Long known as a giant in fast food, a regulatory filing has revealed that Subway closed more than 1,000 locations in 2018. The sandwich chain had predicted it would close about half that number last year.
The company now has 24,798 locations in the United States, down from 27,129 at the end of 2016. As it struggles to adapt to changing customer preferences, the chain is likely to close even more stores.
“Our main goals are to drive guest traffic and grow franchise owner profits,” a Subway spokesperson said in a statement, according to CNN. “Everything we do has to achieve these goals.”Getty Images | Joe Raedle
Changes implemented over the past two years have focused on technology and health. The chain has rolled out self-order kiosks with mobile payment options as well as more comfortable seats with USB charging ports. There has also been an increased emphasis on fresh produce.
Late last year, Subway launched a new menu item, Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread. A partnership with Tastemade led to the introduction of a limited-time offer menu item, the Green Goddess Tuna Melt. Going forward, there will be continued changes to the menu to meet customer demands.
The company has invested more than $80 million in Fresh Now, which enables customers to customize their orders with new sauces, toppings and beverage options. While they don’t plan to discontinue customer favorites like the Italian B.M.T., their offerings will continue to evolve to satisfy a wide range of customers with health-conscious and sophisticated palates.
“We absolutely want to balance those Subway classics that our guests have come to know and love,” Don Fertman, Subway’s chief development officer, told QSR Magazine. “But we are also responding to what we’ve heard loud and clear even from our most ardent fans: they’re looking to us to provide bolder flavors, new and interesting experiences and even more options than what they’ve enjoyed from Subway in the past.”