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MILFORD, Conn. - The Subway restaurant chain has been named the No. 1 franchise opportunity for 2003 by Entrepreneur Magazine in its 24th annual Franchise 500 rankings.
This year represents the 11th time in the past 15 years that Subway has received the honor.
According to the International Franchise Association, most analysts estimate that franchising companies and their franchisees accounted for $1 trillion in annual U.S. retail sales from 320,000 franchised small businesses in 75 industries.
Nichole Torres of Entrepreneur Magazine wrote, "As I consider that the Subway organization has managed to build the largest fast-food franchise in the United States while still keeping the company entrepreneurial, I am in awe."
According to the article in the January 2003 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, the past few years of the Subway chain's history have been hugely successful. The chain's average unit sales volume growth rate over the past three years is approximately 40 percent.
"In the past few years, we've dramatically improved our food, advertising and internal systems. Our gains have been building nicely and we're still far ahead of the rest of the fast food industry," said Fred DeLuca, president and co founder of Subway Restaurants.
In 2001, the number of franchise leads the company received increased by 75 percent. In 2002, it grew by another 40 to 50 percent, according to DeLuca.
Subway Restaurants now operates more than 17,500 locations in 71 countries. It is the second largest fast-food chain in the world and has recently surpassed McDonald's in number of locations in the United States and Canada.