LONDON – The Subway franchise of sandwich restaurants plans to open a further 500 outlets in the UK and Ireland over the next three years, creating about 5,000 jobs, as it seeks to capitalize on a growing appetite for cheap food on the go.
Subway, which sells a wide range of freshly made submarine sandwiches, as well as salads, said on Tuesday it was targeting 3,000 stores by 2020, up from 2,500 currently.
Britain’s food-to-go market is forecast to be worth nearly 22 billion pounds ($29 billion) by 2021, up from 16.1 billion pounds in 2016, according to industry research group IGD.
Other major food-to-go specialists in the UK include Pret A Manger and Greggs <GRG.L>.
Subway is owned by U.S.-based Doctor’s Associates Inc, but its stores are all owned and operated by a network of franchisees.
Subway shut 359 restaurants in the United States last year amid stiff competition in a highly fragmented fast-food industry.
Globally Subway has more than 44,000 outlets in 112 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia.