Fred DeLuca

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Fred DeLuca
Fred De Luca 2011-03-09 001.jpg
DeLuca in 2011
Frederick James Matthew DeLuca

(1947-10-03)October 3, 1947
DiedSeptember 14, 2015(2015-09-14) (aged 67)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Bridgeport
Years active1965–2015
TitleFounder / President of Subway (1965–2015)
Spouse(s)Elisabeth (1966–2015; his death)
Children2 (Jonathan Deluca, Luca Mattson)
RelativesSuzanne Greco (sister)

Frederick Adrian DeLuca (October 3, 1947 – September 14, 2015) was an American businessman and co-founder of the Subway franchise of sandwich shops. During his tenure, Subway grew into the largest franchise in the world.

Early life and education[edit]

Fred DeLuca was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 3, 1947[2] to Italian American parents Carmela and Salvatore DeLuca.[3] At the age of 10, DeLuca moved to Amsterdam, New York, where he and his family became friends with Peter Buck.[4] Once in his teens, he moved with his family to Bridgeport, Connecticut.[5] After succeeding in his business, DeLuca realized his dream to go to college and graduated from the University of Bridgeport.[6]

DeLuca was a 1965 graduate of Central High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.[7]


In 1965, 17-year-old DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from family friend Dr. Peter Buck.[7] This was after Buck suggested the idea to help DeLuca make money for college[5][8] to study medicine.[6] DeLuca's plan was to begin a "fast-food venture that provided a healthful, less fattening bill of fare".[5] On the radio advertisement they had promoted the name as "Pete's Submarines," which sounded like "Pizza Marines", so they changed the name to "Pete's Subway." Eventually in 1968, it was shortened to simply "Subway" as it is known today.[9]

Early Years of Subway[edit]

With the help of his mother Carmela and Dr. Buck, the first shop opened on August 28, 1965, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.[10][11] The first year of business was a learning experience and a challenge. A year later they opened their second location, having realized that visibility and marketing were key factors to success. DeLuca believed that the biggest mistake he made was where he set up his very first shop as it was a "crummy location."[11] The third outlet was in a highly visible location[6] and that location is still there today.[12]

Fred DeLuca ran Subway as a family business, with his mother running the first shop, his sister working as a "sandwich artist" and even his wife Elisabeth worked in the corporate office.[13] Every Monday, Dr. Buck would visit the DeLuca household and visit Carmela and Fred to discuss the Subway business.[13] As time went on, they eventually turned to a franchising model which is when they saw their growth explode.

In 1978, Subway's 100th store opened, and reached the 1,000 store mark in 1987. Explosive growth continued with Subway opening 1,100 units in 1993.[5][14][15]

Jared Fogle[edit]

After reading an article about an Indiana man who lost 245 pounds eating Subway Sandwiches, Fred DeLuca [14][15] met Jared Fogle, bought him a new Mitsubishi Galant, and made him Subway's featured spokesman by 2000.[14] After Fogle became Subway's spokesman, sales and store openings started to skyrocket.[13][14][16][17][15]

A Subway Franchisee whistleblower named Cindy Mills came forward and alerted several high ranking Subway executives about Fogle's pedophilia and illicit sexual activity.[18][14] In a statement, Subway denied any knowledge of Fogle's pedophilia and that executives including DeLuca and others were previously unaware of Fogle engaging in underage prostitution both in the United States and in Thailand.[19]

Other ventures[edit]

DeLuca and Peter Buck also partnered to create Franchise Brands[20] in an effort to assist other entrepreneurs in replicating their success in the franchise industry.


During DeLuca's tenure, Subway grew to be the largest franchise in the world.[13] DeLuca aggressively pursued store growth, requiring franchisees open stores nearby their existing ones, in some cases across the street from their existing locations, or else Subway would recruit a competitor that would put them out of business.[21] From 2015 to 2020, Subway had a net loss of thousands US stores, and remains the largest sandwich chain in the world.[22][13][23][24]

Personal life[edit]

DeLuca had homes in Milford, Connecticut, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida,[17] and lived with his wife Elisabeth. His son, Jonathan, lives in Boca Raton, Florida.[6] DeLuca adopted a child of Cindy Mattson, named Luca.[13]


On July 15, 2013, DeLuca announced that he was being treated for leukemia.[25][26] DeLuca died on September 14, 2015, at Lauderdale Lakes, Florida.[27][2]


At the graduation commencement in 2002, DeLuca received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) from his alma mater, the University of Bridgeport.[2] He also was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Restaurant Association[28]


  1. ^ "Fred DeLuca". Forbes. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Fred DeLuca, Co-Founder of Subway Sandwich Chain, Dies at 67". The New York Times. September 15, 2015.
  3. ^ "20th Century Great American Business Leaders database". Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  4. ^ "Fred DeLuca". H. Wayne Huizenga School. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d "DeLuca, Fred". Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d "Billionaire Profile: Fred DeLuca". March 25, 2011. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Subway Passes McDonald's For Most Fast-Food Restaurants". Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Entrepreneur's Hall of Fame: Fred DeLuca". LTBN. 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "Early Fast Fooderies-Where They all Started". April 30, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  10. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (September 15, 2015). "Fred DeLuca, Hands-on Co-Founder of Subway Sandwich Chain, Dies at 67". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Five Tips from Subway". Inc. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  12. ^ "Subway, Eat Fresh". Archived from the original on October 13, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Subway cofounder Fred DeLuca ruled the company like a demigod and pursued wives of franchisees. How one man sent the world's biggest fast-food chain into a tailspin". Business Insider. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Fred DeLuca Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". September 15, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Tim Evans; Mark Alesia (August 19, 2015). "Court documents reveal Jared Fogle's sordid secret life". IndyStar.
  16. ^ "Subway Plans to Close 500 U.S. Stores, Build Global Reach". Bloomberg. April 25, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Forbes Richest Americans". September 19, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  18. ^ Kaja Whitehouse (August 28, 2015). "Franchisee: Subway execs knew about Jared Fogle's interest in children". USAToday.
  19. ^ Maria Mercedes Lara (August 30, 2015). "Subway Claims Their Management Team Was Not Alerted About Former Franchisee's Claims That Jared Fogle Admitted to Having Sex with Minors". People Magazine.
  20. ^ "Franchise Brands". February 19, 2009. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  21. ^ "Subway Got Too Big. Franchisees Paid a Price". The New York Times. June 28, 2019.
  22. ^ ""What Subway's Record-Breaking Year Means for Franchising"".
  23. ^ "Ranking the Top 50 Fast-Food Chains in America". QSR. May 2020.
  24. ^ "Subway continued closing locations last year". Restaurant Business.
  25. ^ "Subway sandwich co-founder has leukemia". NBC News. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  26. ^ "Subway co-founder attends meeting mid leukemia battle". New York Post. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  27. ^ "Subway Co-Founder, CEO Fred DeLuca Dies at 67". Bloomberg News. September 15, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  28. ^ Juliano, Frank (December 3, 2015). "Subway founder is honored for lifetime achievements". Connecticut Post.

External links[edit]