Subway today opens its 2,000th store in the UK and Ireland in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

The milestone opening, at the Jarman Leisure Park, highlights the investment of more than £200m that Subway franchisees contribute to their local economies, as well as providing more than 20,000 jobs in stores across the UK and Ireland, said the firm.

More than 260 stores have opened in the past 12 months in the UK and Ireland – an average of five each week. There are more than 43,000 Subway stores in more than 105 countries. All stores are owned by local businesspeople, who operate their stores on a franchise basis.

The licensee of the 2,000th store will be Christopher Seymour, who has worked with the brand for more than 12 years, with Hemel Hempstead representing his 12th store.

The largest area for growth for Subway is in the development of stores in non-traditional locations, such as forecourt sites, within convenience stores, universities and hospitals. It has partnered with organisations including Welcome Break, Euro Garages, Applegreen and Sodexo to date, opening around 430 outlets through these means.

Greg Madigan, area development manager for Subway UK and Ireland, said: “The level of growth that the brand has experienced in the UK and Ireland is a fantastic achievement. It reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of Subway franchisees and development agents, together with the power and support of the global Subway brand.

“Opening the 2,000th store in Hemel Hempstead today is an exciting milestone for everyone involved in the Subway brand in the UK and Ireland, and I am very proud of their achievements. What’s more, we have a strong pipeline of stores opening throughout 2015 in a variety of locations, from high street to popular non-traditional locations.”

The UK and Ireland represent Subway’s largest market, behind the US and Canada. Subway is also the only quick-service restaurant to have endorsed all eight nutrition pledges related to the UK government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal.