Why No One Goes to Subway Anymore

Even franchise owners won’t eat this topping …

People are ditching Subway, and franchisees expect a wave of store closures — here’s what went wrong

(Kate Taylor, Business Insider) Subway’s US store count fell by more than 900 this year.

Franchisees tell Business Insider that hundreds more stores are in danger of closure and that up to one-third of Subway locations in the US are unprofitable.

With 44,805 locations, Subway beats out McDonald’s as the largest global chain. McDonald’s has 36,525 locations (source: Knoema). But that could be changing; 909 US stores closed this year, and insiders say this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Subway’s crisis is linked to many factors: changing trends, a disgraced spokesman, internal conflict, and intense discounts.

Subway is in serious trouble.

The sandwich chain’s US store count has dropped by 909 this year, almost three times as many locations as the year before.

But this year could just be the tip of the iceberg for Subway’s closures.

Business Insider spoke with three franchisees from different regions of the US about the state of the chain. They all say others are bracing themselves for more bad news and speculating on the state of the business.

How Subway got stale – even franchisees won’t eat the lettuce

“Years ago, we ordered local produce daily,” a franchisee who owns two locations told Business Insider. “They forced us to stop doing that.”

Instead, the franchisee said, produce is delivered once a week – twice if sales are especially high.

Subway has a second ‘iceberg’ problem: their lettuce. Franchisees say the chain refuses to deliver fresh vegetables when needed. “By the end of the week, the lettuce is a massive problem.” PHOTO: Subway Atlantic Canada Lobster Sandwich Innards, theimpulsivebuy, CC

“By the end of the week … the lettuce is just a massive problem,” she said, describing its taste after a few days as “shredded paper.”

“I can’t eat the lettuce, and that’s a problem, and I’ve told them,” she said. “They’re just not listening.”

According to some franchisees, the chain whose motto is ‘Eat Fresh’ refuses to deliver vegetables more than once a week.

The franchisee said the company’s reliance on specific suppliers and refusal to entertain the idea of adding fresher options was especially frustrating as customers demand cleaner labels and higher-quality food.

In a statement to Business Insider, Subway said it worked with more than 100 family farms and suppliers in the US to help make sure its restaurants have fresh produce. But the company would not say whether shipments were delivered only once or twice a week. Read the full story at Business Insider.

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