Re-Architecting the Framework of a Popular U.S. Restaurant Chain to Handle the Lunch Rush.

Firehouse Subs®

How we helped one of the world’s largest restaurant chains evolve from their slow, expensive and hard-coded ordering portal to a dynamic showroom with next-level service and end-to-end performance optimization.

About Firehouse Subs®

Firehouse Subs®

Celebrating 25 years of business in 2019, Firehouse Subs® is a fast casual restaurant chain with a passion for Hearty and Flavorful Food, Heartfelt Service and Public Safety. Founded in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs is a brand built on decades of fire and police service, hot subs, steamed and piled high with the highest quality meats and cheeses and its commitment to saving lives through the establishment of the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®. The founders are the real deal, the food is their creation and the restaurant is built upon a family of franchise operators who share their same passion for generously serving food and community.

This year, Firehouse of America, LLC (franchisor for the brand) will donate a portion of all purchases at U.S. Firehouse Subs restaurants to Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, resulting in a minimum donation of one million dollars. Firehouse Subs is consistently recognized as one of the leading brands in the U.S. among consumers. Newsweek recently named Firehouse Subs No. 1 in the fast casual restaurant industry on its 2019 list of America’s Best Customer Service Brands. In 2018, Firehouse Subs was named the No. 1 brand in the restaurant industry that “Supports Local Community Activities” and ranks No. 1 among Fast Casual brands in “Food Quality” and “Taste and Flavor” in Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics rankings. Firehouse Subs was also named No. 2 in “America’s Favorite Fast Casual Chain” rankings by Technomic Ignite.

The Challenges

Firehouse Subs was utilizing a legacy web-based platform and only leveraging a few external services to run and host the front and backend infrastructure of their online ordering system. 

Development and deployment were cumbersome with long, drawn-out manual processes.  And the entire web infrastructure was susceptible to common web exploits and basic DoS attacks. 

Specific Challenges

  • An ageing infrastructure
  • No scalability
  • Single point of failure – more than one app on a single server
  • No security mechanisms in place
The Technical Transformation

SoureFuse migrated Firehouse onto the AWS Cloud, redefining their Infra deployment and leveraging S3 to host Frontend EC2 Instances for Backend APIs. SourceFuse worked to model and provision all the resources needed for their entire website and online ordering process through a single text file. Setting up Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to use Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) to quickly, effortlessly, and accurately deploy the code and launch additional infrastructure services. The Infrastructure is now agile and scalable for peak traffic times. Additionally, utilizing a Multi-AZ environment eliminates the single point of failure challenge.

The AWS Services & Technology

  • MS SQL RDS – Database 
  • AWS Systems Manager – For patching & management of instances
  • AWS CloudWatch – For monitoring & logging
  • Amazon EC2 – For backend middleware
  • Amazon S3 – To store & update data
  • AWS Auto Scaling – To serve the spike in traffic & provide scalability
  • AWS WAF – For leveraging Security
  • AWS Lambda – To automate WAF Rules
  • AWS CloudTrail – For an ongoing record of activity and events in the AWS account
  • AWS CloudFront – To deliver data, applications and APIs with low latency and high transfer rates
  • AWS CodeDeploy – For creating a scalable & fully automated application and production environments
  • Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) – For hosting multi-tier web applications and strictly enforcing access and security restrictions between web servers, application servers, and databases.
  • AWS Backup – For Backup & Recovery
  • AWS Application Load Balancer – To configure and route incoming end-user traffic to applications based on the AWS public cloud.
3rd Party Services
  • New Relic - For Monitoring Infra & hosts
  • Terraform- For building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently
The Impact

  • Platform Migrated to AWS Cloud
  • Infrastructure Deployment redefined
  • Leveraged S3 to host front-end & EC2 instances for backend middleware (APIs)
  • The Infrastructure is now highly scalable where we leveraged AWS Auto Scaling to serve spike in traffic
  • Since the infrastructure is deployed in multi-AZ and self-healing design, there is no single point of failure 
The Product Architecture