DANBURY, Connecticut. Peter Buck, whose 1965 investment in a family friend’s sandwich shop in Connecticut totaled $ 1,000, which marked the beginning of the death of the world’s largest restaurant chain, Subway. He was 90.
Buck, a nuclear physicist born in Portland, Maine, in 1930, passed away on November 18 at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, Subway said in a statement. The cause of his death was not disclosed.
At 17, family friend Fred DeLuca asked Buck how he could make some money to pay for college. Buck’s answer? Open a sandwich shop.
In 1965, he and DeLuca opened Pete’s Super Submarines in Bridgeport, where the most expensive sandwich sold for 69 cents.
The duo changed their name to “Subway” three years later and decided to turn it into a network through franchising – a move that ultimately made them both billionaires. Forbes estimated Buck’s net worth at $ 1.7 billion. DeLuca died in 2015 at the age of 67.
Subway says it currently has over 40,000 locations worldwide, including McDonald’s and Starbucks.
“We haven’t made a profit for 15 years,” Buck told The Wall Street Journal in 2014.
When asked if he ever thought the network would get that big, he told the newspaper, “Well, I always thought we were going to get bigger and bigger, but I really didn’t mean a specific number.”
As a physicist, Buck was hired by General Electric in 1957 to work at a laboratory in Schenectady, New York, and worked on nuclear power plants for submarines and ships of the US Navy. He later worked for United Nuclear in White Plains, New York, and Nuclear Energy Services in Danbury, where he settled, according to an obituary prepared by his family.
He has also been involved in charity work, making significant donations to many organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, to which in 2004 he donated a 23-carat ruby named after his late second wife, Carmen Lucia Buck.