Subway closed 359 U.S. locations in 2016, marking the first net reduction for the nation’s largest quick-service chain.
The brand’s store count fell from 27,103 in 2015 to 26,744. Sales were also down—1.7 percent to around 11.3 billion. Internationally, however, sales increased 3.7 percent to $5.8 billion.
On Tuesday, Subway announced that it was adding Facebook Messenger ordering through Masterpass-enabled bots. Guests can now order a sandwich or salad with their choice of fresh vegetables, cheese, sauce, and toppings, as well as chips, cookies, and drinks through the Messenger bot at more than 26,500 locations. Guests can also checkout using Masterpass.
Subway has also enacted management changes lately, including the appointment of former McDonald’s executive Karlin Linhardt Wednesday as Senior Vice President of Marketing for North America, an area that covers more than 30,000 units in the U.S. and Canada. Linhardt is tasked with overseeing North American marketing teams and core disciplines, including advertising, media planning and execution, menu innovation and development, research and analytics, corporate social responsibility, and tactical events and sponsorships. Linhardt most recently served as a senior consultant for Accenture, working on Subway’s brand evolution in conjunction with Accenture’s design and construction of the Subway Digital platform. He spent 10 years with McDonald’s and 10 with Anheuser-Busch, as well as serving on the board of directors for Perkins & Marie Callender’s Restaurants.
Katie Coleman was brought in the prior year to handle global relations in the wake of the scandal involving Jared Fogle, the former spokesman who was sentenced to prison in 2015 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
All of Subway’s units are owned by franchisees.