Subway has been the go-to fast-food restaurant for healthier food options like sandwiches, salads, and wraps. Interestingly enough, the dining chain traces its origins to being founded by a medical student and a doctoral candidate, which might explain the health-conscious options.How Old is Subway?The Subway chain of restaurants is now 56 years old, having been originally founded . From being an entrepreneurial effort to pay for the founders’ tuition to becoming the world’s largest food chain, here’s everything you need to know about Subway’s fresh and fast history.
How Subway Started?
A lot of people might not know it, but Subway traces its origins to a pair of friends from Connecticut and a $1,000 loan. If you’re curious as to the iconic subs’ history, let’s take a look at how two doctors set off this massive global franchise.
From Pete’s Super Submarines to just Subway
In 1965, medical student Fred DeLuca teamed up with his friend Peter Buck, then a doctoral student in physics, to establish Pete’s Super Submarines in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Then, in 1966, the two created the business Doctor’s Associates Inc., which oversees the expanding Pete’s Super Submarines. It is important to note, however, that it’s not a medical organization of any sort–the name came from their goal of paying for their respective educations, both of which will earn them the title doctor.
One year after Pete’s Super Submarine, the name became shortened to “Pete’s Subway.” Two years later in 1968, the founders also dropped “Pete’s” and rebranded their fast food as simply “Subway.” As the submarine restaurant became popular, they went with the next business step: opening the first Subway franchise in 1974. The first franchise branch was in Wallingford, Connecticut, and would expand to a total of 16 branches in rapid succession. By the next year, Subway was outside Connecticut with another branch in Massachusetts.
On the road to global expansion
Over the following years, Subway would continue expanding with more branches. It reached the West Coast with a Fresno, California branch in 1978. By 1981, the sandwich store already has more than 200 stores all across North America. A couple of years later, De Luca and Buck’s franchise would extend to other continents: Bahrain in the Middle East in 1984 and in the United Kingdom in 1996.
As of June 2021, Subway operates across more than a hundred territories, all of them independently owned by their franchisees. It has become the world’s largest fast-food chain around the world with almost 38,000 branches, followed by McDonald’s at a little over 36,000.
The Logo we all know and love
The iconic Subway logo which features an arrowhead on the lower end of the ‘S’ and the upper right end of the ‘Y’ traces its origins back to the 1967 branch that carried the name “Pete’s Subway.” Since then, it has undergone a few changes, retaining the very typography and the directional arrow that has helped cement its image around the world.
From 2002 up until 2016, the logo featured the word subway in white and yellow colors, wrapped in a dark green border. During this period, the brand saw rapid global expansion, which still makes this logo the most recognizable among all its brand images.
By 2016, Subway opted for a more minimalist yet symbolic look. Still the brand name with the now-iconic arrows, the syllables are now colored in yellow and green and without the borders. Upon its release, said that it reflects the array of fresh ingredients used in every store. The color choices also reference the aesthetics of the mid-60s when the fast-food chain was first established.
Submarines Around The World
Subway got its name from its core product: the submarine sandwich, or sub for short. A local subway store that went wildly successful in their hometown drove Peter Buck to suggest a similar restaurant to Fred DeLuca, lending him $1,000 to start their life-changing effort together.
As its main offering, there have been certain regional varieties of these sandwiches, together with other menu items such as muffins, salads, pastries, and wraps. In 2006, the franchise saw its first kosher restaurant branch in the Mandel Jewish Community Center. It offers no pork and uses soy-based cheese instead of the convention cow milk-based products.
Other parts of the world also have access to sandwiches that cater to the local palate. This includes the following local sandwiches:
- Australia’s Wagyu Beef Sub, which uses premium-quality beef known for its unique marbling.
- Japan’s Ice Plant Veggie boasts in-house produce grown in their participating stores’ hydroponic gardens, creating extra crispy and slightly salty vegetables.
- Brazil’s Smoked Chicken and Cream Cheese replaces the usual chicken sandwich and mayo combo.
- South Africa features its Peri Peri Chicken subs, with chicken strips seasoned with chili peppers and drizzles with an African-style sauce.
- Sweden Subways have a menu item called the Skagenrora sub, which contains a combination of seafood with a dash of lemon, herbs, and spices.
- Some countries use their unique cheeses such as the Indian paneer for their Paneer Tikka Sub and the grilled or fried sheep and goat milk for the Halloumi Sub only available in Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, Subway branches in the US only require certain types of bread, topping, cheese, and sauce materials to be present. As for the rest, owners and managers are free to choose the products they like. For example, depending on the branch you visit, you might have the choice between Rosemary & Sea Salt, Jalapeño Cheese, or Parmesan Oregano slices of bread. For cheese, the only standard variants are American and Monterey Cheddar. You can see for you
Throughout its 56-year history, Subway has definitely come a long way–from being a local Connecticut sandwich chain to being a global franchise that offers custom menu items to suit each of its local markets. Despite the food choices that come and go, its commitment to the use of fresh and healthy ingredients has remained the brand’s main selling point. If you’re looking for a quick and healthy meal to go, Subway will always be among the top choices, wherever you are in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
1.How many branches does Subway have in the US and around the world?
A.As of June 2021, there are 37,540 Subway locations around the world. More than half of it, or 21,796 branches, are in the United States
2.Why are there arrows on the Subway logo?
A.The arrows signify the entrance and exit of the original Pete’s Subway store, selling their subs as the food for people on the go.
3.Where is the main Subway headquarters?
A.The international HQ is located in Milford, Connecticut.