Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Subway sandwich locations in Greece

Subway in GreeceLogo from subway.com

Craving a Subway sandwich, with real meat and fresh-cut vegetables on warm bakery bread?

Please be aware that the stores in Athens and Thessaloniki are closed, and the official Subway website only lists Greece and store locations when they are open.

*Article last updated March 3, 2013

Hat tip

Alex, Dylan and McKroes, kind and knowledgeable readers who gave me information to update this article.

Islands — All seasonal, in summer only

The official Subway website locator only shows locations that are currently open for summer, and status can change at any moment. It does not reflect all possible operating franchise locations (listed below).

Corfu
Leyhimi, Kavos municipality

Crete
Beach Road – Dimokratias 58
Malia 70007
(28970) 32371/(28970) 32398

Crete
Ag. Paraskevis 57
Leof. Elef. Venizelou 39 (Main Road)
Hersonissos Beach
Hersonissos 70014
(28970) 22927

Zakynthos
Laganas 29100
(26950) 52369

Zakynthos
Ionian Galleries
Laganas 29092
(26950) 52369

Zakynthos
Argiassi Tsilivi 29100
(26950) 27071

Defunct locations — Shut down

These stores have permanently closed.

Athinas 33-37
Athens 10553
(210) 331-3500

Pentelis 9
Petraki 5
Athens 10563
(210) 325-0081

Syngrou 22
Athens 10563

Ignatia 121
Thessaloniki 54635
(2310) 212210

Rhodes
Averof Street 6-8
Faliraki 85100
(22410) 43300

A store was scheduled to open at the Mall of Athens in Marousi but never did.

Why is Subway Sandwich operating seasonally? Why did stores shut down in Athens, Greece?

Based on my experience and knowledge of the market in Greece, Subway failed in Athens long before the debt crisis and is failing as a year-round chain for four reasons:

1. Local tastes: Although the sandwich ranked #2 behind burgers as Greeks’ favorite fast food, the definition of a sandwich here is usually of three types:
a) A sandwich similar to Everest, which is a rectangle roll with substandard fillings of your choice flattened in a panini machine;
b) a cold cut, slice of tomato and leaf of lettuce stuffed into a bun, served at a bakery or coffee shop, picked up as an afterthought or filler;
c) tost (not misspelled), which consists of cheese and sometimes a thin slice of cheap ham pressed into a machine and served warm, aka, grilled cheese sandwich.

People don’t care so much about the quality of sandwich ingredients, and have never heard of Philly cheesesteak, BBQ beef, albacore tuna, hot pastrami, corned beef, Monterey Jack cheese, smoked Swiss, sourdough or onion rolls. Even the Greek version of a club sandwich is horribly compromised with limp bacon. Sandwiches are generic, and the same offerings can be found anywhere (even at home), so a place like Subway and its diverse menu would likely only appeal to someone from abroad.

If a franchise wants to survive, it must customize itself somewhat to local culture and habits of the population, aka, Greeks.

2. Limited market: Expats and tourists alone cannot sustain a business. Tourists provide only seasonal business, and there isn’t an overwhelming number of expats who frequent a business like this because of location or personal preference.

True, some of us get homesick and enjoy variety but eating a Subway sandwich once or twice a year isn’t going to help the owner turn a profit and stay in business. Personally, I didn’t eat Subway when I lived in the USA, so why would I start now?

My Greek partner loves Subway, but not so much to take public transport for 2 hours to the nearest location or fight traffic in his car for an hour, then pay more than the price of a sandwich for parking. It’s easier to wait until our next visit to the USA because prices are cheaper and locations literally everywhere, even in the airport before we get our luggage and hail a shuttle. I also make great clones at home.

3. Compromised quality: Even if the franchise has the recipes, it’s inevitable that ingredients have been compromised or the menu curtailed because of #1, so customers in #2 who care about authenticity are often disappointed because it’s not the same or their favorite isn’t offered. Chances of repeat business are slim.

4. Poor professionalism: Customers have a difficult time finding locations because franchises don’t use marketing, advertising and common sense, such as listing basic information: addresses, phone numbers and websites. For example, a rep for Subway Greece has twice left comments telling me this article is outdated but neglected to leave current info or URLs to update it, even after I told her what I needed the first time. If they don’t make it easy, people take their business elsewhere. Simple as that.

A lot of foreign franchises in Greece fail for the same reasons. It’s not just Subway. And yet, Subway Sandwich Europe continues to advertise for potential franchisees in Athens, Thessaloniki and elsewhere in Greece. Buyer beware.

In the News

Subway passes McDonald’s” — WSJ

Related posts

Taste of America in Greece
Corn dogs in Athens?
Crazy American things

21 Comments »

  vasilios wrote @ July 31st, 2008 at 06:33

how lucky the residents of Greece are to possess such a jewel !

now youve got me craving an oven chicken roast with everything and mayo/mustard :(

  mckroes wrote @ December 1st, 2008 at 00:04

I’m sorry to tell you but the number of Subway restaurants in Greece has shrinked to 3 in total. Which are all based in Athens. I used to go to the one in Thessaloniki….

  Kat wrote @ December 1st, 2008 at 01:01

Thank you for telling me about the Thessaloniki location; I crossed it off the list.

I was told that three are open year-round in Athens, which is the reason there are only three listed on the Subway website at the moment; and the four on Greek islands are seasonal, only open in summer. Therefore, the list stands until I hear differently.

  alex wrote @ September 30th, 2009 at 13:49

the subway franchise is no more. the 3 shops in Athens will retain the recipes until stock lasts but that it. note that the locations have removed the subway logo from their entrance so look carefully.

Kat Reply:

Thank you so much for letting me know. I never visit Subway and am due to update this article.

  Subway weg uit Griekenland – Horecatrend wrote @ November 21st, 2009 at 09:46

[…] Dit aantal liep in de loop van de tijd steeds verder terug en uiteindelijk bleven er nog 3 restaurants over in Athene die uiteindelijk sinds eind september hun laatste voorraden verkochten aan klanten […]

  Dylan wrote @ June 6th, 2010 at 00:11

According to subways website the seasonal locations are open again

Kat Reply:

Thank you, Dylan.

I don’t know how reliable the website is because it says there are eight stores, only five are listed, and two of three shops on Zakynthos have the same phone number (owned by the same person or an error?). I updated the post according to your comment. However, I cannot confirm whether these locations are indeed open since I don’t live on Zakynthos or Crete.

  VaCo_J-Mac wrote @ June 11th, 2010 at 23:58

so the one in Thessaloniki will not open again???im sooo sad!!:'(

  Stella wrote @ November 24th, 2010 at 21:49

There are currently 7 seasonal, Subway stores in Greece. 3 in Crete, 2 of which are in Malia, and 1 in Hersonissos. Another 3 in Zakynthos, 2 of which are in Laganas, and 1 in Argassi. And, 1 in Kavos, Corfu. These are all summer seasonal stores, which is the reason why, you will not find them listed currently in Subway’s restaurant locator. They appear only during the time the stores are open and operating.

Kat Reply:

The Subway website says there are eight locations in Greece and three operate seasonally, so the only reliable source of information is readers, and my own independent research and first-hand experience. My article does say all are seasonal and lists all but one location.

Thanks so much for the information you provided. As a Subway franchise rep, it would have been helpful to give me the address of the Malia location I don’t have listed for the benefit of Subway and my readers. Friends on Crete have never seen it.

  McKroes wrote @ December 22nd, 2010 at 23:24

I’ve been to malia last autumn, there are 2 seasonal subways (both were closed during my visit). Both on the Dimokratias (Beachroad)

Greetz mckroes

Follow-up: Hi Kat, always here to help! I will go to Thessaloniki and Athens in spring (Yay!) to enjoy both cities again — once you’ve lived in Greece for some time it always in your heart, and I did my exchange for university in Thessaloniki — and make my McDonald’s Greece photo collection more complete. You can find the collection on Flickr –> search McKroes.

Have a great 2011!!

Kat Reply:

Hi S, nice to see you here again.

Now that you mention it, I remember having two listings on Dimokratias. I thought it was a mistake they’d be so close in proximity, and I deleted one according to the info I saw on the Subway website. I’ll go back to my ‘way back’ machine and see if I can retrieve it.

Thank you for saying something.

  bob wrote @ February 20th, 2011 at 06:09

ohh.. i miss subways. This was the only fast-food i was eating when i was in uk.
In my opinion the chain failed here because of the late market entry. When they came, everest, grigoris mikrogeumata, (and many other independent individuals) they were already well established to the market offering a similar product. In this case the market is characterized as mature, which makes it hard and almost impossible for new players to enter and developed.

  Sue wrote @ March 8th, 2011 at 21:41

Shame they folded here, but you’ve got the reasons for failure down to a tee.

As an expat myself – although here before Subway appeared back home – you can definitely tell the difference in flavours/textures etc. In the UK I was fond of KFC, but it’s not the same here – the coating barely clings to the meat most times.

Long before Everest was on the scene, lots of somewhat dodgy-looking backstreet, 3-foot wide shops served a very wide plethora of things between two pieces of bread or in a bun, from lettuce and tomato to olives, pastormas and the like. One of my first memories of Athens in 1987 was such a shop – although I was afraid to try!

Kat Reply:

Hi Sue,

I appreciate you saying so. Some people have sought my opinion on the market before opening a chain in Greece, I tell them what I know, and then they get mad and say I’m wrong. Well, OK then!

What you say about the KFC Greece coating is true, and that’s probably due to inexperienced staff just as the Cinnabon review in “Athens Metro Mall” talks about cinnamon buns exploding because employees weren’t operating the ovens properly. In “Taste of America in Greece,” I also comment on the KFC Extra Crispy coating not being an option on the menu, though I see it offered on two 2011 items called Zinger and Blazin’, which is funny since most of us won’t find them hot or spicy at all.

Probably best that fear kept you away from those sandwich shops back in the 1980s.

Thank you saying hello and sharing your experience. Hope to see you again.

  Harry A wrote @ June 9th, 2011 at 19:31

I agree with everything the writer says. However, i do believe that a foreign brand needs to adjust itself a little bit to the needs of each market.

Subway didn’t make it for the following reasons as well:
1. Many Greeks visit that kind of store for their breakfast and they don’t consider a sandwich as breakfast.
2. Subway didn’t try to offer the kind of coffee that Greeks like, and that wouldn’t be that hard to do.
3. Nobody here likes potato chips with their food. It seemed weird, out of place and cheap to place them in the menu. It made Subway seem “junkier” than it is.
4. Subway stores like the one in Syntagma Square needed cosier chairs/tables to invite passers-by. That wasn’t the case.
5. Most Subway stores in Athens were located at the wrong places, hidden from view. A little advertising campaign wouldn’t hurt either. Some kind of sampling outside the store could do miracles…

Personally, i’m going to miss Subway a lot and i wish they make a comeback.

Kat Reply:

Hi Harry,

In #1, I do say a brand needs to adjust to local tastes and culture. In #4, I talk about proper marketing and advertising. We’re basically saying the same thing.

I appreciate you adding your insights with the list of reasons. All valid, all on point.

  Sattie wrote @ May 3rd, 2013 at 10:09

Comment 1:
Thank you for providing these great articles about Greece! This is great information with deep insights. Sincerely admirable.

I am currently at business school in U.S. and our marketing group is studying about Subway in Greek market. Just heard that 2 Athens locations are shut down last year? Was it also economic crisis sake, not just mismatches against local tastes? (I know it must be the key to survive in the hard time though) Thank you.

Comment 2:
Sorry, I heard it from one of local Greeks I contacted, but he may have not been right/sure. Apologize for the inappropriateness of my comment. Sincerely appreciate your time replying me, and again your insights and suggestions. I definitely include your posts into our references. Thank you so much.

Kat Reply:

Answer 1:
Last year, in 2012? Where does it say that? The three Athens locations (all listed in the article under ‘Defunct locations’) shut down in 2009 and the franchise was already in trouble in 2008, well before the crisis. Didn’t you read comments above yours? I also suggest attributing your sources — including this post — conducting research, analyzing data and forming your own insights, not just copying mine and those of others. Business schools and MBA programs frown on plagiarism.

Answer 2:
The person who gave you that information is definitely incorrect. This is why you need to vet sources and independently confirm facts. A lot of Greeks never admit, “I don’t know” and will guess or make up something. It’s cultural. Misinformation is one of many reasons I started my website.

  Mina wrote @ August 12th, 2013 at 12:21

No answering the phone plz do smth about it!!!!!!!!????

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