When 17-year-old Fred DeLuca decided he’d try to earn his college tuition by launching a sandwich shop, he and partner Peter Buck set a goal of opening 32 outlets in 10 years.
“We fell a little short,” DeLuca recalls 45 years later. “I think we had 24 open” by 1975.
It might’ve been the last time his brainchild, now known as Subway, would miss an expansion target. Last year, at a time when the restaurant industry appeared to be contracting, the chain grew by 1,153 units in the U.S. alone. That’s roughly an opening every eight hours.