With its commitment to customizability and the catchy $5 footlong jingle, it’s no wonder Subway is the most ubiquitous food chain in the world. In fact, its nearly 26,000 nationwide locations even top Mickey D’s by more than 10,000.
But it might be time to make one last mad dash to your neighborhood sandwich shop. Due to recent underperformance in sales compared to other fast food giants, Subway recently announced that it will be closing 500 U.S. stores this year. “We want to be sure that we have the best location. We focused in the past on restaurant count. We’re focused now on strengthening market share,” the company’s CEO, Suzanne Greco, told Bloomberg.
In the past, Subway took pride in its overpowering amount of national and international franchises. Many of the restaurants are small and simple, featuring only the tools and food necessary to slap together a sandwich. But the company’s competition comes in many forms. Supermarkets and gas stations offering grab-and-go sandwiches are on the rise. Plus, restaurants like McDonald’s are rolling out new menu items and touch-screen ordering tools. In response, Subway is leaning on its loyalty program, which offers discounts, specials, and freebies for U.S. and Canadian diners.
Along with upgrading their own technology (touch-screen ordering is now available in select stores), Subway executives decided to rethink their approach in terms of the number of storefronts. “Store count isn’t everything. It’s about growing the business,” Greco explained, adding that the real opportunity for expansion is abroad. As the U.S. stores close, Subway aims to shift its focus to its global markets. It’s planning to open a thousand new locations beyond North America and focus on locations in the U.K., Germany, South Korea, India, China, and Mexico.
If you’re planning to visit the chain before the reckoning, make sure to keep these 10 Best Subway Sandwich Tips in mind.