beginning for franchisees like me. Ceterus Edge had benchmarked reporting for their franchise customers as well, and I couldn’t wait to join forces with Ceterus to bring that to Jimmy John’s franchisees.
With the power of their software and technology team backing me up, I was able to pinpoint a variety of the most important metrics for the brand. Beyond the basics of Royalty Sales, Labor, and Cost of Goods Sold, I’m able to dig deeper into franchisee data and help them see metrics like Average Ticket Price, Out-the-Door Times for deliveries, and even Portions of Cheese Upsold! With the ability to compare these numbers to other franchisees, this is a powerful opportunity for our franchisees to use actionable data to improve their everyday operations.
Imagine noticing that your Average Ticket Price is significantly lower than your peers – knowing that, an owner can test various pieces to make sure their operations are running at 100%. Maybe their team isn’t upselling properly, or being trained properly to do so; maybe their pricing could use an adjustment; or maybe a lower minimum wage compared to neighboring states justifies this difference.
Without the easy access to data, brand-specific metrics, and benchmarked reporting, these operational advantages wouldn’t be possible.
Learn more about what Ceterus/Sandwich Math can offer by clicking here.
Ceterus and Sandwich Math are separate independent entities that are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, Jimmy John’s Franchisor SPV, LLC, its affiliates, or any officer or employee of the franchisor. All representations in this communication are solely those of Ceterus and Sandwich Math, and Ceterus and Sandwich Math alone are responsible for the performance of all services described in this communication.