I heard somewhere that there are actually more Subway restaurants in the U.S. than there are McDonalds. I was in Subway the other day and I asked the manager about this, but he didn't seem to know. Actually, he didn't seem to know much about anything pertaining to the grander scope of his job, but maybe that's because he works at Subway.
I supposed five minutes on Google could answer this question with certainty, but I'd much rather speculated wildly.
On the one hand, I can believe it. Have you ever had trouble finding a Subway (assuming that you wanted to eat there)? Sure, McDonalds is more famous, because they advertise so much and those showy golden arches are impossible to miss, but that doesn't mean there aren't just as many Subways. Subways are tiny - they can be tucked away into strip malls and rest stops and other Subways. McDonalds require their own structure, or at least a super huge travel station. So although Subway is an easy restaurant to miss if you're not looking for it, it's impossible to miss if you are.
Subways are also cheap as hell to run. The only foods they have there are buns, and the crap you see out on the counter. What else is there? I don't think they make anything from scratch - Subways barely even need an oven. They don't even need any storage room - they just put the chips and drinks out there where you can steal them. And have you ever seen more than three people working at a Subway? That's got to save on overhead. In contrast, have you ever seen less than ten people working at a McDonald's? It takes a whole team of people even to operate the late-night window.
On the other hand, have you ever seen more than three people eating at Subway? Sure, subs cost more than the dollar menu, but when you only sell seven sandwiches a day, there can't be much less in the budget to pay Jarrod the sub guy. In contrast, I've stood in line at McDonalds behind like 40 people, and somehow everybody gets there double cheeseburger in less than ten minutes. Sure, it only costs a dollar, but those dollars add up. I guess Subways are a little busier during rush hour, but I can't imagine they rake in the dough the way McDonalds. And I don't care how friendly their tip jars are; moving two dozen meatball marinaras probably doesn't cover much more than the three people it took to make them.
In conclusion, I don't really care if there are more McDonald's or more Subways. Any restaurant that has more than 100,000 stores, it's kind of all the same after that. All I care is that anytime I'm a roadtrip and am hungry for either of the two of these mass produced cuisineries, I never have to wait more than three exits.