Frederick James Matthew DeLuca
October 3, 1947
|Died||September 14, 2015 (aged 67)|
|Alma mater||University of Bridgeport|
|Title||Founder / President of Subway (1965–2015)|
|Spouse(s)||Elisabeth (1966–2015; his death)|
|Children||2 (Jonathan Deluca, Luca Mattson)|
|Relatives||Suzanne 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
Fred DeLuca was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 3, 1947 to Italian American parents Carmela and Salvatore DeLuca. At the age of 10, DeLuca moved to Amsterdam, New York, where he and his family became friends with Peter Buck. Once in his teens, he moved with his family to Bridgeport, Connecticut. After succeeding in his business, DeLuca realized his dream to go to college and graduated from the University of Bridgeport.
In 1965, 17-year-old DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from family friend Dr. Peter Buck. This was after Buck suggested the idea to help DeLuca make money for college to study medicine. DeLuca's plan was to begin a "fast-food venture that provided a healthful, less fattening bill of fare". 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.
Early Years of Subway
With the help of his mother Carmela and Dr. Buck, the first shop opened on August 28, 1965, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 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." The third outlet was in a highly visible location and that location is still there today.
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. Every Monday, Dr. Buck would visit the DeLuca household and visit Carmela and Fred to discuss the Subway business. As time went on, they eventually turned to a franchising model which is when they saw their growth explode.
After reading an article about an Indiana man who lost 245 pounds eating Subway Sandwiches, Fred DeLuca  met Jared Fogle, bought him a new Mitsubishi Galant, and made him Subway's featured spokesman by 2000. After Fogle became Subway's spokesman, sales and store openings started to skyrocket.
A Subway Franchisee whistleblower named Cindy Mills came forward and alerted several high ranking Subway executives about Fogle's pedophilia and illicit sexual activity. 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.
During DeLuca's tenure, Subway grew to be the largest franchise in the world. 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. From 2015 to 2020, Subway had a net loss of thousands US stores, and remains the largest sandwich chain in the world.
DeLuca had homes in Milford, Connecticut, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and lived with his wife Elisabeth. His son, Jonathan, lives in Boca Raton, Florida. DeLuca adopted a child of Cindy Mattson, named Luca.
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. He also was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Connecticut Restaurant Association
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