Sandwich and salad chain Subway aims to open 800 to 1,000 new stores in Europe next year, focusing on Great Britain and increasing pace in the Netherlands. Belgium on the other hand remains a difficult start-up area.
Surpass 5,000 stores in 2014
Subway has seen sustained growth in Europe, despite difficult economic times. At this point in time, Subway has 4,018 restaurants, but it aims to surpass 5,000 by the end of 2014. Focal point remains Great Britain, which should see its current number (1,500) rise to 2,000 by 2015.
Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands offer other areas for increased growth, whereas Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia and Ukraine offer fresh ground for expansion. A European expansion is part of achieving 50,000 Subways worldwide by 2017. Right now, there are some 40,000 Subway restaurants, 5,000 more than McDonald’s.
However, much like in Denmark and Italy, Subway is struggling in Belgium with only seven stores. “It remains difficult to get those first profitable franchises up and running and they are needed to get further development going”, Subway admits. International restaurant chains often struggle to break ground in Belgium, as it is a small market dominated by independent entrepreneurs.
Spar offers shop-in-shops in Great Britain
The sandwich chain collaborated with Spar in Great Britain, leading to shop-in-shops in supermarkets. These Spar shops are being run by entrepreneurs who pay for the Spar name, allowing them more freedom to make their own decisions. The first three Subways of this type should get the company of another six before the end of the year.
Subway claims the demand for this kind of shop-in-shops is on the rise. Supermarkets are not the only possible location, as – like in the Netherlands – gas stations are also very interested.