Subway Restaurants And Missional Christianity

From James Emery White’s Church and Culture blog:

The Subway sandwich chain has surpassed McDonald’s Corporation as the world’s largest restaurant chain in terms of units. At the end of 2010, Subway had 33,749 restaurants worldwide to McDonald’s 32,737.
What is even more impressive is that Subway didn’t open its first international restaurant, where growth has been most explosive for chains such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, until 1984. But by 2020, Subway expects its number of international restaurants to exceed its domestic ones.
How did they do it?
Subway has opened outlets in non-traditional locations such as an automobile showroom in California, an appliance store in Brazil, a ferry terminal in Seattle, a riverboat in Germany, a zoo in Taiwan, a Goodwill store in South Carolina, a high school in Detroit and a church in Buffalo, New York.
“We’re continually looking at just about any opportunity for someone to buy a sandwich, wherever that might be,” says Don Fertman, Subway’s Chief Development Officer. ”The closer we can get to the customer, the better.”
Or, as it might be for the church. the closer we can get to the non-Christian, the better. I’m not sure what I think of White’s subsequent argument about multi-site churches as the answer, but the missional principle is clear: the onus upon Christians is to go to where are others feel comfortable, rather than concentrating at first on inviting them into our comfort zones.


  1. good thoughts. i like how jesus went to where the “bad” people were. he went and sat at their tables which was a sign of friendship.


  2. We have a Subway in a nearby town. And, for a while, our church conducted a men’s breakfast Bible study group at Macca’s (not sure why it was ‘men only’). Oh wait, it’s the Sydney Anglican diocese, that’s why!
    Seriously good idea, there’s a couple of great eateries in Milton that I’d be happy to have our Sunday morning service move to.


  3. People are actually starting to feel comfortable in our new chuirch foyer!
    We are being careful to keep it as neutral as possible…
    for a church foyer.

    Iincidentally we also have a subway in town (opposite The Castle Theatre)


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