Restaurant Brands International Buys Firehouse Subs for $1 Billion

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Nov. 15 2021, Published 2:57 p.m. ET

Firehouse Subs wasn’t publicly traded before, but now that it’s getting scooped up by Restaurant Brands International (NYSE: QSR), devotees have a chance to invest in the restaurant chain and the other RBI brands.

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RBI and Firehouse announced the acquisition on Monday, Nov. 15. “At Firehouse Subs, we are united in our commitment to and passion for hearty and flavorful food, heartfelt service, and public safety. Joining the RBI family of brands provides an energizing opportunity to assist more communities, not only across America and Canada, but around the globe,” Firehouse Subs CEO Don Fox said in a press release.

Firehouse Subs is selling to Restaurant Brands International for $1 billion cash.

RBI is buying Firehouse Subs for $1 billion in an all-cash transaction. In the press release, RBI CEO José Cil commended Firehouse Subs as “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.”

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Since 2010, Firehouse Subs has tripled its restaurant count—to around 1,200 locations—and quadrupled its sales—to approximately $1.1 billion in expected sales for this year. And in 2020, Restaurant Business Magazine named Firehouse as America’s favorite fast-casual chain, ranking it above Newk’s Eatery, Zoes Kitchen, Fuddruckers, and McAlister’s. The magazine also named Firehouse the fourth-best chain in general, behind only Chick-fil-A, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

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Cil went on: “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. We are excited to welcome the Firehouse Subs team to the RBI family and to continue our ambitious dream of building the world’s most loved restaurant brands.”

The other RBI brands are Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes.

On Twitter, Firehouse Subs greeted its new corporate siblings on Monday, tweeting, “Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes, did we just become best friends?”

According to the RBI website, the company operates more than 27,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and generates about $33 billion in annual system-wide sales.

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Chris Sorenson and Robin Sorenson built their net worth by surrounding themselves with "people who strive for perfection."

Firehouse Subs founders Chris and Robin Sorenson were both firefighters before they started the chain’s first location, opening the business in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1994.

And they expanded the business one location at a time, making sure each new location lived up to their standards. They also put their business and their customers first, as Fox told the Jacksonville Daily Record last year.

“They were frugal, kept their money in the business, and reinvested at every turn,” the CEO added. “As they grew, they understood their limitations and built a team that could take them to the next level.”

The Sorensons’ net worth is unknown, but the brothers explained their path to prosperity in a 2011 episode of CNBC’s How I Made My Millions. “Surrounding yourself with people at all levels who strive for perfection and are given the resources to achieve it… that is the ultimate key to success,” they said.

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