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Southern Grounds taps former Firehouse Subs executive to lead US expansion

The four-strong coffee shop operator said Greg Delks will lead its outlet expansion programme amid plans to open a dozen stores across the US each year for the next decade

A Southern Grounds store at Jacksonville International Airport, Florida


Florida-based Southern Grounds has appointed Greg Delks, former Firehouse Subs Vice President of Franchise Development, to develop its franchising strategy across the US. 

As Director of Franchise Development, Delks will lead Southern Ground’s transition from a regional coffee shop operator in Florida to a national chain and ‘household name’. 

Southern Grounds currently operates four stores across its home state, with two further sites set to open in Florida this year. However, the company is now seeking substantial expansion across the US and plans to open a dozen outlets each year for the next decade. 

Franchising plans are already underway for Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland and Mississippi, according to a press release. 

“After seven years of strategic development in our hometown markets of Northeast Florida, Southern Grounds is primed for an elite franchise development programme and who better to lead that charge than industry veteran Greg Delks. Together, I'm thrilled to see how we transform our regional brand into a household name,” said Mark Janasik, CEO, Southern Grounds. 

Delks had previously led franchise development for restaurant chain Firehouse Subs, most recently in the role of Vice President Franchise Development. 

According to Southern Grounds, Delks helped transform Firehouse Subs from less than 400 stores to over 1,200 units and is credited with its expansion into international markets and US territories. 

Firehouse Subs was acquired by Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, for $1bn in December 2021. 

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