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) -- All is not well at Quiznos.

The once ubiquitous sandwich chain is shedding stores fast, as the total number of franchised and company-owned shops dropped by 600 last year, the steepest decline of any major fast food chain according to data from

QSR magazine

, a fast food industry trade publication. There were just more than 3,100 Quiznos locations in the U.S. at the end of 2010.

Quiznos' business seems to be cooling off fast. The hot sandwich chain led major fast food chains in U.S. store loss last year.

To put this in perspective, the next steepest decline on the list came from



, which QSR found had 107 fewer locations in the U.S. last year than the year before, a fraction of the stores shed by Quiznos.

By comparison Subway, arguably Quiznos's biggest competitor, added nearly 816 locations in the U.S. last year, the most of any of the 50 fast food chains for which QSR collected data. In fact, by the end of 2010, Subway actually

surpassed McDonald's


for having the most locations of a restaurant in the world.

Part of the reason for this difference in trajectories between the two sandwich chains has to do with franchising costs. Subway has often been singled out for having

low start-up and operational costs

, making it that much more affordable to open up a location, whereas several franchisees have


that Quiznos has unnecessarily high operational costs that hurt business.

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