Through the opening of more than 2,400 restaurants worldwide, including 1,100 new locations just in the U.S. and Canada alone, the Subway restaurant chain created approximately 24,000 new foodservice job and career opportunities in 2011.
By opening an additional 2,500 outlets by the end of 2012, Subway expects to add another 25,000 full and part time positions—and this doesn't include jobs in ancillary fields, such as construction, logistics, equipment manufacturing, food processing, maintenance, etc.—an extraordinary achievement for any business, especially during these turbulent economic times.
"Although we have become the world's largest restaurant chain this past year, it's more about the opportunities than the numbers," says Chief Development Officer Don Fertman.
"With each new Subway restaurant that opens, there is an entrepreneur that wants to own and operate his own small business and provide great food, exceptional customer service, and job opportunities in his or her community."
The Subway chain was recently named the top ranked restaurant brand in Entrepreneur magazine's annual Franchise 500 listings. The magazine's January 2012 issue and website also lists Subway restaurants as the No. 2 overall franchise opportunity, No. 2 fastest growing franchise, and the No. 2 global franchise.
Also in 2011, the Zagat Fast Food Survey ranked the Subway brand No. 1 in the "Most Popular," "Top Service," and "Healthy Options" categories for food brands with 5,000 or more locations.
"From reducing sodium content across the menu and fortifying the bread with calcium and vitamin D, to opening locations in airports, college campuses, high schools, health clubs, and hospitals, and one made entirely out of recycled material, it's clear that we continue to work on staying ahead of the curve as we continue to grow," says Fertman, who has been with the brand since 1981 when there were only 166 Subway restaurants open.
Subway restaurants are just about everywhere—from bustling city centers and suburban shopping malls to bucolic rural communities, bringing great tasting, made-to-order subs, many of which are low in fat, to sandwich lovers at nearly 36,000 locations in 98 countries.
One of the ways that the Subway brand has managed its sustained growth is by opening in what are known as non-traditional spaces—often considered by others to be too small, inconvenient or impractical to set up shop—places such as inside convenience stores, factories, department stores, train stations, museums, hotel lobbies, and movie theaters, just to name a few.
In 2011, Subway franchisees opened their 8,000th such location.
Some of the more unique sites where Subway restaurants can be found include a Goodwill Industries training center in South Carolina, and the True Bethel Baptist church in Buffalo, New York.
Both restaurants are used to teach job skills to disadvantaged members of the community.
There's also an automobile assembly plant; several new car showrooms; a pharmacy; a brewery; a combination laundry and tanning salon; a floating restaurant aboard a river boat in Germany; and the construction site of the new World Trade Center in New York City—it sits on an elevated platform that rises as the construction of the building progresses and is only accessible to construction workers.
One particularly noteworthy Subway restaurant is owned and operated by Bob Ecoffey and Darlene Nichols-Ecoffey. Their franchise, on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, is one of the few places in the area where residents can get fresh vegetables.
It sits in the middle of what the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as a food desert–a low-income community without ready access to healthy and affordable food.
Bob, who is also the local Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent, says that because healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are so expensive due to their remote location, they are generally out of reach to most members of the community.
In a place without shopping malls, movie theaters, banks or other big businesses, their restaurant is busy all day long, serving customers looking for healthier options and an alternative to pricey produce.
Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, and with regional offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Brisbane, Miami, and Singapore, the Subway chain was co-founded by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965.