Does Subway Really Have More Locations Than McDonald's?

McDonald's claims to sell deliciously juicy Burgers, while Subway claims to sell fresh sandwiches made from healthy produce: when it comes to the fast-food spectrum, these two chains couldn't be farther apart from each other. And yet, there has been a bit of unexpected controversy connected to these very different restaurants. You may have heard that Subway has more chains across the world than the golden arched giant, which, in turn, may also have you confused.

After all, McDonald's was founded in the 1950s and is often touted as the quintessential American fast-food chain (per History). On the other hand, Subway did not burst onto the U.S.'s quick service scene until a little over ten years later in 1965 (via Subway), and doesn't seem to be nearly as prestigious in the world of fast food. Despite being younger than McDonald's you certainly can't deny that the home of make-it-your-way subs is one of the most successful fast-food chains in the United States. According to Insider, Subway had "7.6 million subs served daily in 2016." But while Subways' sales numbers are impressive, how does the number of locations of the home of the five dollar foot long stack up against the land of happy meals?

Yes, Subway does actually have more locations than McDonald's

As hard as it may be to believe, Subway beat out McDonald's for the title of "world's largest restaurant chain" in 2011, notes CNN Money. In addition, Forbes reported that the eat fresh focused restaurant has over 43,000 locations across the globe. In comparison, the golden arched producer of the McGriddle has more than 38,000 restaurants scattered throughout the world (per McDonald's).

Eat This Not That credited Subway's insane amount of restaurants to the fact it ultimately costs less money to start up a Subway than other fast-food chains. Attempting to open your own McDonald's would have you paying out $45,000 while starting a Subway would cost around $15,000. While Subway has McDonald's beat in terms of the sheer amount of locations, McDonald's still trumps Subway when talking revenue. According to Fox Business, McDonald's is still the top earner in America's fast-food world. Subway, however, claimed the sixth slot on that list. So while you may have been wrong to think that the number of McDonald's locations rule the globe, you were correct if you assumed they are the most financially successful U.S.-based fast-food chain.