Subway is set to close about 500 stores this year. And that's after closing over 800 stores last year in an effort to fight flagging sales. According to Bloomberg, Subway's sales fell 4.4% last year.
Subway CEO Suzanne Greco told Bloomberg that the company also plans to move some of its locations to more prime areas in an effort to add more customers. “We want to be sure that we have the best location,” Greco told Bloomberg. “We focused in the past on restaurant count. We’re focused now on strengthening market share.”
According to Bloomberg, the fast-food chain recently introduced a new loyalty program and has remodeled several stores to encourage customers to come back. The loyalty program is currently available in all their U.S. and Canada locations and offers special discounts and free items in-store like drinks, cookies, and even subs.
Remodeled stores will add touch-screen ordering kiosks, USB charging ports, neon logos throughout the restaurant, and a station where customers can pick up their online orders.
In life and in food, don’t take what you are given. Make It What You Want. pic.twitter.com/3AaNimDsoT- SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) February 16, 2018
Greco said the closings are a result of tough competition from other restaurant chains and grab-and-go items from supermarkets and gas stations. She says these competitors are making the company find ways to serve customrs faster and more efficiently.
Though Subway is closing locations in the United States, it's actually expanding overseas. The chain will add more than 1,000 locations abroad including the U.K., South Korea, China, and other India.
According to Business Insider, Subway has 25,835 locations in the United States, which is even more than McDonald's. Some franchise owners told the site the store count was a problem from the beginning, as locations began competing against each other for sales. They also complained that lack of new items and special deals have made it hard for them to generate a profit and bring back customers.
"This year, it's going to be more [locations shutting down]", one franchisee told Business Insider. "There's not a connection, I feel, with the demographics and the target."
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