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SWOT analysis of SUBWAY

SWOT analysis of Subway

This is a detailed SWOT analysis of Subway. SWOT analysis is one of the tools which many strategic planners find extremely useful to analyse business environment. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are the internal factors, whereas opportunities and threats are the external factors.

Subway is an American fast-food restaurant. It has adopted franchising as its growth model. It sells submarine sandwiches (subs), salads, tea, coffee, cookies, crisps, and a variety of soft drinks.

Strengths of Subway

Subway is the largest fast-food chain in the USA and in the world (Olito, 2020). It sells millions of sandwiches every day. It operates in 111 countries and has over 41,000 stores worldwide. It has won a number of prestigious awards over the years.

Subway has adopted a differentiation strategy to serve its customers. For example, sandwiches can be customised according to the needs and desires of the customers. Similarly, baking bread fresh in store appeals to many customers.

Subway is famous for the tastiest and most nutritious meal options. No eggs are used in the breads or sauces. Special selections come with the promise of 6 gms of fat or less, with a calorie range of 230-370 (Subway, 2021).

Subway is franchisee owned, hence low cost of operations. This model helps the restaurant minimise business risks. Likewise, it has also helped the restaurant grow really fast and gain competitive advantage over its competitors in terms of its visibility and access to customers.

Weaknesses of Subway

Subway has uncomfortable seating arrangements (low quality chairs). Many of the outlets are very small as well. Subway needs to improve its interior design to cater for different types of customers.

Customer service varies from one outlet to another giving customers mixed feelings. Subway has been struggling to maintain the quality of service throughout its stores.

Many people would argue that the food in Subway is costly. This perception may impact on its sales negatively. Likewise, many customers criticise Subway for its lack of innovation concerning its menu.

Subway has a high employee turnover rate as well. Many analysts argue that Sandwich Artists job is a low paid and a low skilled job. The job itself is not enough to motivate employees to stay with the company for a long time.

Opportunities for Subway

Many geographical markets are out there to explore. Subway has reached to 111 countries only leaving many other countries untouched. It can further increase its expansions in many emerging markets.

Subway can further capitalize on low fat and low salt sandwich markets. Demand for healthy food is ever growing and the Subway brand is well positioned to avail of the opportunity. Likewise, diversification in other markets is also an opportunity worth exploring.

Threats to Subway

Threat is the next issue to discuss in the SWOT analysis of Subway. No doubt that many local and international competitors are threats to Subway. Indeed, McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King are its biggest threats.

Socio-economic and political instabilities in many parts of the world are also big threats not only for Subway but also for any other company. Likewise, global economic lockdown has already destroyed many companies around the world.

We hope the article SWOT analysis of Subway has been a good read. You may also like PESTEL analysis of Subway. Other relevant articles for you are:

Marketing mix of Subway

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Last update: 09 January 2021

Further reading/references

Olito, F. (2020) The rise and fall of Subway, the world’s largest fast-food chain, available at: (accessed 09 January 2021)

Subway (2021) About us, available at: (accessed 09 January 2021)

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.

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