Subway sandwich empire co-founder Fred DeLuca dies

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fifty years after starting his first sandwich shop as a teenager, Subway CEO and co-founder Fred DeLuca died on Monday. He was 67 and suffering from cancer.

A Subway restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Image: Ian Thomson.

Subway yesterday announced his death, but not the location. He had developed leukaemia, which the company announced in 2013. The business was founded with friend Peter Buck who lent DeLuca $1,000 to open Pete's Super Submarines in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company remains based in the state.

By 1968 the business was renamed Subway and the two young entrepreneurs began looking at franchising as a method of expansion. It worked: With over 44,000 locations Subway is the world's largest fast food franchise. The company has locations in 110 countries.

Subway brands itself as a healthy alternative on the fast food market. It has faced various controversies: ingredients, contracts with franchisees, and longtime advertiser Jared Fogle have all come under scrutiny. Fogle left the company this year after admitting underage sex and child pornography offences.

"I knew nothing about making sandwiches, nor the food industry," DeLuca would later write of his 1965 startup. Growing up he lived in state-owned housing in The Bronx, New York City. Forbes estimated his 2015 wealth at around $3.5 billion.