Subway Recognized as No. 1 Franchise Opportunity

Chain also recently reached milestone of 8,000 nontraditional locations

MILFORD, Conn. -- For the second year in a row, the Subway restaurant chain has been awarded the No. 1 ranking in the Franchise Direct Top 100 Global Franchises Rankings, which recognized the brand for possessing "a clear business plan, a commitment to training and support, an ability to innovate and sensitivity to environmental issues."

The criteria to rank franchises includes system size based on numbers of units; sales revenue; stability and growth; and market expansion.

"It's because of the franchisees. They're the heart and soul of the Subway family," said Don Fertman, chief development officer. "We know that our success depends upon their excellence in operating their restaurants. We take great pride in the hard work and effort made by the thousands of franchisees throughout the world and in the millions of customers that they serve."

During first-quarter 2012, the Subway chain hit two important milestones--25,000 U.S. restaurants and operating in 100 countries, while opening 779 new locations around the globe. The current restaurant count is more than 36,700 locations worldwide, and the chain has a goal of ending the year with 2,500 additional units.

Even in a difficult job market, approximately 24,000 men and women looking for work were able to find positions at Subway restaurants last year, the company said. So far this year, the chain's franchisees have been responsible for the creation of nearly 8,000 jobs. The total number of people employed chainwide is about 370,000, not including those working for vendors, suppliers, contractors and other related businesses needed to help the Subway chain run and grow.

Blake Newton of Gunnison, Utah, was the recipient of a 2011 Subway Franchisee of the Year Award, honored for accomplishments in building sales, increasing profitability and achieving excellent store evaluations. He has been part of the Subway family since the time he worked behind the counter after school. Working his way up to store manager and eventually to area manager, overseeing 10 Subway restaurants, he decided to become his own boss with a goal to become a multi-unit owner.

"People said it was crazy to start a new business during this economy," said Newton. "But Subway was an affordable, easy to operate franchise, especially with the amount of support we get from headquarters and the local development office. It made Subway the perfect opportunity for me to own and operate my own small business."

One of the ways that the Milford, Conn.-based Subway chain manages its continued growth is to open locations in nontraditional spaces--spaces often considered by others to be too small, inconvenient or impractical to set up shop--such as at airports, convenience stores, hospitals, factories, department stores, train stations, museums, hotels, movie theaters and more. The chain recently reached a milestone of having 8,000 such nontraditional locations.

"Nontraditional Subway restaurants come in all shapes and sizes and can be found just about anywhere," said Don Fertman. "Because of the concept's flexible floor plans, minimal space and equipment requirements and popular menu offerings, Subway restaurants are uniquely suited for these special sites, which are integral to the chain's overall development strategy, and are a large contributor to the chain's record breaking growth."