“I don’t really see a lot of growth in the United States” isn’t something you’ll often hear from the chefs of major American restaurant chains, but that’s exactly how John Chidsey, the CEO of the Subway sandwich chain, recently described the brand. household projects.
Of course, there’s more to the post – Chidsey was referring to the fact that Subway, which is traditionally known for opening restaurants at a blistering pace, is shifting gears and taking a different approach to growing in its home market.
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“I still think there are non-traditional opportunities in the United States,” he said. “But we want to move away from being so focused on unity in the United States and focus more on the quality of what we have.”
This “quality” is something the chain has attempted to capture with a major menu overhaul, which rolled out last year and is set to continue into 2022. Not only have new subs been added, but Subway has found it necessary to improve its basics: bread, bacon, ham, turkey and garnishes as well.
“We have Refresh 2.0,” Chidsey said. “We have a lot more new products rolling out in 2022. We still have some enhancements to our digital app, rolling out in 2022. We have a whole new restoration program.”
In addition to bolstering the menu, Subway has also removed underperforming restaurants en masse as part of its turnaround strategy. In 2020, it reportedly closed more restaurants than any other chain in the company’s history (although the exact number of closures, which some say was over 2,000, is disputed by the chain.) last year, it lost hundreds of other pitches. , which further reduced the number of more than 40,000 stores. According to the most recent data, Starbucks and McDonald’s may soon have a larger global footprint than Subway, which is currently the largest chain by number of units in the world.
While Chisdey says he doesn’t expect the chain to close many more locations in the United States, some believe thousands more restaurants could close. According to catering companythe chain still has some 5,000 national stores performing well below 2019 levels, meaning closures are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Franchisees with insider knowledge echoed a similar prediction last year, saying many chain operators are looking to get out of the Subway business and offload their restaurants for “very cheap.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if an additional 25% of stores disappeared over the next three years because franchisees whose leases had just been renewed don’t look kindly on this business,” said one. them. West Coast franchisee with multiple locations.
And while it won’t expand to the home, Subway plans to open thousands of locations around the world. Last year, the company signed development agreements in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. Chidsey says another 8 to 12 international deals are expected to be signed over the next two to four quarters.