It was the summer of 1965. Deluca, then 17, visited Peter Buck, a family friend. Buck asked Deluca about his plan for the future. “I’m going to college, but I need a way to pay for it,” Deluca recalls saying. “Buck said, ‘you should open a sandwich shop.’ ”
That afternoon, they agreed to be partners. And they set a goal: to open 32 stores in ten years. After doing some research, Buck wrote a check for $ 1,000. Deluca rented a storefront (店面) in
(C)nnecticut, and when they couldn’t cover their start-up costs,
(B)ck kicked in another $1,000.
But business didn’t go smoothly as they expected. Deluca says, “After six months, we were doing poorly, but we didn’t know how badly, because we didn’t have any financial controls.” All he and Buck knew was that their sales were lower than their costs.
Deluca was managing the store and to the University of Bidgeport at the same time. Buck was working at his day job as a nuclear physicist in New York. They’d meet Monday evenings and brainstorm ideas for keeping the business running. “We convinced ourselves to open a second store. We figured we could te ll the public,‘ We are so successful, we are opening a second store.’” And they did — in the spring of 1966. Still, it was a lot of learning by trial and error.
But the partners’ learn-as-you-go approach turned out to be their greatest strength. Every Friday, Deluca would drive around and hand-deliver the checks to pay their supplies. “It probably took me two and a half hours and it wasn’t necessary but as a result, the suppliers got to know me very well, and the personal relationships established really helped out,”Deluca says.
(A)d having a goal was also important. “There are so many problems that can get you down. You just have to keep working toward your goal,” Deluca adds.
Deluca ended up founding Subways Sandwich, the multimillion-dollar restaurant chain.