Restaurant Brands expands American footprint with acquisition of Firehouse Subs for US$1B

USA — Multinational fast food holding company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., is acquiring Firehouse Restaurant Group Inc., the parent company of Firehouse Subs, for $1 billion in an all-cash transaction. 

Founded in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs has approximately 1,200 quick-service sandwich shops across 46 US states, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

For the first 10 months of the year, its same-store sales climbed 20% compared with the same time two years ago and the franchise is expected to generate approximately US$1.1 billion in systemwide sales this year.  

The sandwich chain is now the fourth brand in Restaurant Brands’ portfolio, which also includes Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons. 

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The chain offers hot sandwiches featuring steamed meats and cheeses on a toasted sub roll, plus chopped salads, chili, and soups.  

Like Restaurant Brands’ other chains, the majority of Firehouse Subs’ locations are operated by franchisees. 

The company’s non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has granted US$62.5 million to public safety organizations throughout North America.   

Following the closing of the transaction, Firehouse Subs will remain headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and will be managed by Don Fox, chief executive officer, and Vincent Burchianti, chief financial officer. 

Restaurant Brands International, the owner of Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, has approximately US$34 billion in annual systemwide sales and more than 27,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.  

The transaction provides footing in the US$30 billion US quick-service restaurant sandwich category, according to the company. 

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“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,” said José Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands.  

“We see tremendous potential to accelerate US and international growth at Firehouse Subs with RBI’s development expertise, global franchisee network and digital capabilities.” 

Restaurant Brands said it would fund the all-cash deal through a combination of debt and using the cash it has on hand.  

The deal is expected to close in the coming months and subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. 

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