Subway ranks #1 on the Entrepreneur Top 500 franchises

Even with troubling sales and economic issues Subway is still ahead of the curve, carving out several thousand new stores to open in the upcoming year. Not just a national outfit but also a global enterprise. Crazy talk or just good business sense?

Subway ranks as the #1 franchise for the 16th time. Pretty impressive.

Strangely, or perhaps not surprisingly, outfits like Super Suppers and Dream Dinners did not make the list. They may have hot the mark in 2006, but for this year, it wasn’t meant to be.

When Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck opened their first eateries in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 44 years ago, they debated whether to call their offering an Italian sandwich or simply a sub. They opted for the latter, and the rest, as they say, is history. Across the globe, the Subway sandwich, modeled after the classic Italian offering shaped like a submarine, is as ubiquitous as the hamburger. Subway even has seven outlets in Italy, the land of pizza and pasta. The privately held company has a total of 2,500 locations throughout Europe, and Asia. Latin America and the Middle East are also growth zones.

What about recession woes? In late 2008, the company surpassed the 30,000-restaurant mark. It has 1,600 stores scheduled to open this year. Another 2,400 franchisees have bought in and are waiting in line to open. And it’s on pace to overtake the king of fast food, McDonald’s, in outlet numbers within five years. CEO DeLuca, speaking on the phone from Amsterdam, says 2008–a time of stock market plunges, real estate busts and bank failures–was Subway’s “best year ever.”

Subway Hits the Spot –

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