Never Give Up: The Mantra of Firehouse Subs Franchisee and U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Les Kleinman

In honor of Veterans Day on November 11, we are recognizing and honoring some of our Firehouse Subs franchisees who selflessly served their nation in the United States military. This is part 1 of 6.

Kleinman grew up on Staten Island with his family who had a strong military background. Joining the U.S. Marine Corps felt like a natural choice for him and he excelled in his roles for 10 years. Following his time in the Marines, he joined the corporate banking industry for 15 years before leaving to pursue his next challenge of running his own business with Firehouse Subs.

Learn more about this go-getter and what led him to be the Marines veteran and multi-unit franchisee he is today.

What was your role in the Marines? 

I joined in 1991 and was in communication with the Marines - I would deploy in infantry units. During my time, I spent three years in a special duty post of Embassy Guard with the State Department and served embassies in Caracas, Venezuela and Tel Aviv, Israel.

What does being a veteran mean to you? 

It means a lot to me. There is no better way to be grateful for the freedoms we have than to serve to protect them.

Is anyone in your family also in the military? 

Every man in my family was in the military. My grandfather fought in WW2 in Italy and France, my father was in Vietnam and then I served in the first Gulf War. My family's military history goes back to Prussia.

Why did you decide to join the Marines? 

As my area representative would say, I try to overachieve. I always strive to be the best at what I try to accomplish so joining the Marines was a simple choice to me. The Marines are very selective so this was a great challenge and then the Embassy Guard was the next step for me to accomplish.

What made you become a Firehouse Subs franchisee? 

After working in the corporate banking industry for over 25 years I wanted a change of pace and to run my own business. I was tired of seeing how big companies treated their employees. I looked around at different franchising options and Firehouse Subs presented a great opportunity for me to start off and the community aspect of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was important to me. I believe in giving back to the community you call home.

Did you learn anything in the military that transfers over to being a restaurant owner? If so, what? 

Being in the Marines, you learn very fast that if you're not determined you will not succeed. I have a “never give up” attitude and will not stop until I can achieve my goals, thanks to the Marines. I also learned a great deal about leadership and how to think and act to have people follow you and believe in you to accomplish a task. 

What is your favorite Firehouse Subs sandwich? 

The New York Steamer®