Milford, Connecticut-based Subway Restaurants has announced it is planning to close as many as 500 locations across the U.S.
The restaurant chain wants to put more focus on better locations and increasing sales, with a high priority on expansion overseas.
This comes one year after the restaurant chain shuttered 800 or more locations. In 2016, the chain closed locations as well. The sandwich maker currently has more than 26,000 U.S. locations.
Subway is expecting to open 1,000 or more restaurants across the globe in locations such as Mexico, Germany, Indian, China, South Korea and the UK, said its CEO Suzanne Greco.
With is estimated 44,000 worldwide locations across 112 countries, Subway is the world’s largest restaurant chain, according to its official website.
Subway has become famous for its six-inch and foot-long sandwiches but has come under increased competition of late with many other chains serving fare that is very similar from McDonald’s to Panera to Starbucks.
Subway, whose restaurants are 100% franchisee-owned and operated, did not provide locations that will be shuttered.
The company’s revitalization plan is one part of its recent attempt of rebranding itself. Subway in March launched new wraps as another part of its rebrand. Previously the company served low carb wraps and switched to a tortilla before making another new change last month.
In February, Subway’s “Make It What You Want” advertising campaign started and during July Subway will begin rolling out its new redesign for stores that includes new, bright colors that are inspired by vegetables.
One analyst said that people are not visiting Subway as often as before as they do not like what the chain has to offer. He added that Subway has been closing its stores for quite some time in the U.S. and hopes to make up the difference with international stores.
He said that franchisees became angered over Subway reintroducing its $5 footlong subs and bad press over its Jared Fogle its former pitchman did not help, as he in 2015 pled guilty to child pornography and crossing state line to engage in sex with minors. He was sentenced to almost 16 years behind bars.
Subway remains a privately held company that was founded by Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck in 1965. Greco took over the CEO position in 2015 after the death of DeLuca, who was her older brother.