Long-Time Firehouse Subs Franchisee on How He’s Navigated These Challenging Times
When Ron Harris became a Firehouse Subs Area Representative and Franchisee more than nine years ago, he could never have imagined a period of time in which he would be forced to close his dining room temporarily and shift his entire business model due to a global pandemic. Initially, his decision to franchise with Firehouse Subs stemmed from a desire to build a business that aligned with his core values – work hard, be friendly and give back. “If you had to distill it down, these are the three main reasons why I personally got on board with Firehouse Subs,” said Harris. “Of course, the numbers had to make sense, but there was just something special about Firehouse Subs and how they put people and community first.”
When the COVID-19 crisis first hit the U.S. early this spring, Harris decided to be cautious and quickly shut down dining room service in his restaurant and in those across his territory. He pivoted quickly towards curbside to-go, online ordering, and delivery, which has helped his Firehouse Subs franchises succeed during COVID-19.
“Necessity is the mother of invention, and this and many other ideas were put into play thanks to the guidance and steady hand of Firehouse Subs’ corporate leadership,” said Harris. “We’ve spent the last several years making revisions and improvements to our online ordering platform, while also upgrading our app. These pieces of technology that were already in use or under development, have been instrumental during this time and really served us well. I know we wouldn’t have been as successful as we have been had it not been for our ability to handle this seemingly overnight shift in our operations.”
Harris is incredibly grateful to his loyal customers, who have gone above and beyond to support the brand during this time. “One thing is for certain, our customers are incredible, and they have been so understanding with the approach we’ve taken. We’ve received so much positive feedback about all the precautions we’ve taken not only to keep them safe, but also our staff.”
In addition to their customers, Harris is also thankful to be a part of the Firehouse Subs franchise system. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, he and his franchisees have been able to rely on the guidance and support from the brand’s leadership team, which has proven invaluable in helping his franchises succeed during COVID-19.
“The new systems and operational procedures that were put into place in literally days were invaluable,” said Harris. “Running a small business requires dedication and hard work and is difficult enough without layering COVID-19 on top of that. We’re incredibly lucky to be part of the Firehouse Subs franchise system and to have the help we need whenever we ask for it.”
Brent Greenwood, Firehouse Subs Director of Franchise Development, notes that this type of support is exactly why the franchise model exists. “We have a responsibility to help our franchise owners navigate the challenges of business ownership and it’s a duty we take very seriously from day one. Over the last few months, we’ve done everything we could think of to help Firehouse Subs franchisees succeed during COVID-19. We have helped owners like Ron Harris and hundreds more across the country to be as successful as possible and emerge stronger on the other side of the crisis.”
Harris is confident that his business will continue to thrive and grow as he looks towards the future.
“Serving great food and doing great work within the community has always been at the center of Firehouse Subs,” said Harris. “When we look at the Twin Cities and see the culture there is really one focused around people, sharing and a strong midwestern work ethic - we know that Firehouse Subs will always do well here.”
Right now, Firehouse Subs is actively targeting Minneapolis and St. Paul for franchise restaurant growth with plans to open approximately 15 new locations over the next 3 to 5 years. To learn more about franchising opportunities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, visit firehousesubsfranchising.com.;