Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs for the last 13-plus years, announced his retirement Thursday night in a post on his personal Facebook page. Parent company Restaurant Brands International confirmed Fox's retirement in an email to Restaurant Dive.
Fox said Chief Operating Officer Mike Hancock, who has been with the chain since April 2022, will lead the chain going forward. Hancock’s LinkedIn profile said he is now the president of Firehouse Subs. Hancock was hired from parent company RBI where he was COO of Tim Hortons.
The leadership move also was confirmed on Fox’s LinkedIn profile, which shows his current position as chairman of the sandwich chain.
“I will continue to serve in the role of chairman, where I aspire to add values as needed while gaining the luxury of time to pursue additional interests,” Fox said whose career included 23 years as franchise business manager at Burger King.
Fox led Firehouse Subs through RBI’s $1 billion buyout of the chain in 2021. That year, the company had about 1,213 units.
By the end of 2022, the company owned or franchised 1,242 restaurants and its systemwide sales were over $1.1 billion, according to RBI’s 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Last year, Firehouse Subs signed new agreements to expand in Western Canada, RBI CEO Joshua Kobza said during the company’s February earnings call.
Hancock’s leadership at Firehouse Subs likely will include an aggressive growth trajectory. Last year, RBI integrated Firehouse into its system, transitioning away from the prior area representative model to a traditional corporate and franchisee development model, which may set up the sandwich chain for high growth, Kobza said. RBI also will enhance Firehouse Subs’ digital capabilities, including its mobile app and loyalty program.