Industry News | November 1, 2012

Subway Goes Global with Tastes from Around the World

To celebrate National Sandwich Day on Saturday, November 3, the Subway sub sandwich and salad chain announced that it has opened its 38,000th location. This gives the brand a presence in 100 countries, providing approximately 380,000 jobs to Sandwich Artists around the world.

Serving more than 2.6 billion sandwiches a year, and with more than 37 million possible sandwich combinations, the chain also proudly adapts its menu and the ingredients used to create sandwiches that honor many of the local food traditions around the world.

"The Subway core menu is predominantly the same no matter where you are. And you can get that great-tasting Sweet Onion Teriyaki or the iconic BMT regardless if your sandwich was made in Boston, Berlin, Brisbane, or Beirut," says Chris Martone, Subway executive chef. "However, many people don't realize that we offer a lot of interesting and flavorful menu options to appeal to local tastes, customs, and religious preferences of people around the world."

The largest restaurant chain in the world, in terms of number of locations, started as one small sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was opened by then 17-year-old Fred DeLuca with a $1,000 loan from family friend Dr. Peter Buck.

That partnership revolutionized the restaurant and franchising industries and gave thousands of entrepreneurs the opportunity to own, operate, and succeed in their own business. 

With customization being a cornerstone of the Subway experience, customers can watch and direct the construction of their sandwich from bread to condiments, with their choice of a wide selection of fresh meats, cheeses, and produce.

Some of the unique Subway sandwiches from across the globe include:

  • Australia: Wagyu Beef, a lightly seasoned, premium-quality beef patty that's known for its marbled appearance and served with home-style tomato relish.
  • Brazil: Smoked Chicken and Cream Cheese that's similar to chicken salad but made with cream cheese instead of mayo.
  • India: Paneer Tikka, made with marinated cottage cheese slices cooked in a traditional Indian clay oven.
  • Japan: Ice Plant Veggie, which is hydroponically grown at participating restaurants. The ice plant is known for its crispy and naturally salty-tasting leaves.
  • Mexico: Pierna Habanera, a spicy ham served with hot habanera sauce and Mexican-style cream.
  • South Africa: Peri Peri Chicken, which is made of chicken strips with an African-inspired sauce and seasoned with chili peppers.
  • Sweden: Skagenrora, a mix of shrimp, crab, mayo, lemon, herbs, and spices.
  • Saudi Arabia: Halloumi, a soft white cheese made from sheep and goat milk, which has a high melting point and is typically grilled or fried.

To date, Subway has opened about 2,200 new locations this year, and almost half are in international markets.

The first Subway restaurant outside of the U.S. opened in the Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain in 1984. In accordance with local customs, the food at Subway restaurants in the region is Halal. Pork products are not served, and items such as ham and bacon are substituted by similar offerings made from lamb, chicken, or turkey.

With respect for cultural and religious preferences, no beef or pork is served at Subway restaurants in India. Subway restaurants in the country are also designed to accommodate vegetarian customers, a large segment of the population, by incorporating separate ordering and preparation areas for vegetarian foods.

Taking that idea a step further, Subway has recently opened a number of vegetarian-only restaurants, with an expanded selection of vegetarian offerings.