It Takes Two: Meet Trailblazer Franchisees Mike and Suzanne Kelly

It’s the season of love and in celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 14, we are recognizing some of the outstanding franchisee couples in the Firehouse Subs family. 

Multi-unit owners Mike and Suzanne Kelly met 37 years ago while working at another restaurant brand and have been happily married for 35 years. They are proud parents to three sons and five grandchildren.  

The Kellys were the first franchisees to bring a Firehouse Subs restaurant to Central Florida with the opening of their Lake Mary restaurant in 2002. Both leaders of the restaurant brand, Mike served as an Area Representative for 18 years where he was instrumental in developing 80 restaurants in the Central and Southwest Florida markets, while Suzanne currently serves on the Firehouse Subs Marketing Board of Directors. 

Learn more about Mike and Suzanne Kelly and their advice on successfully operating restaurants with your spouse. 

How long have you owned your Firehouse Subs restaurants with your spouse? 

We built the very first Firehouse Subs restaurant in Central Florida 21 years ago. Now that the restaurant brand has grown to over 1,205 locations across the country, it’s a great excitement for us to have been here from the beginning. 

What’s your favorite part about working together? 

We always say that it takes two! Our favorite part about working together is that what one does not know, the other one does. We complement each other well. 

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about owning and operating a restaurant with your spouse?  

One thing that most people don’t know is that we are constantly thinking about Firehouse Subs and planning how we can improve our restaurants 24/7. 

What activities do you enjoy doing together outside of your restaurants?

Our favorite activity outside of our restaurants is spending time with our grandchildren and watching Marvel movies with the entire family. 

What advice do you have for couples who work together?  

One piece of advice we’d give to couples who work together would be to decide who is in charge for the day whenever you both will be working in the same restaurant. It helps not to contradict the direction that is given.

What does your ideal Valentine’s Day look like? 

Despite Mike Kelly thinking that golf any day is the best day ever, our ideal Valentine’s Day would be us going to our favorite local steakhouse for dinner.

What are each of your favorite Firehouse Subs? 

Mike’s favorite sandwich is the Firehouse Italian™ sub while Suzanne loves the Spicy Cajun Chicken sub.