The first Subway in Holland opened in Eindhoven on 4 March 2000, and since then another 31 Subways have opened across the country. The sandwich company’s goal is to have 210 stores in this country by 2010, almost as many as the current 225 McDonald’s that we have here.
There aren’t all that many international restaurant chains in the Netherlands. McDonald’s is very dominant, but there aren’t many other international or global chains here. There are only 2 Pizza Hut’s, 41 Burger King’s and 25 KFC’s, but that’s about it for the international franchises. Applebee’s used to have a handful of restaurants, but those have all closed. And there is one Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam.
The same counts for international grocery stores; every country in Europe has border-crossing supermarkets like Tesco and Carrefour, but not in the low lands. This must be due to strong government regulations.
I’ve seen more restaurant chains in the most unexpected places. In Hurghada, Egypt, for instance there was a Baskin Robbins, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and even a Cinnabon (!) right next to each other.
Other countries in Europe are littered with restaurant chains. In London, for instance, every street has a Garfunkels, and in Italy there are over 400 Autogrill’s on the autostradas. And in France they have Buffalo Grill and Quick (short for “Quick, give me a barf bag!”, according to Bill Bryson).
Of course there are millions of traditional snackbars in Holland that sell fries and your standard selection sides, like kroketten and frikandellen. Some of these stores are Dutch chains, like Febo, but most of them are independent, or very small franchises.
The introduction of Subway is really changing this, and the company has a big ambition to become the biggest sandwich maker in the country; it is already in the world with over 25,000 stores in 83 countries! I wonder if other global chains like Taco Bell will move into the Netherlands when they see that Subway is successful.