Subway signs its largest-ever master franchise agreement — for 4,000 locations

A new agreement will result in nearly 4,000 Subway restaurants in China.
A new agreement will result in nearly 4,000 Subway restaurants in China.

Subway has signed one of the largest development deals ever in the quick-service restaurant industry.

The sandwich chain has entered into a new master franchise agreement with Shanghai Fu-Rui-Shi Corporate Development Co., Ltd. to expand its presence in mainland China. The agreement — funded by a consortium of private investors that includes Asia Investment Capital (AIC) —  includes the opening of nearly 4,000 restaurants during the next 20 years.  It is the largest master franchise agreement in Subway history.

 Under the terms of the agreement, Fu-Rui-Shi will also acquire the exclusive rights to manage and develop all Subway locations in mainland China.  The group will also appoint a chief executive officer with significant QSR experience in the Chinese market.

In April, Subway reported its ninth consecutive quarter of positive sales as its turnaround continues to take hold. The company, which is looking to sell itself, saw a 12.1% increase in global restaurant same-store sales.

"This agreement is a significant milestone in Subway's international growth strategy as we continue to focus on strategically expanding our footprint and maintaining our position as one of the world's largest restaurant brands," said John Chidsey, global CEO, Subway. "China is a key market with significant long-term growth opportunity, and we look forward to bringing the Subway experience to even more guests in the region."

Since coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Subway said its restaurants across mainland China have experienced positive sales momentum, driven by a strong digital strategy — including third-party delivery and key partnerships with digital platforms — as well as the introduction of new menu items. 

As part of the brand's multi-year transformation journey and focus on international expansion, the agreement marks Subway's 13th master franchise and development agreement in the past two years, resulting in more than 9,000 future restaurant commitments around the world.

Subway is looking to double its current network of restaurants in the Asia Pacific region from approximately 3,500 restaurants to more than 6,000 restaurants during  the next five years.

As one of the world's largest quick service restaurant brands, Subway serves customers across more than 100 countries and territories in nearly 37,000 restaurants.

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