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This Is the Fast-Food Chain With the Most Locations in America

While McDonald’s restaurants generate nearly twice the annual revenue of Subway restaurants, Subway’s locations outnumber all other chains.
closeup of subway subs with drinks

Despite the ubiquity of popular fast-food chains such as Burger King, McDonald's, and Starbucks, the most numerous restaurant chain in both the United States—and in the entire world—is Subway.

That's right, the chain that's home to the quintessential footlong sub has more locations in the country than fast-food giant Mickey D's. At present, there are 14,428 McDonald's locations in the U.S. to Subway's 22,275. Worldwide, there are more than 36,000 McDonald's restaurants compared to over 42,600 Subway locations. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

First founded in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1965, under the name Pete's Super Submarines, the chain now boasts locations on every continent (save Antarctica). There are 2,945 Subways in Canada, more than 2,150 in the UK, over 1,680 in Brazil, and roughly 1,244 locations in Australia, to round out the list of the top five most Subway-saturated markets.

The restaurant chain can even be found in some of the world's smallest countries, such as Liechtenstein where there is currently one Subway restaurant in the 62 square-mile European micronation. There's also one store in the Marshall Islands—the archipelago nation made up of just 70 square miles of land.

Subway restaurants owe much of their expansion to the fact that a Subway franchise is one of the least expensive to open. The franchise fee for a new Subway restaurant is just $15,000 compared to a $45,000 fee for a McDonald's store. Construction and startup costs of most Subways usually average around $250,000, while many McDonald's restaurants cost more than two million dollars to build and open.

Despite outnumbering McDonald's locations by nearly 8,000 in the United States, Subway's most recent annual revenue is calculated at around $10.2 billion, while McDonald's generates just over double that at around $21.07 billion.

For more, be sure to read The #1 Unhealthiest Menu Option at Every Popular Fast Food Restaurant.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more