In honor of International Firefighters’ Day on May 4, we are recognizing some of our amazing active and volunteer firefighter families who are an integral part of the Firehouse Subs system, a restaurant brand founded by former firefighting brothers Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen. This is part 3 of 5.

Franchisee and firefighter Chris Morris owns and operates four Firehouse Subs restaurants with his wife Natalie. They opened their first restaurant with Firehouse Subs in 2019 in Idaho Falls, ID and now own two more restaurants in Idaho and recently acquired one in Logan, UT. See below for what being a firefighter means to him!

What is the name of the department you work for and how long have you served the organization?

I joined the Idaho National Laboratory Fire Department 13 years ago and am currently the fire captain. 

What or who inspired you to become a firefighter? 

I started volunteering when I was 18 years old with the Blackfoot Fire Department and felt really inspired by helping people in our community. I went through training and joined the Idaho National Laboratory Fire Department full-time four years later.

What’s your favorite part about being a firefighter? 

I really enjoy interacting with the public and the feeling you get when you’re able to help someone. I also love the camaraderie within our department and the bonds that I’ve been able to build.

What is your biggest accomplishment as a firefighter?

Anytime I can help someone and keep someone safe is an accomplishment for me. 

What are some words of advice or encouragement for future firefighters?

Getting into the fire service has become increasingly difficult. It’s one of the best jobs in the world! Just keep at it, start networking, talking to people, and once you get in – focus on training.

What is one thing that the general public is not aware of about being a first responder, firefighter, etc.?

The work schedule is awesome and played a huge part in helping me become a franchisee. Some shifts are 48 hours on with the rest of the week off or on call which allowed me time to get the restaurant business started. The schedule can also be really taxing and challenging at times when it comes to missing holidays, birthdays and special events.

What’s your favorite part about being a Firehouse Subs franchisee?

Our relationships with our employees. We feel like we have a really unique culture and leadership style, and feel like our employees really enjoy coming to work. Some employees have been with us since we first opened in 2019. Natalie and I both have different management styles that are still intertwined. We recently took over the Logan restaurant in Utah and are excited to build relationships with our new employees.

How did you hear about Firehouse Subs?

We didn’t know anything about Firehouse Subs until we started looking into franchising. After seeing Firehouse Subs at the top of every franchise list, Natalie and I decided to check them out. We are both foodies so we loved trying all the subs and visited a few restaurants across Reno, Bozeman and Salt Lake City. 

What stood out compared to other franchise options?

I connected with the firefighter background and the founder’s message and support for the industry. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation resonated with me because I know firsthand the need that departments have and how much support from the Foundation can help.

Are there any similarities between being a firefighter and a franchisee? If so, what?

The structure that I’ve built into my life being a firefighter has carried over to the franchise side. Whether it’s a medical emergency or a problem at a restaurant, you have to compartmentalize things in your mind to tackle the big picture and then the little things. Stay calm, don’t get stressed and see the bigger picture first. I’ve taken what I’ve learned about hospitality on the franchisee side and applied it to my work in the fire department as well. At the end of the day, I’m serving the public in both of my roles.

What’s your favorite Firehouse Sub? 

New York Steamer