Subway Plans to Open More Than 9,000 New Restaurants All Over the World
Subway is already one of the largest fast-food chains in the world with nearly 37,000 restaurants across more than 100 countries, currently second only to McDonald's with more than 38,000 locations. But the sandwich chain may be gunning for the #1 spot with its newly-announced plans for thousands of new restaurants across the globe.
Subway announced this week that it has inked 15 new master franchise agreements over the past two years. It said that the latest of those agreements will add more than 4,000 new restaurants across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean within the next 20 years.
And it's not stopping at those 4,000 openings either. Subway's 15 master franchise agreements include more than 9,000 future restaurant commitments, the company said. The timeline for all 9,000 openings was not immediately clear, but regardless, Subway lovers across the world can count on seeing many more of those iconic green and yellow logos popping up in the future.
"There is significant opportunity for Subway to expand its presence around the world and the new master franchise agreements are a reflection of the confidence that operators have in Subway and our transformation journey," Subway CEO John Chidsey said in a statement. "As we continue to execute against our international expansion strategy, we are excited to grow the brand with new and existing international multi-unit and multi-brand operators to serve more guests around the world."
These ambitious international expansion plans come on the heels of some tough years for Subway in the United States. Struggling to recover sales after the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1,000 American Subway locations closed in 2021 while another 571 closed in 2022. Last month, Restaurant Business Magazine reported that Subway's restaurant count of 20,576 in the United States was its smallest total since 2005.
Still, the chain has several reasons to stay optimistic about its future in the United States and beyond. It announced in April that it expects to increase new restaurant openings across North America by around 35% in 2023 compared to 2022. (The exact number of North America openings in 2022 for comparison was not immediately clear.)
Additionally, the company is working to refresh its restaurants and modernize its image with plans to remodel 3,600 North American locations this year. This would boost the number of restaurants in the "current Subway image" to more than 10,000 restaurants by this summer, the company said.