The entrepreneur who helped create the world’s largest franchise has died after a two-year battle with leukaemia
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Subway is an international franchise success story; from just a single restaurant in Connecticut, it has grown to be the largest franchise in the world with more than 44,000 restaurants around the globe. It’s hard not to admire the business savvy behind the franchise and that is why this week’s news of the death of co-founder Fred DeLuca at 67 has been a real blow for the franchise community.
DeLuca launched Subway in 1965 at the age of 17, as a result of a conversation with his friend and future co-founder Peter Buck. The nuclear engineer suggested a sandwich shop would be a great way to save money for college and lent DeLuca the $1,000 he needed to open his first store. By way of thanks, DeLuca named his store Pete’s Super Submarines, only shortening it to Subway in 1968.
Over the course of the next 50 years, DeLuca was instrumental in growing the chain to the largest restaurant chain in the world; his net wealth grew to approximately $3.5bn and Subway’s stores now allegedly serve about 2,800 sandwiches every minute. However, this is not to say that things have been plain sailing for the franchise of late. Last year, Subway’s revenues dropped by 3.3% to under $12bn, leaving it in third place in terms of annual sales for a chain restaurant.
The franchise’s co-founder passed away of leukaemia on September 14. He was first diagnosed in 2013 but remained as chief executive, insisting he had no plans to retire. Suzanne Greco, who was named president in June, will continue to oversee the operations of the business.
Despite the chain’s recent worries, it can’t be denied that the brand DeLuca helped to build has left an indelible impression on the world of franchising. We’re sure you’ll join us in paying our respects and wishing that his legacy long continues.