1,000 restaurants across Europe is just the start

Submarine sandwich chain SUBWAY® recently reached the massive milestone of 1,000 stores open in Europe. SUBWAY®'s European Regional Director Kevin Graham reports

Three new restaurants located in Germany (Meissen, Bielefeld and Worms) recently shared the honour of opening the 1,000th European SUBWAY® store. This fantastic achievement is the result of a great deal of hard work and a massive team effort, and keeps Europe on course with continued development acceleration set to achieve 4,000 stores by 2010, and 10,000 stores by 2020.

SUBWAY® is a very simple operation, involving the lowest investment of any of the major Quick Serve Restaurants. SUBWAY® combines the entrepreneurial spirit of individual franchisees with the power of the brand, and the systems and policies and procedures that come with that. Having a strong foundation of good franchisees is obviously the basis from which we have grown.

The most successful European market for SUBWAY® is the UK & Ireland, where there are over 500 stores. In terms of store performance, they vary considerably across Europe. SUBWAY® has strong stores in places like London, Liverpool and Manchester, while the top German store is in Hannover. The chain also includes a very busy store in St Petersburg, Russia. But by virtue of the UK having the most stores, it also has most of the top 20 performing stores in the region.

We all believe passionately in the power of the SUBWAY® brand and firmly believe that, as in the US, the chain will overtake McDonald's in terms of store numbers in Europe. The chain has already done this in Northern Ireland and Iceland, the rest will soon follow.

The SUBWAY® sandwich chain also recently opened its 5,000th 'non-traditional' location. Because of the SUBWAY® chain's ease of operation, minimal equipment needs and flexibility in space requirements, it is able to open for business in locations like fueling stations, universities, amusement parks and airports. In the US, you can find a SUBWAY® restaurant in a car dealership, health clubs, department stores, a motorcycle dealership, a laundromat and even a church.

Don Fertman, SUBWAY® Director of Development, says: "We couldn't have achieved such success without the hard work and dedication of our franchisees. These are men and women who have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and who pride themselves on being active members of their communities."

Mike Charest, the SUBWAY® chain's Marketing/Profitability Manager for the European region who works in the Amsterdam headquarters, adds: "Without the need for heavy equipment or cooking, a SUBWAY® restaurant is the perfect business for the small spaces and tight real estate of Europe. Our regional office makes the franchise start-up process simple and easy. Europe is currently wide-open for development. As our brand awareness grows in Europe, more and more people are becoming aware of SUBWAY® as a great-tasting lunch option and also as a great way to start their own business."

In August, SUBWAY® celebrated its 40th anniversary. It was the summer of 1965 when an enterprising 17 year-old named Fred DeLuca opened a small sandwich shop in his community with a US$1,000 loan from family friend Dr Peter Buck. That humble storefront operation in Bridgeport, Connecticut eventually grew to become the largest restaurant chain in North America with an ever-increasing global audience being served at more than 24,800 locations in 83 countries. Today, the development pace for SUBWAY® restaurants is at full speed. In 2005 the chain added 2,407 new locations, including 1,564 grand openings in the US and 843 throughout the rest of the world.

"SUBWAY® has made great progress in our 2004-2005 growth plans in Europe," Mike Charest adds. "We've recently crossed the 250 store mark in Germany and continue to attract top quality franchisees from all around Europe. The UK and Germany continue to lead the way in European growth and development. Also on top of our agenda is aggressive growth in Spain and France, followed by further expansion into Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Italy. The SUBWAY® concept of serving fresh-made sandwiches, on fresh baked bread, made right in front of you, the way you like it has proven to be a winning strategy in Europe. Our customers have really responded to the high level of service that SUBWAY® restaurants are famous for. We have also become popular with health-conscious consumers in Europe who are searching for higher quality fast food options."

As for chainwide growth, the figures are even more extraordinary, with the opening of about 48 units per week around the world. This translates to about seven new SUBWAY® restaurants opening per day or one every three and a half hours. With vision, an entrepreneurial spirit and a unique business philosophy, Fred DeLuca and the sandwich empire that he created have become icons, inspiring thousands around the world to take their careers into their own hands and to become their own boss. Acknowledging his contributions to the industry, Fred DeLuca was personally honoured recently with the International Franchise Association's highest accolade when he was inducted into the IFA Hall of Fame.

In 2002, the SUBWAY® chain surpassed McDonald's in number of locations in the United States, Canada and, more recently, Australia. Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, the chain has regional offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Brisbane, Miami and Singapore. An impressive 70 per cent of the franchises sold by the SUBWAY® chain are purchased by individuals already in the SUBWAY® system. To many, this not only illustrates a level of success that SUBWAY® franchises have achieved, but it also serves as an indicator of satisfaction. So it should be no surprise that the SUBWAY® chain was named the 'Number One' franchise opportunity for 2006 by Entrepreneur magazine in its annual 'Franchise 500' rankings. For those of you who are keeping score, this is the 14th time in 18 years that the chain has achieved this honour.