Subway has set out ambitious plans to increase the number of stores in the UK and Ireland to 2,000 over the next three years, with non-traditional locations such as forecourts leading the growth.

There are currently more than 1,500 Subway stores in the UK and Ireland, which is almost a five-fold increase on the 2004 store count, with more than 100 on petrol stations and a further 50 forecourt sites in development.

Trevor Haynes, area development manager for Subway in the UK and Ireland, said: “The UK and Irish markets have been fantastic success stories for the Subway brand and we see ample opportunities for further growth as more and more consumers demand fresh, healthy food on the go.

“In addition to our traditional store development we see huge potential in non-traditional locations such as convenience stores, petrol forecourts, hospitals and transport hubs,” added Haynes. “Our target to treble the number of these stores over the next four years will be a leading factor in developing new store locations and in job creation.”

Globally there are now more than 36,000 Subway stores in 98 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia. All stores are independently owned and operated by franchisees. The UK and Ireland is the largest market outside North America.

The Subway business model is said to have low start-up costs, making it an ideal entry point for entrepreneurs.