In an interview with Bloomberg today, Subway founder and CEO Fred “Sandwich Artist Supreme” DeLuca said he believes the sandwich chain could still add around 7,000 to 8,000 new stores just in the U.S.
“Maybe it will take 10 years or so,” he told Bloomberg. “If we do a good job building consumer demand, that number might change and be higher.”
In 2012, Subway added new restaurants at a rate of 2.6 per day, about three times the rate of Starbucks, the next-fastest growing chain that year. At that rate, the chain would add the 8,000 stores by somewhere around Christmastime 2022.
Using available data, one Consumerist reader tried to estimate Subway’s McFarthest point — the location in the lower 48 states that is the farthest distance from a Subway spot. His calculations came up with this spot in southwestern Oregon, not far from the Nevada or Idaho borders, but about a 4-hour drive (and then some difficult bike riding) to the original McFarthest spot in Nevada.
Of course at the rate that Subway has been opening up shops, this dot on the map probably has now two subways on opposite corners.
The 26,000 U.S. stores only accounts for a little more than 60% of the company’s 41,700 stores worldwide. Subway has been able to surpass McDonald’s in no small part because the locations don’t require a huge footprint, large kitchens or sizable support staff. The question is whether or not the chain’s relative low cost for entry could end up resulting in a Subway franchise bubble, or if there is indeed this much demand for sandwich artistry.
Speaking of which, Bloomberg also reports that Subway will be testing out hummus as a sandwich topping. What a world, huh?