Firehouse Subs brought its award-winning food and authentic firefighter heritage to travelers at Jacksonville International Airport on July 1. With more than 1,080 locations across 44 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico, the opening is the next phase in the Jacksonville-based brand’s non-traditional expansion. Operated by HMSHost, a leading provider of food and beverage services for travelers nationwide, the Firehouse Subs Jacksonville International Airport restaurant is located in the Post-Security Food Court.
“Opening the first Firehouse Subs airport location, especially in our hometown of Jacksonville, is a milestone accomplishment for our brand,” says Firehouse Subs co-founder Robin Sorensen. “As Jacksonville natives and former firefighters with Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting at Jacksonville International Airport, my brother Chris and I are eager to serve guests at our hometown airport. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see the small business we started in 1994 evolve into an international brand that not only serves delicious food, but also generously serves first responders and communities through Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.”
The Jacksonville International Airport restaurant is the first of several planned Firehouse Subs locations inside major U.S. airport terminals expected to open over the next five years. Along with a modified version of the brand’s classic menu of specialty steamed subs, the airport location also introduces a customized design concept created to accommodate operations inside a smaller space – ideal for Firehouse Subs’ future brand development plans which include further expansion into more non-traditional locations such as military bases and college campuses.
“This is an exciting time in our brand’s growth,” says Firehouse Subs vice president of global and non-traditional development Greg Delks. “Expanding our presence in the non-traditional sector is an important component of our long-term development strategy, and we look forward to introducing Firehouse Subs to guests in several new venues and markets over the coming months and years.”
The Jacksonville International Airport opening continues Firehouse Subs’ brand development plans for 2017, which included the brand’s debut into Mexico earlier this year and four new openings in Ontario, Canada since January.
Firehouse Subs extinguishes guests’ hunger with small, medium and large hot specialty subs, including the number one selling Hook & Ladder sub, served with smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack cheese. Other top sellers include the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket, loaded with USDA choice beef brisket smoked for at least 16 hours in an authentic Texas smokehouse and topped with melted cheddar cheese and a special combination of sauces, including Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce.
Unique to Firehouse Subs is Captain Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, named in honor of the founding brothers’ father, Rob Sorensen, a 43-year retired fire captain. The sauce has a spicy-sweet flavor from the datil pepper, a hot pepper similar to habaneros, but with a sweeter taste. Additionally, each restaurant offers an assortment of 50-plus complimentary hot sauces.
In 2005, Firehouse Subs created the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. Many first responders make do with older equipment and have limited or no access to needed resources, but Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has granted more than $28 million to hometown heroes in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Local fundraising initiatives include recycling empty five-gallon pickle buckets and selling them to guests for $2 each, a Round Up Program allowing guests to “round up” their bill to the nearest dollar and spare change donation canisters.