Steal This Account: Firehouse Subs
Steve’s breakdown: These guys are on fire! (I meant that) Either they are going to explode via legal battles with franchises, ala Quiznos, or this is all for real. But as far as advertising, they need help.
JACKSONVILLE, FL: Driven by a mission of offering hearty and flavorful food, heartfelt service and public safety support, Firehouse Subs surpassed company goals and industry averages, resulting in a record-breaking 2012. The brand opened 98 new restaurants and added 144 new franchisees during the year. The average unit volume (AUV) grew from $648,407 to $731,006, an increase of 12.7 percent. Bolstered by a same-restaurant sales increase of 7.8 percent — overall system wide sales grew from $285 million in 2011 to $385 million in 2012; an increase of 35.2 percent.
Reaching 78 million people through 156 donations, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation expanded its scope of grant recipients from municipal and volunteer fire departments, police departments, and emergency medical services to nonprofit organizations and public school systems. Donating $1.8 million in 2012, the Foundation funded items such as K-9 search and rescue dogs, equipment for tactical simulation labs, disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy survivors, all-terrain vehicles, thermal imaging cameras, bunker gear and extrication tools. During October Fire Safety Month, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation partnered with the world’s leading producer of alkaline batteries, P&G Professional/Duracell®, to provide restaurant patrons a free Duracell 9-volt battery for their home smoke detector.
“In 2012 our focus was on three key objectives: supporting the communities we serve through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, increasing our guest’s satisfaction by staying true to our brand heritage of heartfelt service and hearty, flavorful food, and growth in sales within our franchise system,” said Don Fox, chief executive officer of Firehouse of America, LLC. “This laser focus yielded results that are the best in our 18-year history, and we thank our loyal guests, dedicated franchise community, and more than 8,000 employees across the country that made it happen.”
Validating the brand’s success, Firehouse Subs received major industry acknowledgements in 2012 and early 2013 including:
- No. 1 Fast-Food Sandwich – Zagat
- No. 1 Chain Restaurant Consumers’ Choice Awards for Fast Casual Category service – Technomic
- No. 1 Consumer Picks in the sandwich category – Nation’s Restaurant News
- No. 1 2012/2013 Franchisee Satisfaction Award – Franchise Business Review, Food & Beverage
- No. 2 Fastest Growing U.S. Restaurant Chain – Technomic
- CEO Don Fox honored with 2013 Silver Plate Award for Chain Limited Service – International Foodservice Manufacturers Association
- No. 3 Fast Casual Social 100’s Top Five Social Brands – Digital CoCo
- No. 19 Restaurant Social Media Index Top 100 – Nations Restaurant News
To promote future growth and success, Firehouse Subs promoted 10 headquarters team members in 2012. The promotions are listed below with their new roles.
- Mary Rawlins, vice president of financial services
- Meg Rose, vice president of field operations
- Mike Branson, director of company operations
- Marisa Burton, director of field marketing services
- Sheri Kohler, corporate controller
- Kristen Moore, director of franchise administration
- Jeremy Gibeault, senior manager of information systems
- Danny Walsh, senior financial reporting manager
- Lindsay Milton, manager of franchise administration
- Scott Schalk, manager of communications
Firehouse Subs is striving to make 2013 a banner year. By the end of 2013, the company aims to increase its average unit volume, raise $3.5 million for Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and increase its restaurant count to 715 units — with a long-term goal of 2,000 restaurants by 2020.
Firehouse Subs is a fast casual restaurant chain founded by former firefighters and brothers Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen. Built on decades of fire and police service, Firehouse Subs is a brand built on the highest quality meats and cheeses piled higher, steaming hot subs, and its commitment to saving lives through the creation of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. Through the non-profit 501(c)(3), Firehouse Subs has given $5.7 million to hometown heroes in 36 states and Puerto Rico. The founders are the real deal, the food is their creation, and the company is built upon a family of franchise operators who share their same passion for serving others.