(Benzinga) Subway ended 2019 with 1,106 net fewer restaurants in the U.S., according to Restaurant Business.
The company’s estimated 23,692 units at the end of the year are its fewest since 2009. The international store count also declined by 1.9% in 2019.
Total U.S. locations peaked at 27,103 in 2015 and are down 13%, according to RB. Subway’s international presence peaked in 2017 at 18,004 locations and has since declined by 3.3%, the publication said.
Subway faces heavy competition, especially from more modern chains like Jersey Mike’s. The company was also on the receiving end of negative press when former spokesman Jared Fogle pleaded guilty in federal court in 2015 to child pornography and sexual misconduct charges and was sentenced to prison.
More recently, many franchisees expressed disappointment with CEO John Chidsey’s decision to become heavily promotional. One franchise owner said offering 6-inch subs for $2.99 means “giving away the little profits we have.”
Subway’s chief brand and innovation officer Len Van Popering is leaving the company as part of a reorganization process.
Subway CFO Dave Worroll and Development Officer Don Fertman also announced their retirement late last year; each exec had been with the company for decades.