Jon Smith Subs

United Franchise Group Adds Food to Global Franchise Brand Offerings: Jon Smith Subs seeks qualified franchisees

As experts predict a continued trend toward quick-service restaurant options, a new player is joining the restaurant realm with a deliciously different food choice option. Franchising giant United Franchise Group is entering the food industry with the addition of a premium quality, yet affordable sandwich restaurant. The franchiser has added Jon Smith Subs to its menu of brands, which includes several global industry-leading names and operates in more than 80 countries.

Prior to adding this first food brand, United Franchise Group franchises were primarily business-to-business service providers, such as Signarama, EmbroidMe, and Transworld Business Advisors.

But the West Palm Beach franchise empire that launched those brands in the past three decades consistently stretches for new opportunities and succeeds in expanding its family of brands with winning models from business sectors that are new to it. Most recently, the company acquired Experimac, a technology sales and repair service, and is now actively expanding that brand across the country. The company adds Jon Smith Subs as its first food franchise to its enterprise.

Jon Smith, who founded his burgeoning company in 1988, is indisputably an adventurer, seeking thrills of every sort. Over the decades he has become an avid motorcyclist, a small plane pilot, a horse trainer, a racecar champion, and a star in his own band. He also launched several other successful businesses.

Some would say that Smith expanded that same adventurous passion to selling his unusually high-quality sub sandwiches with predictable reliability no matter how much his restaurants grew. He refined methods and systems for everything related to sandwich making, starting with selection and efficient handling of premium meats that range from marinated sirloin steaks and whole breast of chicken or tuna to hot pastrami and authentic Italian cold cuts, which are hand sliced in each restaurant.

The company began describing its sandwiches as marked by Smith’s “thrill of the grill,” and in time, the little chain of sandwich shops known for super high-quality food that included crispy fries served with each sandwich, had grown to nine Florida locations.

The consistent quality that Smith and staff brought to Florida sandwich markets drew United Franchise Group’s attention. The franchiser purchased Jon Smith Subs in early 2016, adding high-level staff from the food-service industry and partnering with agencies with extensive food service experience to create a growth plan that initially includes 50 shops nationally in 2017, according to its executive vice president and new food division leader, Gary Lengel.

“We have been approached by other food operators about franchising many times in the past and declined to partner with them,” Lengel says. “But Jon Smith Subs is such a unique, flavorful offering, with a long history and extraordinary earnings, we knew this was the opportunity we had been waiting for.”

Other locations have already been sold and will be opening in Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Boston, and Brooklyn before expanding throughout the U.S. and globally.

As a twenty-five-year food industry veteran, Lengel says the sub sandwich chain brings a fresh opportunity to franchise markets. “There is nothing else like the flavor profile in a Jon Smith’s sub. We use only high-quality ingredients, cooked up fresh on the grill and served with an order of award-winning french fries,” he says. “We have the systems and people in place to provide site research and set up assistance, marketing, and on-going support.” 

For more information about franchising opportunities with Billy Sims Barbecue, visit