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“I didnt know anything about making sandwiches nor from the food industry”, said Fred DeLuca in his book. But, sometimes, experience is not everything. In 1965 he founded a fast food chain that would become the largest in the world with more than 44,000 stores. Subway did not emerge as a grand entrepreneurial plan.but rather to finance a specific need for DeLuca. And the plan exceeded expectations.
His idea was clear: I wanted to study medicine. DeLuca was born in New York in 1947 and raised in public housing in the Bronx. His mother had instilled in him the importance of education. Therefore, after school, he worked in a hardware store to earn his own income. But college had another cost.
The family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and there they became friends with the doctor of nuclear physics, Peter Buck. “I thought, ‘He’s doing fine.’ So I decided to ask him if he had any good ideas on how to raise money for college, hoping he’d reach into his pocket and give me a wad of $100 bills,” he said. DeLuca in an interview with CNBC.
However, Buck le prest u$s 1000 on the condition that he use them to found a venture. The physicist remembered that, with his father, he always went to an Italian submarine sandwich shop (made with French bread), then proposed to the 17-year-old to open his own local. DeLuca le hizo case e inaugur Pete’s Super Submarines en 1965.
The first day they sold more than 300 sandwiches at a value of $0.49 each. With the income from the company, DeLuca was able to finance his psychology studies at the University of Bridgeport. That first location did not have a good performance, however, the partners chose to open a second, which did manage to take off.
In 1968 they decided to cut the name and it was renamed simply Subway. Six years later, when they already managed 16 branches, they launched the franchise system to speed up their expansion. By 1981 they had 200 points in the United States and the following year they opened 100 more.. The international step came in 1984 when they set foot in Bahrain.
Subway undertook aggressive growth in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. During that time, it expanded with locations all over the world, primarily because it was a cheaper franchise than others in the fast food sector. At the same time, sold itself as a “healthier” alternative than the other restaurants in the category.
Even in 2000 the company made Jared Fogle one of its main spokesmen. He was a young man from Indiana who claimed to have lost more than 100 kilos just eating at Subway. Fogle became the visible face of advertising campaigns, television spots and events. In 2002 the chain surpassed McDonald’s as the world’s largest.
Everything that goes up must come down
To Argentina arrived in 1996 through a group of Brazilian partners and came to have five stores, however, shortly after the licensees abandoned the operation. The brand recently returned in 2004 with a local society in charge. They currently have more than 60 active stores and were projecting launch new business units in the domestic market, such as drive-thru service and vending machines.
The great growth of the company began to deflate from 2014 when sales began to decline. To this were added two events that marked the brand in 2015. On the one hand, the death of its co-founder, DeLuca, at age 67. And on the other, the Fogle case, with whom they cut ties after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and paying to have sex with minors.
signing today manages more than 37,000 stores around the world, of which 21,000 are located in the United States. The owner of the brand is Doctor’s Associate, a society that pays homage to that original bond between a doctor of physics and a young man who wanted to study medicine.