Despite a new ad agency and campaign, the brand’s focus still centers on quality food and people.
For years, Firehouse Subs was known by its tagline, “Founded by Firemen.” The brand rolled out numerous campaigns featuring its founders, brothers and firemen Chris and Robin Sorensen, and positioned itself as a community oriented business that put both its employees and customers first.
That commitment to creating a positive environment and culture for every person surrounding the brand became an integral part of the brand’s DNA. Doug Reifschneider, chief marketing officer for Firehouse Subs, even listed it as one of the main reasons the brand stands out in not just the sandwich industry, but in the restaurant franchising industry in general.
“Our franchisees live our mission statement every day. They carry on our commitment to and passion for hearty and flavorful food, heartfelt service and public safety,” he told Nation’s Restaurant News an in interview back in 2014.
However, earlier this year, Firehouse Subs ditched its long-standing marketing tactic and unveiled a new campaign. Instead of featuring the founders, its national ads now include a paid actor and comedic dialogue. And the tagline reads, “the hero of all subs.” According to Reifschneider, the change was made in order to promote the brand and its food as a whole. But that doesn’t mean Firehouse Subs is leaving its people-centric culture behind.
Firehouse Subs is committed to maintaining its position as a brand dedicated to best serving its customers on both the national and local levels. It’s a message that’s fueled the brand’s impressive growth—Firehouse Subs passed the 1,000-unit mark with the opening of a location in California last month. According to QSR Magazine, that’s a milestone that less than 40 limited-service restaurant concepts have achieved. Firehouse Subs also saw its sales increase by 17.4 percent to $648.5 million.
By relying on its core values and strong culture, Firehouse Subs plans to continue to add more restaurants to its network. The brand’s CEO Don Fox says success is soon to follow when Firehouse Subs’ mission is upheld, which then creates more opportunities for growth not just across the country, but for the local business owners and employees operating within its franchise system as well.In an interview with QSR Magazine, Fox said, “So many things can go wrong from one to 1,000. If all it took was money just to build out a band, I could have 3,000 restaurants right now. But it’s about the people that have to be engaged with you brand and operate it.”