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Fast Casual Releases 2013 Top 100 Movers & Shakers

Louisville, KY (PRWEB) May 22, 2013

The downloadable “The 2013 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers” was released Monday morning, after an awards gala the night before in Chicago, timed to coincide with the National Restaurant Association tradeshow. Both “The Top 100” and the event were sponsored by restaurant equipment manufacturer, Henny Penny.

Judges determined the top 50 brands based on industry nominations and subsequent debate on the significance of the nominees to the segment. Criteria included innovation, growth, social responsibility and overall contribution. In addition, the judges acknowledged the 20 industry executives who have most contributed to the evolution and health of fast casual, the most influential menu innovations, and the most impactful food and technology trends.

Fazoli’s, McAlister’s Deli and Freebirds World Burrito were recognized as the first, second and third awards, respectively. Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs, was named the industry’s No. 1 executive. Burger 21’s gluten-free menu took top honors for best menu innovation. The most influential technology trend went to the increasing role of analytics in social media.

“It’s always difficult to select the Top 50 fast casual brands, but this year was exceptionally hard, considering the growth of the industry,” said Cherryh Butler, senior editor of FastCasual.com. “New fast casuals are opening all over the world, and well-established brands are innovating and getting creative with their menus. It’s exciting to watch the industry grow.”

“The Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers represent those brands, individuals and trends that are truly moving the needle in our industry,” said Jason Moles, field marketing manager of Henny Penny. “We are excited to partner once again with Networld Media Group and FastCasual.com to recognize these innovative brands.”

Of the $660 billion restaurant industry, fast casuals account for $23 billion, but they are driving growth in the restaurant, increasing sales 13.2 percent in sales in 2012, compared to an industry average of 5.1 percent.

 

Firehouse Subs opens in McAllen

McALLEN — Locals have a delicious new way to help support fire safety, local officials and restaurateurs said Thursday at Firehouse Subs’ grand opening in McAllen.

Founded by brothers and former firemen Chris and Robin Sorensen, the sub shop franchise brands itself as being “built on decades of fire and police service” and takes pride in its “commitment to saving lives.”

Customers can help fund fire departments across the country by either donating their extra change or purchasing a $2 pickle bucket. The company also recognizes October as its “Public Safety Month,” and medallions and a nine-volt battery for fire detectors can be purchased through the end of the month.

 

Firehouse Subs helps promote community safety via its foundation, which contributes funds generated by sales at its franchise locations to help fire departments purchase equipment.

 

“Just in Texas, since 2005, Firehouse Subs donated more than half a million dollars. Nationwide, it was about $7.5 million,” said co-owner Alejandra Azar de Ordaz.

 

Local proceeds do not directly go to local fire departments, however. Rather, local fire departments apply directly to the foundation seeking money.

 

“They’re going to help any fire department locally that’s looking for grant money. They can help us out. They know how to get to their corporate office, and how you do the grant process,” said Mission Chamber of Commerce CEO George Myers.

 

In the past, the funds have been given to fire departments to purchase life-saving equipment such as inflatable rescue boats, defibrillators, and stabilization tools.

 

“The thermal imaging camera is probably what we’re going to be asking for,” said Mcallen Fire Chief Rafael Balderas. “It’s very important and it’ll help us save lives. It’ll help us go into that type of environment where you can’t see and you can actually look through that camera and find someone.”

 

Leaders from McAllen’s and Mission’s fire departments were on hand for the grand opening Thursday to show support for the new franchise.

 

They also gave a positive review of the franchise’s sub sandwiches.

“It’s very good, I recommend it,” said Fire Chief Balderas.

 

Firehouse Subs restaurant foundation to donate to fire department Monday

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation will present $11,500 worth of fire safety equipment to the Springfield Fire Department Monday.

According to a news release from the foundation — an offshoot of the Firehouse Subs franchise — the group will formally donate the fire extinguisher training systems, which use lasers to simulate fire extinguisher streams, to members of the local fire department.

“The donated system will support the department’s public education program, instructing the community on the safe and proper use of fire extinguishers through hands-on instruction and demonstrations,” the news release said.

The event will be held at 10:30 Monday at the Firehouse Subs restaurant at 4135 S. National Ave.

The Firehouse Subs Foundation was created in 2005 with “the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and education opportunities to first-responders and public safety organizations,” the news release said.

Through the nonprofit foundation, $7.7 million has been given to public safety groups—more than $160,000 of which has been in Missouri.

Patrons of the restaurant can help by purchasing either a $1 or $5 medallion with proceeds going to the foundation.

Dining Notes: Firehouse Subs opens at River City Marketplace

Firehouse Subs is a chain with nearly 700 restaurants, but the one in Fairview Heights has developed a relationship with local firefighters.

Walk in the door and the first thing you see is a Fairview Heights Fire Department uniform and boots.

“All the photos (on the walls) are from Fairview Heights fires,” said Scott Stoner, 39, of Columbia, who owns the franchise with his fiancee, Tammy Conner. “I asked them if I could blow them up.”

A giant mural shows a Fairview Heights fire truck with the Gateway Arch and Scott Air Force Base tower in the background. A child sits in the driver’s seat while three others play with hoses.

The children are patterned off Scott’s daughter, Dakota, 15, and her twin brother, Taylor; and Tammy’s sons Dylan, 8, and Kyle, 10.

“Every (Firehouse Subs restaurant) has a mural like this,” Scott said. “The company has its own painters who do all of them.”

The firefighter theme continues with fire-engine red decor, black-and-white Dalmatian-spotted tables, helmets, axes and other gear.

People can get any sandwich “fully involved” (with the works). A shelf holds 50 kinds of hot sauce for customers who want to give their subs the five-alarm treatment.

“My favorite sandwich probably is the Hook and Ladder,” Scott said. “It has honey ham, smoked turkey and Monterey Jack cheese.”

Scott and Tammy opened the Firehouse Subs in Fairview Heights last year and another one in Granite City last month. They also own franchise rights to future locations in Edwardsville and Brentwood, Mo.

Scott is a former district manager for Dent Wizard for 12 years, and Tammy still works as vice president of finance for that company.

“I always wanted to get into the restaurant business,” Scott said. “I like working with people. I’m a people person.”

Scott and Tammy became interested in Firehouse Subs partly because of its community involvement.

The chain was started in 1994 by two firefighters in Jacksonville, Fla. It maintains a public safety fund and gives grants to fire departments in need.

Scott and Tammy also liked the chain’s reputation for quality food.

“Everything is fresh,” Scott said. “The meats are sliced daily. They’re piled high on the sandwiches, and the meats and cheeses are steamed together.”

Alyssa Haas, 18, of Belleville, is a regular at the Fairview Heights location with her dad, Scott Haas.

On a recent weekday, she brought a friend, Noor Musa.

“I don’t eat meat, except for seafood,” said Alyssa, a college student. “So I always get the tuna sandwich. It’s got mayonnaise and mustard. I just like the ingredients, and the bread is toasted.”

The restaurant also has a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which allows people to choose from 120 beverages with the press of a button, including different flavors of soda, lemonade and fruit punch.

Kayla Helfrich, 22, of Fairview Heights, has used the futuristic-looking machine, but she stuck with ice tea on her last visit.

“I like this place a lot,” she said. “Their sandwiches are good, and they are really nice and friendly every time you come in.”

Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2013/10/20/2856642/hungry-firehouse-subs-in-fairview.html#storylink=cpy

McALLEN — Locals have a delicious new way to help support fire safety, local officials and restaurateurs said Thursday at Firehouse Subs’ grand opening in McAllen.

Founded by brothers and former firemen Chris and Robin Sorensen, the sub shop franchise brands itself as being “built on decades of fire and police service” and takes pride in its “commitment to saving lives.”

Customers can help fund fire departments across the country by either donating their extra change or purchasing a $2 pickle bucket. The company also recognizes October as its “Public Safety Month,” and medallions and a nine-volt battery for fire detectors can be purchased through the end of the month.

Firehouse Subs helps promote community safety via its foundation, which contributes funds generated by sales at its franchise locations to help fire departments purchase equipment.

“Just in Texas, since 2005, Firehouse Subs donated more than half a million dollars. Nationwide, it was about $7.5 million,” said co-owner Alejandra Azar de Ordaz.

Local proceeds do not directly go to local fire departments, however. Rather, local fire departments apply directly to the foundation seeking money.

“They’re going to help any fire department locally that’s looking for grant money. They can help us out. They know how to get to their corporate office, and how you do the grant process,” said Mission Chamber of Commerce CEO George Myers.

In the past, the funds have been given to fire departments to purchase life-saving equipment such as inflatable rescue boats, defibrillators, and stabilization tools.

“The thermal imaging camera is probably what we’re going to be asking for,” said Mcallen Fire Chief Rafael Balderas. “It’s very important and it’ll help us save lives. It’ll help us go into that type of environment where you can’t see and you can actually look through that camera and find someone.”

Leaders from McAllen’s and Mission’s fire departments were on hand for the grand opening Thursday to show support for the new franchise.

They also gave a positive review of the franchise’s sub sandwiches.

“It’s very good, I recommend it,” said Fire Chief Balderas