Subway’s Fred DeLuca & The Simple Way

Fred DeLuca simple mindset

An entrepreneur never has to be the way we think he or she should. In fact, almost every start-up story is different. The one common ground they usually share, however, is that they have a fairly limitless mindset with a dose of simplicity. In other words, they don’t think things are that difficult or impossible. That mindset alone allows their visions to come to pass. In a world of human beings who try to always make things more complex and confusing than it is, we need to remember that simplicity is the secret. It’s all so simple.

The start-up of Subway, which is a franchise bigger than McDonald’s, began with an initial investment of $1,000 dollars. Fred DeLuca borrowed from a family friend to open up a sub shop to pay his way through school to become a medical doctor, all at the age of 17. Dr. Peter Buck lent the money and they cemented a partnership. Even though the first spot struggled, they quickly opened up a second location, which began facing short term struggles too. Where most would have given up, they did the unthinkable, open up a third location. 3 was a charm and it began to swindle in the opposite direction!


“Oh, my gosh, we kind of know what we’re doing here. I wonder what the possibilities are?” – Fred DeLuca


Goal setting is so important, and then believing in that goal to come to pass is even more crucial. Simple, they decided they wanted 32 locations by 10 years. They had 16 locations but they quickly realized they wouldn’t have the 32 in time. Being bold and determined, they came to the conclusion they needed to franchise in order for that vision to happen according to plan. Once they reached their first mission, they decided they could totally do what McDonald’s did and they decided to aim for 5,000 by 1994. As big as the goals sound to us, they were fairly simple in Fred’s mind, who was the only one who needed to believe it was easy. The next goal he had was 8,000 stores by 1995. They blew it out the waters and achieved 10,000 locations by 95. In fact, Fred began to get experimental and tried a few other franchises in Cajun Joe’s, We Care Hair, and Q Burger.


“We thought, Well, this isn’t very hard. But there’s nothing very complicated about renting a piece of property and building out a store. The key thing is that the store itself needs certain fundamentals that are working.” – Fred DeLuca


Today, with over 37,000 locations, Subway is the most successful business model in the world for franchisers. And the simplistic approach from the creator down to its franchisors is the secret. Their business model slogan is cliché but it works, KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. And inside each and every Subway, it’s obvious to notice that simplicity is their motto from the value, consistency to the way the sandwiches are quickly efficiently made. It’s not rocket science, it’s simple.

In fact, Fred DeLuca always had this easy breezy mindset, even way back in his youth when he delivered newspapers. He serviced 95 of 108 customers and realized “I have to sell to these people because it doesn’t take any more time to drop the papers in front of these doors-I’m walking by anyway”.


The Subway Simple way:

From the beginning, Fred has had a clear vision for the future of the SUBWAY® brand. As we continue to grow, we are guided by his passion for delighting customers by serving fresh, delicious, made-to-order sandwiches.



Here’s his inspiring book that teaches his simplistic ways:





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