Firehouse Subs Ranks 110th on Entrepreneur Magazine’s List of 500 Top American Franchises

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Celebrating its 10th year in business, Firehouse Subs had never been ranked on the Entrepreneur list before; ranks 3rd in Sub category.

Firehouse Subs, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based chain that now operates more than 170 stores throughout the Southeast, has been ranked 110th in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 26th annual Franchise 500®, a listing of the top 500 American franchises.

In addition, Firehouse Subs was ranked third in the Submarine Sandwich Category behind Subway and Quiznos, two much larger companies. The ranking marked the first ever that Firehouse Subs had been named to the Entrepreneur list, which is published in the magazine’s January 2005 edition.

“We have known that a Firehouse Subs franchise is a great value as well as a great opportunity for our franchisees,” said Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs president. “This ranking by Entrepreneur Magazine shows that others are recognizing our success, as well.”

Firehouse Subs was started by Robin Sorensen and his brother, Chris Sorensen, in 1994 in their native Jacksonville, Fla. That single store has grown into a chain of more than 170 stores in 10 southeastern states. The company expects to operate 275 stores by the end of 2005 and to be a nationwide chain with more than 1,000 stores by 2008. The company’s goal is to become one of the top five sub sandwich chains in the nation.

The company believes strongly in sharing its success with its franchisees, and the company’s management looks for attitude and work ethic rather than the size of a prospective franchisee’s bank account.

The Firehouse Subs American Dream program allows hard-working store managers to become franchisees through a special formula; corporate store managers who are successful can purchase a 20 percent share of their store’s revenue stream for $5,000. After three years, they can move on to their own franchise, financed up to $150,000 by Firehouse Subs.

“If you own 20 percent of your store’s annual profits, are you going to be willing to work harder and stay with the company longer? The chances are pretty good that you will be,” said Stephen Joost, Firehouse Subs’ chief financial officer and one of the company’s four owners.

Firehouse Subs is not the only restaurant chain to offer profit-sharing programs for store managers. But Joost said he knows of no other restaurant company that offers a program allowing hard-working store managers who do not have their own sources of capital to end up owning their own franchises.



Firehouse Subs was founded in 1994 by two brothers, Robin and Chris Sorensen, who worked as firefighters for the Jacksonville Fire Department. By the end of 2004, Firehouse Subs operated 172 stores throughout the Southeast, employing 25,000 people and generating annualized sales of more than $90 million. Plans call for more than 500 Firehouse Subs stores by the end of 2006, and more than 1000 Firehouse stations by the end of 2008. To learn more, visit the company’s web site at


Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® is the world’s first, best and most comprehensive listing of franchise opportunities. Franchise 500® rankings are determined by numerous factors, including financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system, number of years in business and length of time franchising, start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing.

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