Peter Buck, co-founder of the Subway sandwich chain, has died
Danbury, Conn. — Peter Buck, whose 1965 $1,000 investment in a family friend’s Connecticut sandwich shop that now provides the origins for the world’s largest restaurant chain — Subway — has died. He was 90 years old.
Buck, a nuclear physicist born in Portland, Maine, in 1930, died on November 18 at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, Subway said in a statement. The cause of his death was not disclosed.
At age 17, family friend Fred DeLuca asked Buck how he could earn some money to help pay for college. Buck’s answer? Open a sandwich shop.
In 1965, he and DeLuca opened “Pe’s Super Submarine” in Bridgeport, with the most expensive sandwich selling for 69 cents.
The two changed the name to “Subway” three years later and decided to turn it into a series by franchising – a move that would eventually make both of them billionaires. Forbes estimated Buck’s net worth at $1.7 billion. Deluca died in 2015 at the age of 67.
Subway says it now has more than 40,000 locations worldwide, topping McDonald’s and Starbucks.
“We haven’t made a profit for 15 years,” Buck told The Wall Street Journal in 2014.
Asked if he ever thought the series would become that big, he told the newspaper, “Well, I always thought we’d get bigger and bigger, but I didn’t really have a definite number in mind.”
As a physicist, Buck was hired by General Electric in 1957 at a laboratory in Schenectady, New York, and worked on nuclear power plants for the US Navy’s submarines and ships. He later worked for United Nuclear in White Plains, New York, and Nuclear Energy Services in Danbury, where he made his home, according to an obituary prepared by his family.
He also did philanthropy, making significant donations to a number of organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, for which he donated a 23-carat ruby named after his late second wife, Carmen Lucia Buck, in 2004.