Firehouse Subs Day of Discovery Goes Virtual
Firehouse Subs Director of Franchise Development Brent Greenwood was already spending hours each day on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts to stay connected with colleagues after stay-at-home orders were put in place, “so after it happened, it was just a matter of how do we make Day of Discovery work?”
When the COVID-19 pandemic initially hit, Firehouse Subs immediately turned its attention to its customers and its franchisees. Firehouse Subs CEO Don Fox summed it up best in a recent interview with QSR Magazine - all restaurant professionals can do is “what’s right for the public, then what’s right for your team members.”
While some forward momentum was certainly lost at the onset, Firehouse Subs is still in development mode and continuing to open units in new and existing markets. A big part of that effort has been the launch of a Virtual Day of Discovery, which has yielded interest from candidates across the country in search of small business ownership and control over their own entrepreneurial destiny. We had a chance to sit down with Brent Greenwood recently to discuss what this shift has meant for the brand and why interest is still growing in owning a Firehouse Subs.
How did you make the switch so quickly to a virtual Day of Discovery format?
A few weeks before a previously scheduled Firehouse Subs Day of Discovery, we sat down to determine how we were going to adapt. It was really about replicating the content candidates would be exposed to if they came to our headquarters for the live presentation. We didn’t want those who attended our Virtual Day of Discovery to feel like they missed out on something. We are really pleased with the finished product and can confidently say that our candidates will leave the Virtual Day of Discovery experience feeling more excited to continue their pursuit of joining the Firehouse Subs family.
How do you make it feel authentic?
It’s tricky when you’re not able to walk around our headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla. and hear our all of our executives speak in person, but it’s still doable through video. We make sure CEO Don Fox is live and still speaks and answers questions through video. Then the rest of our department leaders share through recorded video messages the strengths of their teams and responsibilities of each department. This allows the passion we have for supporting our franchisees to shine through in a way that is authentic and genuine. So far, we’ve received positive feedback on our newly adapted Virtual Day of Discovery.
What about Firehouse Subs continues to make it an attractive restaurant franchise ownership opportunity?
All things considered; we’ve fared very well amid the pandemic. That’s a testament to our franchisees and their resiliency. We went all-in on our online ordering, delivery and our Rapid Rescue To Go platform, which was are now our most used channels for ordering. The creativity of our franchisees has led to such things as pop-up drive-thrus and a curb-side delivery program, which were added to our already strong off-premise resources. Luckily for Firehouse Subs, the challenge of operating during the pandemic has not been insurmountable. While the last few months have certainly been fraught with uncertainty, Firehouse Subs has been able to return to semblance of normality – at least when it comes to sales.
What has been the feedback from candidates that have gone through the Firehouse Subs Virtual Day of Discover process?
Our feedback has been that prospects love the interaction with our CEO, Don Fox, and the additional content that can be viewed at their own leisure. It also doesn’t take much advanced planning to attend so candidates can register on short notice and avoid any unnecessary delays in their pursuit of an opportunity. Ultimately, the ability to adapt and change based on everything that has occurred has been a benefit to us. We want our prospects to know that we’ve been nimble in order best cater to their needs and safety, and we’ve always had the mindset that when there is an issue, we’re going to figure it out together and move forward.
What’s next for Firehouse Subs’ planned growth?
Franchisees are continuing to open new restaurants even during these unprecedented times. That’s a testament to the strength of our brand, the quality of our franchisees and the power of customer demand for our unique subs. We’re still focused on certain regions while we continue to fill in availability in new and existing markets across the entire country. One thing is for certain no matter where a Firehouse Subs opens – giving back to the community in which you operate is paramount. That’s fundamental to our business model, even today. Our franchisees have stepped up in innumerable ways not just during the pandemic, but since day one of opening their doors. Did you know that since our Founders Robin Sorensen and Chris Sorensen established the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation® in 2005 with the mission of providing funding, lifesaving equipment, and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations – our franchisees have granted more than $51 million to hometown heroes? That’s the real power behind our brand and what helps fuel our growth.
To learn more or inquire why Firehouse Subs is one of the best franchises to buy, visit firehousesubsfranchising.com.;