The Subway® brand today announced the opening of its 2,500th store as part of its ambitious plans to increase the number of stores in the UK and Ireland to 3,000 by 2020, creating around 5,000 new jobs.
The expansion plans are in response to consumer demand for more affordable quality ingredients and healthier choices. Subway® stores serve over three million customers each week – all salad ingredients are freshly prepared each day with each Sub or salad made-to-order in front of the customer, each and every day.
As the impressive industry-beating business has grown, so too has the brand’s positive contribution to the economy. In an independent report, commissioned by the Subway® brand, the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), highlighted the tangible contribution Subway® stores make to the UK and Irish economy in terms of spend, employment and output: “By expanding the prevalence of their QSRs across the UK and Irish regions, Subway® stores have been driving business creation”. This demonstrates that franchisees, whilst an often overlooked part of the economy, are a significant driver of SME business growth.
There are currently 2,499 Subway® stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, all owned and operated by a network of small business owners. It is a proven low-entry cost business model which has been verified by the Cebr who recently found the Subway® brand “supports and sustains the entrepreneurial ambitions and career progression of their franchise owners”.
The most recent total turnover of Subway® stores was calculated at approximately £515 million (0.9% of the food and beverages services industry turnover), with a GVA of approximately £248 million. The Subway® brand’s contribution to business creation within the wider sector has increased to represent 1.1% of total of new businesses in the food and beverage activities industry.
Subway® stores are significant employers, and by 2020, franchisees will employ approximately 24,000 full and part-time working people throughout communities in the UK and Republic of Ireland. In addition to the local store employment opportunities, the brand employs over 40 staff in its UK head office as well as contracting with other vendors and suppliers such as print and advertising, along with the supply chain managed by IPC Europe; a non-profit making organisation owned by Subway® franchisees.
Whilst British and Irish high streets continue to be under pressure, for Subway® franchisees, this is still the most popular place to open stores. Three-fifths of Subway® stores are located on British and Irish high streets.
The Cebr survey also found over 82% of franchisees thought Subway® stores had a positive effect on the local area surrounding their location. The Cebr stated “Not only do they attract greater footfall to high streets in general, Subway® franchisees provide employment opportunities in local communities and offer healthier menu choices, especially compared to other food retail outlets”.
Peter Dowding, Country Director for UK and Ireland commented: “Our fantastic growth is a testament to the hard work and effort of our franchisees. Our franchise model is tried and tested, it works for entrepreneurs and it works for us. We are confident our business model will continue to grow as more and more consumers demand great tasting food at a value price-point. With 5,000 new jobs expected over the next three years, opening up a further 500 stores demonstrates not only the value of the business to our franchisees but also collectively, the real and significant contribution to British and Irish economies.”