Firehouse Subs Engages New Ecosystem of Agencies to Help Fuel Brand Growth with Orchard as Lead Creative Agency

by | Apr 23, 2024

A Key Investment by Firehouse Subs, the New, Six-Agency Team Also Includes PHD, Quality Meats, 500 Degrees, Jones Knowles Ritchie and ICR

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 23, 2024): Following a competitive agency review, Firehouse Subs®, the firefighter-founded specialty sandwich brand with a passion for hearty, flavorful food and heartfelt service, has named Orchard its lead creative agency. Orchard is charged with evolving the brand’s strategy and execution alongside fellow, newly-appointed agencies PHD (an Omnicom Media Group agency), Quality Meats, 500 Degrees, Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) and ICR, who serve as media, activations and partnerships, merchandising, design and public relations agencies, respectively.

This marks the first time Firehouse Subs has expanded beyond a single-agency approach since its founding in 1994 – a strategic decision that ushers in a new growth era for the brand. With more than 1,200 mostly-franchised locations across 46 states, including Canada and Puerto Rico, Firehouse Subs actively engaged franchisee board of director members in the creative agency selection process.

Orchard will be entrusted with developing a brand platform and deploying journey-based marketing initiatives that build affinity, accelerate franchise growth and drive guest traffic across the United States and Canada. They will harness Firehouse Subs’ highly-differentiated and premium hot subs, first responder heritage, deep community roots and the life-saving work of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation as multi-faceted cornerstones to strategically and creatively elevate the brand.

Similarly, as media agency of record, PHD will help drive business transformation for Firehouse Subs by leveraging Omni, the open operating system that supports all Omnicom agencies, to build new growth audiences, deliver data-driven strategies and activate insights-driven investments on both a national and local level that generate new customer growth and sales.

Quality Meats is responsible for leading activations and forging partnerships that will help amplify the Firehouse Subs brand and crack the code on which levers are most motivating to guests and team members in local communities.

500 Degrees will aim to reimagine the in-restaurant merchandising approach and optimize the on-premise experience through creative design and production services that help engage guests and drive sales. The team will lead the creative, execution and point of purchase-implementation processes for all merchandising campaigns, product packaging and other special projects.

JKR will act as design partner and help Firehouse Subs tell its visual story in a more compelling way, leaning into what makes the brand unique.

As public relations agency of record, ICR will apply its creative approach to measurably driving earned media and brand buzz to Firehouse Subs, leading all public relations efforts, experiences and events, to increase awareness and consideration.

“After an extensive search that included multiple chemistry checks, workshops and valuable input from our franchisee marketing board of directors, we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Orchard, as well as PHD, Quality Meats, 500 Degrees, JKR and ICR, as we collectively shape the blueprint for the future of Firehouse Subs,” said Dena vonWerssowetz, CMO of Firehouse Subs. “We are at an exciting growth moment for the brand and the time is right for us to capitalize on our momentum to move to a multi-agency team of experts that bring the creative firepower, speed and agility our brand deserves now and in the future.”

In addition to Firehouse Subs, PHD, 500 Degrees and ICR act as agencies of record for Burger King® within their respective disciplines (U.S., PHD and ICR; U.S. and Canada, 500 Degrees). PHD and 500 Degrees also support the remaining Restaurant Brands International (RBI) portfolio of brands, which includes Popeyes® (U.S. and Canada) and Tim Hortons (U.S., PHD; U.S. and Canada, 500 Degrees).

For more information, visit FirehouseSubs.com.


Firehouse Subs® is a restaurant chain with a passion for hearty and flavorful food, heartfelt service, and public safety. Founded in Jacksonville, Florida in 1994 by two former firefighting brothers, the brand is built on decades of hot and hearty subs piled with high quality meats and cheeses, and committed to saving lives through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, providing lifesaving equipment and needed resources to first responders and public safety organizations. Firehouse Subs is a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International Inc. (“RBI”), one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant companies with over $35 billion in annual system-wide sales and approximately 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. RBI owns four of the world’s most prominent and iconic quick service restaurant brands – Burger King®, Tim Hortons®, Popeyes®, and Firehouse Subs®. To learn more, visit www.firehousesubs.com.


Orchard is a strategy-led creative agency, focused on delivering growth at speed for brands.

Ad Age A-List 2023 & 2024.

PHD, an Omnicom Media Group Agency, helps the world’s leading brands outthink, outpace, and outgrow the marketplace with a next-generation network of tools, talent and technology engineered for connected intelligence. Collaborating on the AI-powered Omni operating system, PHD’s  6500 people in 81 offices across 74 countries connect data, technology, and human expertise to deliver modern media solutions that drive brands and businesses forward. Headquartered in the UK, PHD is one of the most awarded media agency networks in the world according to the Effie Index; is #1 on the WARC Media 100 independent ranking of campaigns and companies for creativity and innovation; and was named 2024 Global Media Network of the Year by leading US advertising publication Adweek. 


Quality Meats is a fully-integrated, fully-remote advertising agency. They opened shop in 2020 with no paying clients or investors, just a few humans who wanted to deliver the highest quality work without all the BS that gets in the way. Kinda like going to that one butcher you trust. (Except these meats are merely metaphorical advertising-styled.) Since then, they’ve added more humans committed to doing that same stuff, and they’ve been named Adage’s Small Agency of The Year in 2022 and 2023, Adweek’s Breakthrough Agency of the Year Finalist in 2023, along with making Adage’s “A-list” in 2024.


500 Degrees focuses on creating digital content and merchandising solutions for multi-unit and franchise businesses in the QSR, C-Store, and Retail categories.  With offices in Toronto, Miami, and Columbus Ohio, they provide content and selling strategies globally for over 20,000 retail units that have transformed from traditional print-and-poster visual merchandising to digital on-premise customer journeys.


Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) is a global branding agency with offices in London, New York, and Shanghai. The agency makes brands distinctive and works with brave, tenacious, and unlike-minded individuals, inspiring both to be their true selves.

JKR has created numerous notable brand moments in its 33-year history. By embodying the mantra “Be Distinctive. Everywhere”, the agency has shaped the branding for renowned icons such as Burger King, Fanta, Impossible Foods, Uber and Paramount.


Established in 1998, ICR partners with its clients to execute strategic communications and advisory programs that achieve business goals, build awareness and credibility, and enhance long-term enterprise value. The firm’s highly-differentiated service model, which pairs capital markets veterans with senior communications professionals, brings deep sector knowledge and relationships to approximately 1,000 clients across more than 20 industry groups. ICR’s healthcare practice operates under the Westwicke brand (www.westwicke.com). Today, ICR is one of the largest and most experienced independent communications and advisory firms in North America, maintaining offices in New York, Norwalk, Boston, Baltimore and Beijing. Learn more at www.icrinc.com. Follow us on Twitter at @ICRPR.

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Bulldog Reporter is a leader in media intelligence supplying news, analysis and high-level training content to public relations and corporate communications professionals with the mission of helping these practitioners achieve superior competitive performance.


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