Subway is one of the most popular and most successful fast-food companies in the world. Subway has always prided itself on being great quality, healthy, and convenient for the customer.
Subway has 37,540 locations as of June 2021, but when did it all begin? I’ve done some research into Subway’s history, and here is what I’ve found out.
How Old Is Subway?
Subway was first opened in 1965. Originally, Subway was opened as ‘Pete’s Super Submarines’ by Fred De Luca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but the name was changed from Pete’s Super Submarines to Subway in 1968 and has continued under that brand name ever since.
If you want to learn more about how Subway was created, who created Subway, where the first Subway store is, and more, keep reading for more useful facts and information!
How was Subway Created?
The story of Subway started more than 50 years ago when Dr. Peter Buck, a nuclear physicist, changed the life of College student Fred De Luca.
Peter provided De Luca with a $1000 down payment to jump-start the business, which he used to create ‘Pete’s Super Submarines’ in 1965.
In 1966, Peter De Luca formed the holding company Doctor’s Associates Inc. to oversee the operations of the restaurants as the franchise expanded.
De Luca’s initial goal was to earn enough from the sandwich business to pay his tuition for medical school.
However, the growth of the business surpassed this initial goal and launched Subway into national success.
Who Created Subway?
With a $ 1,000 down payment, Dr. Peter Buck gave Fred De Luca the opportunity to start his own submarine sandwich business, establishing Fred De Luca as the creator who grew Subway into what it is today.
From a young age, Fred always had an entrepreneurial spirit (e.g. he would collect soda bottles to turn them in for a deposit so he could buy comic books and would sell them to other kids so he could buy more after reading them initially).
Fred Buck’s goals were to go to college and medical school, but he knew it would be financially difficult.
Therefore, he asked his parents’ friend, Dr. Peter Buck, for money to help with his tuition fees, but instead, Peter gave him the $1000 to start Pete’s Super Submarines.
Fred Buck eventually graduated and got an honorary doctorate but decided to keep growing the Subway business instead of pursuing a medical career.
Eventually, Fred Buck would go on to be inducted into the IFA Hall of Fame and the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame, and is a widely respected businessman and entrepreneur to this day.
Where Is the First Subway Store?
The very first Subway store to open was in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. However, when Subway opened, it was originally named Pete’s Super Submarines (named after Dr. Peter Buck, who gave the creator, Fred De Luca, $1000 to jumpstart the business).
On Subway’s first day, the store sold a total of 312 sandwiches, and the average cost of a sub was between 49 cents and 69 cents.
By 1974, Fred and Peter owned and operated 16 submarine sandwich shops throughout Connecticut.
The pair had a goal of opening 32 stores but knew they wouldn’t be able to achieve their goal as quickly as they wanted. Therefore, the company decided to franchise.
By franchising Subway, Buck and De Luca grew the business into what it is today, and there are now over 37,000 Subway locations around the world.
Is Subway Older Than McDonald’s and Other Fast-Food Chains?
While Subway was founded in 1965, restaurants such as McDonalds and A&W were founded in the 1910s-1940s. Therefore, Subway is not the oldest fast-food restaurant to date.
In fact, Subway isn’t even in the top 10 oldest fast-food chains. Yet, it is up there with the most successful and recognizable chains in the world.
The top 10 oldest fast-food chains include the following:
- Burger King: founded in 1953 by Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns in Jacksonville, Florida
- Sonic: founded on June 18, 1953, by Troy Smith in Seminole, Oklahoma
- Jack In The Box: founded on February 21, 1951, by Robert Oscar Peterson in San Diego
- Dunkin’ Donuts: founded in 1948 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts
- In-N-Out Burger: founded on October 22, 1948, by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, California
- Dairy Queen: founded on June 22, 1940, by John Fremont McCullough in Joliet, Illinois
- McDonald’s: founded on May 15, 1940, by Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California
- KFC: founded on March 20, 1930, by Harland Sanders in Kentucky
- White Castle: founded on September 13, 1921, by Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson in Wichita, Kansas
- A&W: founded on June 20, 1919, by Roy W. Allen and Frank Wright in Lodi, California