Battle of the subs
We all know about the battle of the burgers, pizzas and even the cola wars. But ,what if we told you that the sub sandwich wars could soon be heating up (or served cold, of course).
A submarine sandwich (or sub) is a cylindrical bread roll split lengthwise and fill with meats, vegetables, cheeses and condiments. The concept came out of North Eastern America in the late 19th to mid 20th Century. Otherwise known as a hoagie, grinder, or hero, the sub sandwich also has Italian roots. The most famous of all sub makers is Subway, which started in Connecticut ,1965.
Subway is one of the most successful food chains of all time and is famously known in the franchising industry to have the most business points of any company in the US. Their “Eat Fresh” take on take-aways, plus low-margins, gave Subway an edge over their fast-food competitors.
Europe is currently experiencing a growing number of US centric fast-food chains looking to dig in new roots in established markets. Brands such as Popeyes (RBI), Taco Bell (Yum! Brands) and Wendy’s are developing overseas strategies and are trying their luck across the pond, while larger chains such as Burger King (RBI) and KFC (Yum! Brands) continue to open in new states across the continent.
Late last year RBI added another arrow in their quiver, paying $1billion in cash to acquire Firehouse Subs. The growing sub chain joins the large RBI multi-brand portfolio of Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes, etc.
Over the last ten years Firehouse Subs has more than tripled in size, to having over 1,200 stores producing annual sales of over $1 billion. The company also has a strong footprint in the community with a loyalty program with over 3.5 million registered users in the US, enrolling 50 thousand more subscribers every month.
According to RBI, franchisee’s make up 97% of the business points across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, which also gives them whitespace for international expansion.
"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 CEO, Don Fox said in a statement.
“The donations we generate for our Foundation through our restaurants means changing and saving lives, so we can’t wait to accelerate our journey at home and around the world,” he said.
RBI CEO, Jose Cil said, “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 US 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.”
Keep in mind that the other emerging big sub player, Jersey Mike’s Subs, has already made a move on Australian and Canadian markets and is looking to expand further. Firehouse, we believe, with the backing power of RBI and their recent European strategies with Burger King and Popeyes, won't waste too much time before stepping up the turf wars on shores.
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