MILFORD, Conn. – The Subway sandwich chain plans to open 2,000 North American locations this year. The Subway franchise system is already the world's largest restaurant chain, in terms of number of locations, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

The Subway chain is also a huge customer of US beef, pork, chicken and turkey. “According to our purchasing cooperative, we used more than 200 million lbs. of meat [beef and pork] and about 190 million lbs. of poultry [chicken and turkey] in North America [US and Canada] in 2010,” a company spokesperson told

Since January, the chain has opened approximately 700 new stores in 50 countries, 43 US states and eight Canadian provinces. The chain is also testing a new Subway café format, specifically designed to satisfy the needs of landlords of office buildings and upscale properties. The concept is a combination sandwich shop and coffee bar, featuring feature brick or wood-paneled walls, comfortable armchairs, and an expanded menu that includes baked goods and frozen coffee drinks.