Firehouse Subs Implements First-Ever Redesign, Front to Back

In what’s billed as the first fundamental redesign in the chain’s 25-year history, Firehouse Subs opened a new, forward-looking prototype in Jacksonville, Fla., in July. The chain’s “restaurant of the future” is a departure from its other 1,170 stores’ more linear layout—focusing on lean efficiency of movement in a kitchen scaled 25% smaller than usual.

Among the equipment updates is a custom-designed sandwich steamer with a drawer—rather than a clamshell top—that can be stacked to save space and steam more sandwiches simultaneously.

The kitchen also moved from the front of the store toward the rear, making room upfront for a more clear-cut counter area for ordering, which includes a designated space for “Rapid Rescue to Go” orders from the chain’s app. Off-premise makes up 62% of Firehouse’s business.

The 28-seat dining area includes an eight-seat community table out front to evoke the shared family-style experience of a fire station.

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