Subway announced Tuesday that it signed a deal to open more than 2,000 stores across South Asia, a move the fast-food chain called one of the "largest master franchise agreements in quick-service restaurant history."
The sandwich concept will work with Everstone Group, a South Asia-focused private investment firm, to open the locations in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh over the next 10 years. Currently, those markets have nearly 700 Subway restaurants.
“Today’s announcement represents a significant step in Subway’s transformation journey and global expansion plans,” said Subway CEO John Chidsey in a statement. “Everstone, with extensive knowledge and proven restaurant operational expertise in the region, is the ideal partner as we begin this new chapter for Subway in India and South Asia.”
The incoming stores, as well as existing units, will upgrade to the chain's "Fresh Forward" design, which features bright colors, digital menu boards, kiosks, LED lighting, new wall art and seating package, and several other enhancements.
Subway claims to be the largest restaurant brand in the world in terms of units, with nearly 40,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. The chain's franchisee network includes more than 20,000.
“The scale of this agreement is unprecedented and will ensure that Subway’s presence across India will more than triple over the next 10 years,” Mike Kehoe, Subway's president of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said in a statement. “We’ve seen huge demand from existing Subway guests in India and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Everstone to strengthen our presence and bring our beloved subs to even more Indian guests.”
Everstone has $6 billion worth of assets in private equity, real estate, credit, green infrastructure, and venture capital. Within the quick-service space, the firm is also the master franchisee of Burger King India, Burger King Indonesia, and Domino's Indonesia.
“Subway is an iconic brand and its philosophy of freshly made-to-order and better-for-you food delivered at-home and in-store is central to one of the greatest structural consumer trends we see in South Asia,” Sameer Sain, founder and CEO of Everstone Group, said in a statement. “Everstone Group is delighted to be a partner and custodian of Subway in the region. We strongly believe that our significant experience in the [quick-service restaurant] space, our strong digital focus, our ability to innovate, as well as our proven execution capabilities, will enable Subway to become a dominant player in the region.”
The move comes about a month and a half after Subway signed a master franchise agreement in the United Arab Emirates with development partner Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group. The 34-year-old company oversees 675 stores across seven countries in the Middle East. Also, in August, Subway inked an agreement with PT Sari Sandwich Indonesia to begin opening Indonesian locations in the fourth quarter.