Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In Spotlight: Subway’s Rightsizing and Innovations Drive Visits

Ezra Carmel
August 3, 2022 Spotlight: Subway’s Rightsizing and Innovations Drive Visits

Subway has made headlines for both its store closures and creative menu updates, so we decided to dive into recent foot traffic data to understand how these changes are impacting Subway visits nationwide.  

Extensive Rightsizing since 2019

Rightsizing has been classically seen as a softer terminology to discuss store closures. But there is a significant trend of rightsizing that is more focused on optimization.

Foot traffic data shows that Subway’s overall visits are down year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) while Yo3Y visits per venue are nearing or exceeding 2019 levels. This likely has to do with Subway’s rightsizing efforts – the brand has been closing around 1,000 locations per year since 2019, with a spike in closures in 2020 when Subway closed more than 1,500 venues. The effect of this store optimization is the stabilization of Yo3Y visits beginning in March 2022 when Yo3Y visits per venue climbed to 0.6%. Since then, visits per venue have stayed close to 2019 levels, with June 2022 visits per venue seeing an 0.8% increase compared to June 2019.

Rightsizing efforts shouldn’t raise any alarm bells with regard to Subway’s success. As the largest single-brand restaurant chain in the world, Subway isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Subway has been riding this strategy to considerable success for a number of years – closing a few hundred stores annually in 2017 and 2018. Rightsizing has merely been a strategy to transform into what CEO John Chidsey calls an “experience-focused” organization – one with fewer locations, but of higher aesthetic and service caliber – that will ultimately drive sales. 

Innovations Ramp Up YoY Growth

Beyond rightsizing, Subway is taking steps to drive foot traffic with significant updates. In July 2021 Subway unveiled the Eat Fresh Refresh menu which included 20 refreshed ingredients and sandwiches. The launch also included a revamped digital experience which improved ordering flow and allowed customers to place orders for in-store or curbside pickup and delivery nationwide. The move marks a substantial investment in digital integration of what Subway’s CEO calls “the same customized and consistent experience found in Subway restaurants.”

Building on this momentum in 2022, Subway began releasing a number of new sandwiches every few months. July saw the biggest menu overhaul of the year with the launch of the Subway Series, 12 new sandwiches aimed to “maximize taste and crave” while also streamlining the ordering process, according to Subway’s July press release. Subway’s President of North America Trevor Haynes believes the Subway Series “enhances the entire Subway guest experience… whether you leave the sandwich-making to us or are craving your custom creation.” 

Looking at the first half of 2022 (H1 2022), Subway’s YoY foot traffic growth is likely being driven by investment in refreshed menu items and an enhanced customer experience. Visits per venue are up year-over-year (YoY) – with the COVID-plagued months of January and February to blame for the magnitude of the contrast at the start of the year.  

Subway Take-Away

Subway’s rightsizing has driven yearly visit growth for the chain since 2017 and continues to be a successful strategy in 2022. The launch of new menu items in the last 11 months has the potential to expand on this positive trend. Not to be understated is Subway’s push to integrate a digital customer experience alongside the attractive updates taking place in stores. 

For more data-driven retail insights, visit

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start Office Index: October 2022 Recap Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap Mall Indexes - August 2022 Recap
Five Below’s Back to School Success
Plus-Size Fashion’s Staying Power
Placer Bytes: Best Buy & GameStop 
Petco Barking Up the Right Tree
Lipstick Effect Boosts Ulta’s Growth