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13 Things You Didn’t Know About Subway

No matter where you go, it always seems like a Subway isn’t far away, beckoning you with its unique and semi-bizarre smell, its seasonal offerings, and its guarantee that whatever you order will taste exactly the same as it did the last time you ordered it, whether it was in Mexico City; Braga, Portugal; or Peoria, Ill. And while we might think that we’ve learned all there is to know about the world’s most ubiquitous fast-food chain, there are many things you’d be surprised to learn about the company.

While today it’s the world’s largest restaurant operator, Subway began as a single, humble sandwich shop, opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, Conn.

Called Pete’s Super Submarines, it was renamed Subway in 1968, and as the founders built out their franchise plan they created a parent company, called Doctor’s Associates Inc. (this odd moniker apparently came about because one founder had a doctorate in physics and the other was hoping to go to medical school).

The chain expanded rapidly, and continues to expand. Its $5 Footlongs, willingness to ride the zeitgeist with trendy items like Sriracha, consistency, and ubiquity help keep it top-of-mind, and the fact that it sells legitimately healthy sandwiches makes it, in many people’s minds, a healthier alternative to burger-based chains.

But for all we think we might know about Subway, there are a lot of interesting bits of info out there that you might not have realized. For example, did you know that its founder, Fred DeLuca, started the company when he was only 17 years old?


1) Fred DeLuca

Founder Fred DeLuca created Subway in 1965, when he was 17 years old, with a $1,000 loan from a family friend named Peter Buck.


2) The BMT

In keeping with the “subway” theme, the BMT sandwich was named after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system, one of the original New York subway lines. Today, we know it as “Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest,” with pepperoni, salami, and ham.


3) Veggie Patty

There’s a vegetable-based patty available regionally, and it’s is actually made mostly of soy, mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, carrots, green and red bell peppers, black olives, brown rice, and soy sauce.


4) That Smell

All Subways smell the same. Apparently, this is because all Subways use the same bread. They are sent to all franchises frozen and the shops thaw them out before baking them behind the counter. It is hinted that the caramelization smell of the sugar has something to do with the distinct smell, but it’s still a mystery what makes this particular bread smell so unique.


5) Combos

There are about 2 million possible sandwich combinations.


6) Size

Subway is currently the largest chain in the world, and has even surpassed McDonald’s.


7) Jared

The first sandwich that Jared Fogle ever ordered was a 6-inch turkey sub without cheese and mayo. He would eat that and a full-length veggie sub for dinner, with a bag of baked chips and a diet soda. The key was no oil, cheese, or mayo


8) Servings Per Minute

Subway serves nearly 2,800 salads and sandwiches per minute. All of those sandwiches placed end to end could wrap around the entire Earth over six times.


9) Secret Menu

Subway has secret menu items, or at least combinations you can create that are super-creative, like a chicken cordon bleu sub, breakfast taco flatbread, tuna melt, and grilled cheese with tomato.


10) 1 World Trade Center

When 1 World Trade Center was being built back in 2010, Subway opened a restaurant for workers who were involved in rebuilding the tower. The shop opened in a movable pod and rose up along with the building as it grew.


11) Southern California Special

In Southern California, Subway has a Rainy Deal Special, where customers receive a free 6-inch sub and hot soup with the purchase of a sub and 32-ounce drink if it’s raining out.


12) Special Bread Cut

You can customize the way your sandwich is cut and prepared. If you say “old cut,” the sandwich maker digs into the sandwich as opposed to slicing it. You could also ask for the “wing effect,” which means part of the meat will hang out from the sandwich, creating a “wing.”


13) They Cater

Subway does catering, and the sandwiches are brought out as Giant Subs. They come in either 3 feet (18 portions) or 6 feet (36 portions).



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