The Firehouse Subs is a family entrepreneurial venture started by the Sorensen brothers. With over twenty years in the operation of the business, the brothers have steered the brand by facilitating its expansion into the opening of over seven hundred restaurants over the country. Firehouse Subs serves as one of the franchises offering the best sandwiches with a commitment to its clientele on the best of services regarding good and healthy food. The history of the franchise also relates to the professions that the two brothers took part in before beginning the business together. One of them was a firefighter while the other was a police officer, hence the name Firehouse.
Market Position Within the Franchise Category
Firehouse Subs continues to lead and innovate in the category of sandwiches, making it one of the franchises to appear in the Entrepreneur’s 2014 Top 100. It ranked at position 65. The franchise has units in both the United States as well as Puerto Rico. Moreover, it is looking to expand into Canada and Mexico. According to IBIS World, their estimations put the Firehouse Subs at a 1.5% market share. The description of the level of growth that the business has achieved is rapid. Since 2008, the number of units of operation of the franchise has doubled. The latter is in line with its mission to reach 2000 restaurants by the year 2020.
The brand of the franchise is keen to differentiate itself from other franchises by engaging the use of high-quality pieces of meat and cheeses (Moore, 2008). The latter are steamed to perfection to release the optimal flavor for the consumers. Other forms of differentiation that the franchise makes use of are the different portions and sizes of the sandwiches that are stuffed with ingredients. Furthermore, the making of the rolls is a private recipe that ensures freshness in every bite.
Fig 1: Summary of Firehouse Subs’ market position in the broader industry category
Firehouse Subs have more competition in the broader industry category from other franchises that are putting all their efforts to appeal to their customers. Some of these franchises include the Subway, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Jersey Mike’s Subs. Pita Pit, Schlotzsky’s, McAlister’s Deli and the Capriotti’s sandwich shop. Their marketing position finds a basis on how good the other franchises operate. An analysis of each of the other franchises, therefore, reveals a lot of information about the positioning of Firehouse Subs in the industry.
When considering the case of Subway franchise, the business has witnessed the significant level of success in the last five years. It attributes the success to its commitment to feed America’s hunger for meat, cheese as well as toppings sandwiched between bread. The competition experienced by Firehouse Subs demonstrates the similarity of products that the two businesses offer their clientele. The Subway franchise, however, ranks in the first position and above Firehouse Subs with over 41000 units globally (Boudjouk, 2015). Even though Subway is dominant, comparing Firehouse Subs’ position in the market to the former indicates growth and increase in market share.
Jimmy John’s is the other franchise competing for a market position with the Firehouse Subs. The franchise enlisted as number five in the Franchise 500 list in 2014. It means it also ranks above the Firehouse Subs, having distinguished itself in the competitive sandwich market. It has offered extraordinary services to its customers, making its delivery program a fun culture for the consumers. Its market share according to IBIS World ranks at 6.8%, which is above that of Firehouse Subs that stands at 1.5%. Furthermore, it has up to 1700 units through which its consumers can enjoy its services.
Another player in the industry is Jersey Mike’s Subs. The latter ranked three spots below the Firehouse Subs at position 68 in 2014. However, its market share is above that Firehouse Subs at 1.8%. The brand attempts to distinguish its products in the high-quality ingredients as well as higher price point while still offering the deserved value. Its growth strategy of targeting multiple units and multi-brand franchisees has also facilitated the opening of stores at a quicker rate when comparing them to Firehouse Subs that prefers to open single-unit operators.
The last two players in the industry are Capriotti’s sandwich shop and McAlister’s Deli. Capriotti’s sandwich deals roasted beef as well as natural turkeys. Their exceptional Thanksgiving-style sandwich has become their signature dishes that different customers are always craving (Catering). McAlister Deli, on the other hand, is a fast casual chain that offers sandwiches, soup, salad as well as sweet tea. It operates over twenty units in twenty-four states. In 2014, it ranked among the businesses in the Entrepreneur top 200 list of the year. The future holds great things for the franchise with its management looking to embrace the further expansion. However, the two businesses rank below Firehouse Subs.
How The Firehouse Subs Fit into The Global Business Environment
One of the strategies of the franchise is that of expansion aimed at optimizing their potential and profitability within the areas of operation. The strategy in itself aims at ensuring it increases its presence in many locations a sign of being an international business. As earlier mentioned, the vision of Firehouse Subs is to have a presence in 2000 locations by 2020. Therefore, an expansion strategy serves as proof of fitness in the global business environment (Reynolds, 2002).
The industry in which Firehouse Subs operates is one that is growing fast and becoming popular with most of the consumers. The amount of potential and feasibility offered by the prospects in such a consumer market when looking at the customers can always go global. Moreover, there can always be good revenue for such a business that looks to introduce its products to the target market outside its borders. Taking such a business to a global stage, therefore, asserts Firehouse Subs’ fitness for the global business environment. Some customers it attracts and that end up equating to revenue is lucrative enough to give it a name at the global level.
Firehouse Subs is also ensuring that it exploits each of the opportunities it gets in ensuring that it becomes a leader in sandwich making (McElroy, 2010). With a growing demand, the business is looking into ways of expanding into new markets by establishing a strong identity as well as strong franchisee relations. The passion with which the franchise intends to make the mentioned investments only likens them to a business that is poised for global development as a way of ensuring investor growth beyond its current areas of operation. These exploits make it a perfect fit for the global business environment.
Another fact that makes the business fit into the global business environment is the fantastic run that the latter is having concerning its recognition within the industry. Since the year 2013, the franchise has received awards pitting it against some of the best franchises in the industry. The Nation’s Restaurant News ranked the franchise at position one among the top ten growth chains. The Franchise Business Review, on the other hand, ranked it at position one for the Franchisee Satisfaction Award. Other awards that the franchise has received have come from Technomic, Fast Casual, and SQR Magazine. Each of these brands has ranked the franchise at positions one, four and one respectively. The awards in the mentioned categories included the chain restaurant consumer’s choice award, fast causal top 100 movers and shakers and best franchise deals respectively.
It is definite that Firehouse Subs is one of the franchises that have established itself in the casual food industry. With over twenty years in the operation of the business, it means there is something that they have right that keeps their loyal customers coming for more of their food. If their marketing position under the franchise category is anything to go by, then its performance is just great. Its performance at the industry level is not bad either. Not only does indicate the potential of what the future holds for the business but also gives it an insight as to why it is fit for the global environment. From the quality of the food, they offer to the amount of investment they have put into expansion strategies, the latter highlight the potential of Firehouse Subs as the next big thing in the business scene.
Boudjouk, D. M. (2015). Leadership case study: Spending More on Ads to Overcome a Slump, By Kermit Pattison.
Catering, A. S. U., Catering, A., Crafters, A. F., Pops, A. Z., Cluckers, B. M., & Robbins, B. Approved Food Provider List.
McElroy, R. (2010). Can You Hear Me Now? Creative Marketing to Your Captive Audience is the Key to Success. Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation, 2010(1), 351- 363.
Moore, C. W. (2008). Managing small business: An entrepreneurial emphasis. Cengage Learning EMEA.
Reynolds, P., Bygrave, W. D., Autio, E., & Hay, M. (2002). Global entrepreneurship monitor: 2002 executive monitor. London Business School, London.