Subway restaurants opened its first shop in an airport location in Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in 1994. Today, 23 years later the brand boasts over 240 shops in over 170 airports around the world.
“25% of our shops are in non-traditional locations, such as colleges, hospitals, military bases, and convenience stores,” explains Don Fertman, Chief Development Officer, Subway.
“The non-traditional expansion started with the idea of a Franchisee, which is sometimes where the best ideas originate. The concept was to place a restaurant within a convenience store simply to reach more customers. He got it done and proved it could be successful and profitable. Once we saw the potential, it opened a door to new opportunities. Locations in airports or transportation hubs of various countries provide an introduction to the brand as well as the business opportunity in both developed and emerging markets. One feeds off the other, resulting in increased brand exposure and heightened worldwide profile.”
In 2017, the company opened airport shops in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, India, Thailand and Turkey and is in the process of opening additional shops in airports in India, Singapore, Venezuela and Malaysia.
“Even though in today’s market there is a tendency for great local restaurants to establish a sense-of-place, airports are finding that many passengers still long for something familiar,” explains Fertman. “This is where Subway is a perfect fit for airport locations with its 44,000 shops in 113 countries around the world.”
Subway continues to improve its entire dining experience and recently introduced the Subway Fresh Forward restaurant design to its shops around the globe.
The new design includes a more contemporary design and an investment in leading technology to connect with customers. The brand is using digital options, such as remote ordering through the Subway app and a bot for Facebook Messenger, and quick self-order kiosks, currently available in the US, Canada, and US Territories.
The Fresh Fit décor can be found at Baltimore-Washington International, John Wayne, Kelowana, and Salalah International airports, just to name a few.
“Our new app is one of the ways we are repositioning Subway to meet the expectations of today’s consumers,” says Fertman.