Businessman with a Firehouse Bucket
Randy Judd’s story begins in the Ozarks of Arkansas, where he grew up with no indoor plumbing and went to school in a two-room schoolhouse. His family’s financial situation created what he feels was a truly fortunate opportunity to work full-time during college—a path that led him to the restaurant business.
“I don’t think I chose the industry as a profession; the industry chose me,” Judd says. “Restaurant hours allowed me to work around my school schedule. I could go to school five to six hours a day and still have time for an eight- to ten-hour shift afterward. I took it to heart that serving others is a noble profession.”
It’s that same love of service that landed him his current post. After working as a franchise business consultant for IHOP, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, and other brands, Judd was approached by Firehouse Subs, a restaurant franchise known for being more than just a great place to eat. With more than seven hundred locations, Firehouse Subs serves its sandwiches with a hearty commitment to assist first responders through its Public Safety Foundation.
Launched in 2005, the foundation provides fire and police departments with lifesaving equipment that often exceeds local budgets.
“Firehouse Subs is not just a themed restaurant,” says Judd, who is currently the chain’s area representative and developer for Utah and Idaho. “It honors the men and women who serve their communities as first responders. It’s amazing to be associated with a company that gives back in such a substantial way.”
To date, the foundation has given more than $8.3 million in equipment. These donations are raised by selling the restaurant’s signature used pickle buckets and by inviting guests to round their purchase up to the next dollar. In Utah alone the foundation has donated more than $107,000 in equipment to fire and police departments along the Wasatch Front—an effort that Judd helped direct.
“Immediately after giving the donations, we have seen them put to use,” Judd says. Just weeks after they donated a Jaws of Life tool to the Sandy Fire Department, it was used to free passengers trapped in a rolled vehicle. Other donations within the state include SWAT shields and a police dog appropriately named Meatball.
“It is very fulfilling to see that we can help these brave men and women by providing necessary tools that their departments may not have been able to afford otherwise,” he says.
In addition to his duties as area representative, Judd owns his own Firehouse Subs in Fort Union, Utah. “One thing I love about a career in the restaurant industry is that no two days are alike,” he says. “I can wake up in the morning with ten things on my to-do list and never get to any of them. I love to go into a chaotic situation and organize it.”
His education, combined with all of his restaurant experience, prepared him well for tackling the many duties of overseeing the operations of a franchise. He received his bachelor’s degree in math from Arkansas Tech University in 1987 and an EMBA from the Marriott School in 2002.
Judd and his wife, Connie, have five children and live in Taylorsville, Utah. He counts work as his main hobby, and his favorite sub is the New York Steamer, made with hot corned-beef brisket, pastrami, melted provolone, mustard, mayo, and Italian dressing.