Subway has long capitalized on the fact that it is a healthier alternative to other fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell, to name a few. Ironically enough, it was founded by Dr. Peter Buck and Fred DeLuca under the business name Doctor’s Associates Incorporated, in 1966.
Fred DeLuca knew that if he was going to pursue a medical career, he needed to start making money and saving up sooner rather than later. After approaching Dr. Buck, who gave him $1,000 to invest in a sandwich shop, DeLuca founded “Pete’s Super Submarines” in 1965. The two men partnered up one year later.
The first Pete’s Super Submarines (a.k.a. Subway) opened up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a state in which many of the subsequent locations would soon appear.
Why is it called Subway?
Originally named for Dr. Peter Buck, Pete’s Super Submarines became “Pete’s Subway” in 1966 and two years later was known simply as “Subway.” By 1974, Subway had 16 shops in the state of Connecticut. It was only after deciding to begin franchising that the unlikely businessmen would see major profits. The first restaurant outside of the Connecticut border was opened in Massachusetts in 1975, and by 1981, Subway had opened 200 stores.
The arrows on the Subway logo represent speed and movement. You can get a personalized, healthy sub sandwich fast and it jives well with an active lifestyle. Since Subway is the healthy fast-food alternative, DeLuca wanted to exemplify this in the logo, which hasn’t changed much since it was first introduced.
Image source: CNN
Many people also associate Subway with the underground transit so popular in New York City. In order to bring this element to the sandwich shops, “the founders decided to adopt a common system by decorating the shops with maps of the New York city subway system.”
Subway’s Hot Profits
It all began in 1983 when Subway chose to bake their own bread in stores to draw customers with an enticing smell and an even better lunch deal. Knowing that a successful brand only grew if it was prominent in social spheres, Subway took its marketing up a notch. From cameos in famous movies like Terminator 2: Judgment Day to creative challenges such as “Project Subway,” the marketing team at Subway did its job, well.
Image Source: Youtube
The popular sub sandwich chain participated in “Undercover Boss” in 2010, but it was the commitment to the rebuilding of the World Trade Centers after 9/11 that set it apart. Construction workers needed a meal during their 30-minute lunch break, so Subway created a mobile sandwich-making shop that catered to their needs.
However, the very sandwiches themselves would prove to be Subway’s downfall in 2013, when an Australian by the name of Matt Corbey sued the brand for false advertising. Their 12-inch subs were only 11 inches, he claimed, and in a class action lawsuit, he and 10 other individuals won and were paid $500 each. Subway had to eat a rather large $520,000 legal fee bill. That’s a lot of calories to burn off!
Your Sandwich, Your Way
Though Fred DeLuca passed away in 2015, his tenure as co-founder and CEO of Subway was a success. It’s safe to say he was able to pay for his medical schooling, and then some. Though the first sandwiches sold at Subway (312 just on opening day) only cost $0.49 to $0.69 back in the late 1960s, the 6-inch “Snak” and $5 Footlong campaigns in more recent years have made both founders a lot of money. In fact, 2014 saw 7.6 million subs served per day. Even at $5 a sub, that’s quite a profit!
Rebecca Henderson is the published author and professional editor at The Kreativ Space. Best expressing herself through the written word, she enjoys the smell of burning rubber as well. Rebecca hopes to shift your world perspective through her words, because looking out the same window every day hardly makes for an interesting life.