As a child, he waited tables in his mother’s restaurant. Since then, John Nissan, 25, has worked every station in food service, most recently as a server at Cheddar’s Casual Café in Columbus; Locos Grill and Pub in Athens; and Buffalo Wild Wings in Kennesaw.
Every position, he said, except management.
That’s changed. With two silent partners, Nissan is the owner of the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop franchise, opening in Covington by the end of the summer.
He admits that being management is different. “Instead of having someone else who has the answers, I’m the one who needs to have the answers,” he said. “I’ve worked at a number of places where I thought management could make some improvements. Now, I’m the one who needs to make the changes and improvements.
“You never want to be the manager that isn’t willing to be the hardest worker on the shift,” he said. “You want to be someone employees look up to and inspire.”
That philosophy seems to blend well with Jimmy John’s views. Nissan said that after looking at a number of different franchises, he was impressed with the sandwich shop’s seven-week training program and interview process.
He was also impressed with the product. “I will find myself eating their sandwiches maybe four or five times a week, and craving them in between,” he said. The Beach Club No. 12 is one of his favorites. “It’s got pretty much everything we have—lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, turkey, provolone.”
And then there’s the Gargantuan sandwiches, and the even larger versions that appear only on the restaurant’s secret menu.
Born in Victorville, California, and raised in Warm Springs, Nissan discovered Covington and Conyers when he began driving through the area driving to and from Athens, where he was attending school. “We found out there’s a lot hidden [here],” he said. “We didn’t know about the movie connections.”
Nissan said the chamber and economic development office have gone above and beyond the welcome him to the business community. “Everybody’s been nice to the new kid in [town].” he said.
Construction began in April, and won’t be finished until later in the summer. Now, Nissan said, they are beginning to hire staff to fill the 30 open positions, including cashiers, drivers, sandwich makers and managers. Those interested can send Nissan a resume at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to company spokesperson Nathan Louer, Jimmy John’s gives customers a “great product in an energetic atmosphere and do it with a smile. If you can’t get out of the home or office give us a call, if you are within our delivery area we will deliver as little as one sub right to your doorstep. Our combination of speed and service is what sets us apart.”
There are currently over 2,000 Jimmy John stores opened nationally.