The co-founder and President of Subway, has laid out an ambitious plan to rapidly increase the network of UK & Ireland subway franchise stores within the next three years, taking the total store count to 2000 and creating employment for more than 6,000 people.
The brand has already been praised for publishing nutritional information on their products, and is currently riding high in the success stakes. Subway held a conference this week to franchisees, which saw Fred DeLuca speaking - famous for opening his first restaurant aged just 17 in 1965.
Currently, there are 1423 Subway stores across the UK, which is already a fivefold increase from the 2004 count figures and includes 99 franchise stores in Ireland. The success builds upon the global trend, with over 36,000 subway franchise stores across ninety eight countries globally. All the stores are owned and operated independently by franchisees, with the UK market representing the largest after North America.
The business model is proven, with minimal start-up costs which makes it particularly attractive to entrepreneurs. It's also now the largest 'Quick Serve Restaurant' brand globally, measured by storefront numbers. DeLuca said that the company was extremely proud of its success in building a brand that enabled aspiring entrepreneurs to set up their own small businesses and provide a great product, top customer service and a range of new job openings within their local communities. He explained that growth in the market had been led by consumer's demanding affordable, convenient and fresh food choices - made to their order. In fact, around 40% of Subs sold in Great Britain are low fat choices - delivering less than 5G in fat and under 370 calories per meal.
The brand is committed to responsible food retail, signing up to all 3 of the Governments Responsible Deal pledges for food retail. These include reducing salt contents and removing any trans fats from their products, whilst displaying nutritional information on store menu boards. Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, explained that 1/6 meals were now being eaten away from the home, and many consumers had no idea how many calories they were consuming. He praised Subway for signing up to the responsibility commitment, and committing to education customers. Subway joins around 9,500 big name food brands and outlets on the British high street, to provide calories labels this year. Together these retailers sell more than 30% of all takeaways and meals.
The Subway Area Development Manager in the UK/Ireland, Trevor Haynes, said that both markets had been a great success for Subway, and offered ample growth opportunities as customers increasingly demanded healthy and fresh food on the grow. He also pointed to the massive potential in 'non-traditional' store settings, such as hospitals, stations, airports, convenience stores and petrol stations.
FranchiseExpo has always followed the Subway success story with admiration, particularly as the brand continues to grow from strength to strength and develop its offerings in line with the changing market. We believe that Subway is a great example of how budding entrepreneurs can be part of a global brand, and operate their own small business with the minimum of start-up. The opportunities are truly encouraging.