JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local restaurant chain known for its sandwiches just got a lot more bread.
Firehouse Subs, which was founded in Jacksonville in 1994, announced it has sold the franchise for $1 billion in cash to Restaurant Brands International (RBI). RBI also owns Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes.
“We chose RBI because they believe in and are committed to honoring things that are important to us, which are to protect the brand and continue its legacy, to take care of our nearly 800 local employees, to remain headquartered in Jacksonville, and to preserve, foster, and continue the mission of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation,” Firehouse Subs founders Chris and Robin Sorensen said in a joint statement.
The founders and former firefighters said RBI will bring more resources to the Jacksonville chain to “help accelerate our long-held mission to sell more subs and save more lives.”
Firehouse Subs currently has more than 1,200 restaurants spread across 46 states, Canada and Puerto Rico and will close 2021 with system-wide sales of more than $1 billion, the company said. It has also donated 5,399 lifesaving grants to local heroes totaling more than $62.5 million through its foundation.
“Firehouse Subs is a special brand with a talented team, impressive culture and community focus that resonates with guests and closely aligns with our core values at RBI. We see tremendous potential to accelerate U.S. and international growth at Firehouse Subs with RBI’s development expertise, global franchisee network and digital capabilities,” said José Cil, Chief Executive Officer of RBI.
RBI said Firehouse Subs is a strong and growing player in the $30 billion sandwich market in the U.S.
“We are proud to have been born and raised in Jacksonville, and to have built this brand right here in our hometown. As for the future, we will reside here and continue our legacy of giving back to this community that has supported us so much. Who knows… maybe one day we will open another restaurant,” the founders said in a statement.
The deal is expected to close in the coming months.
Firehouse Subs is just the latest example of a Jacksonville-based restaurant chain selling to a large company.
In 2019, Jacksonville-based Maple Street Biscuit Company was acquired by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. for $36 million in cash.
Maple Street was founded by Scott Moore and Gus Evans in Jacksonville in 2012 with a single restaurant in San Marco and has since grown to 33 locations in seven states.
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