December 23, 2011 // Franchising.com // From reducing sodium content across the menu and fortifying its bread with calcium and vitamin D, to opening locations in airports, college campuses, high schools, health clubs and hospitals, and one made entirely out of recycled material, it’s clear that Subway has stayed ahead of the quick service restaurant pack as it grows, adapts and reinvents itself at every twist and turn.
With more than 35,800 individually owned and operated locations, this year Subway became the world’s largest restaurant chain in terms of number of locations, and was just named the top ranked restaurant brand in Entrepreneur magazine’s annual Franchise 500 listings. (The magazine’s January 2012 issue and website also lists Subway as the #2 overall franchise opportunity, #2 fastest growing franchise and the #2 Global franchise.)
We thought it interesting to show how this has happened, and how Subway plans to continue growing by providing opportunities to local folks who want to run their own business, while filling what could have remained vacant retail space, and providing jobs in their communities.
Subway restaurants are just about everywhere, from bustling city centers and suburban shopping malls to bucolic rural communities, bringing great tasting, made to order subs (many of which are low in fat) to sandwich lovers in 98 countries.
In 2011, Subway opened more than 2,100 restaurants worldwide, including 1,000 new locations just in the U.S. and Canada alone—resulting in approximately 21,000 new foodservice job and career opportunities. And this doesn’t include jobs in ancillary fields, such as construction, logistics, equipment manufacturing, food processing, maintenance, etc.—an extraordinary achievement for any business, especially during these turbulent economic times.
One of the ways that Subway has managed to grow by leaps and bounds is to open restaurants in what are known in the industry as non-traditional spaces—often considered by others to be too small, inconvenient or impractical to set up shop—places such as inside convenience stores, factories, department stores, train stations, museums, hotel lobbies, and movie theaters, just to name a few. In 2011, Subway opened its 8,000th such location.
Some of the more unique sites where Subway restaurants can be found include a Goodwill Industries training center in South Carolina, and the True Bethel Baptist church in Buffalo, New York (the restaurants are used to teach job skills to disadvantaged members of the community), a floating restaurant aboard a river boat in Germany, and the construction site of the new World Trade Center in New York City (it sits on an elevated platform that rises as the construction of the building progresses and is only accessible to construction workers). Other unique locations include an automobile assembly plant; several new car showrooms, a pharmacy; a brewery; and a combination laundry and tanning salon.
One very compelling story is that of the Subway restaurant owned and operated by Bob and Darleen Ecoffey. Their franchise, on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, home of the Oglala Sioux, is one of the few places in the area where locals have access to fresh vegetables. It sits in the middle of a food desert, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a low-income community without ready access to healthy and affordable food. Bob, who is also the local Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent, says that because healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are so expensive due to their remote location they are generally out of reach to residents. In a downtown without shopping malls, movie theaters, banks or other big businesses, their restaurant is busy all day long, serving customers looking for healthier options and an alternative to pricey produce.
Subway has many compelling stories to tell, but few can tell them as well as our Chief Development Officer, Don Fertman. Don, who was featured on the Subway episode of Undercover Boss, is uniquely qualified to provide insight into one of the world’s most recognized restaurant brands. Prior to his arrival at Subway HQ in 1981, he was affiliated with the company through his previous career as a freelance writer and musician, which included writing and performing jingles that promoted the Subway brand nationwide. He has seen the chain grow from 166 locations at the time he began his career to almost 36,000 locations in 98 countries.
We would be happy to get on the phone to talk with you about these or any other Subway restaurants or about how the company got where it is today and where it will be tomorrow.
Public Relations Specialist
Franchise World Headquarters, LLC
325 Bic Drive
Milford, CT 06461
(800) 888-4848, ext.1683