No matter where you go, it always seems like a Subway isn’t far away, beckoning you with its unique and semi-bizarre smell, its seasonal offerings, and its guarantee that whatever you order will taste exactly the same as it did the last time you ordered it, whether it was in Mexico City; Braga, Portugal; or Peoria, Ill. And while we might think that we’ve learned all there is to know about the world’s most ubiquitous fast-food chain, there are many things you’d be surprised to learn about the company.
While today it’s the world’s largest restaurant operator, Subway began as a single, humble sandwich shop, opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, Conn.Called Pete’s Super Submarines, it was renamed Subway in 1968, and as the founders built out their franchise plan they created a parent company, called Doctor’s Associates Inc. (this odd moniker apparently came about because one founder had a doctorate in physics and the other was hoping to go to medical school).
The chain expanded rapidly, and continues to expand. Its $5 Footlongs, willingness to ride the zeitgeist with trendy items like Sriracha, consistency, and ubiquity help keep it top-of-mind, and the fact that it sells legitimately healthy sandwiches makes it, in many people’s minds, a healthier alternative to burger-based chains.
But for all we think we might know about Subway, there are a lot of interesting bits of info out there that you might not have realized. For example, did you know that its founder, Fred DeLuca, started the company when he was only 17 years old?
1) Fred DeLuca
Founder Fred DeLuca created Subway in 1965, when he was 17 years old, with a $1,000 loan from a family friend named Peter Buck.
2) The BMT
In keeping with the "subway" theme, the BMT sandwich was named after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system, one of the original New York subway lines. Today, we know it as "Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest," with pepperoni, salami, and ham.
This article was originally published in November 2013.