Subway entrepreneur has plan to grow number of outlets across region

GLOBAL sandwich giant Subway is set to grow its presence in Yorkshire as one of its biggest franchisees capitalises on Britons’ growing taste for the American firm’s lunches.

Deirdre Anderson, who runs 46 of the chain’s restaurants, split evenly between this region and Greater Manchester, said she plans to open at least five branches in Yorkshire each year for the foreseeable future.

She will also open a similar number on the other side of the Pennines.

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Ms Anderson is a former Subway senior executive who went into franchising in 2000. She said trading over the last 12 months had been “challenging” but she was confident she could grow the business model.

“Historically it has been quite recession-proof (but) in the UK and Ireland we have seen challenging conditions.

“I am buoyed by the fact there is good demand for the product.”

Last week Subway said it had overtaken McDonald’s as the world’s largest restaurant chain. It now has 33,749 branches at the end of 2010, compared with 32,737 for McDonald’s, it said. Altogether Subway has about 90 stores and 700 staff in Yorkshire.

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Ireland-born Ms Anderson, who was previously based in Connecticut as Subway’s director of global operations, running Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said her stores had suffered their biggest dip in trade in 2009 and recovered part of this subsequently, adding: “You cannot control the economy. All you can do is control what you do in the four walls of the store.”

Made to Order, her franchise business, turned over £19m last year and sales at her stores were on average £420,000 each.

Ms Anderson, 47, said she did not believe Britain would slip into a double-dip recession and warned of the danger of talking down the economy.

She said she had enjoyed the entrepreneurial side of the business since giving up her executive role.

“You get the support from the brand, we have local support.”

Anderson opened Yorkshire’s first Subway store in Bradford in November 2000.