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Build-own-virtual Subway plays worldwide


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Fred DeLuca will grudgingly admit that yes, he is a big thing when he’s at the annual International Franchise Association convention. “But not elsewhere,” he adds.

Others may beg to differ. While at the Las Vegas convention in February, the founder of the more than 38,000-unit Subway sandwich chain visited the headquarters of another young founder, Tony Hsiesh of Zappos.com, a wildly successful online retailer known for its outstanding customer service. Hsiesh told DeLuca that after college he tried to open a Subway near Stanford University, but the city didn’t allow franchises, so he had to come up with Plan B. And what a Plan B it was. 

Jennifer Kushell & Fred DeLuca

Jennifer Kushell spent two years producing an educational DVD and game with Subway as a case study. “Sometimes I feel like a follower with Jennifer and her ideas,” Fred DeLuca quipped.

College students from around the world may be bitten by that very same bug to open a Subway. DeLuca teamed up with Jennifer Kushell, founder of Young & Successful Media, to produce a documentary and online business simulation game, The Subway Global Challenge: Build Your Own Virtual Subway Store. The 100-country challenge is the largest of its kind, DeLuca says, and necessitated pulling in their legal advisers, DLA Piper, to ensure no countries’ laws were violated.

The top five winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to the U.S. to meet DeLuca at Subway’s headquarters. Another 100 winners will have opportunities with the Subway brand around the world. For others, the six-week challenge, which ended March 31, is an introduction to business ownership for the young. DeLuca’s own rise to riches is a study in entrepreneurship. He started the chain at 17 with a loan from a family friend. 

Kushell interviewed 60 people at Subway to make the documentary and develop the case study for the instructional video. “Few companies have the resources to do this project,” Kushell says. “I got a Ph.D” researching how the company does everything from global expansion to sourcing to store operations.

To see a preview of the documentary “Subway Restaurants: How a 17-year-old Built the No. 1 Restaurant Chain in the World through Franchising,” go to http://bit.ly/SubwayStory.

 

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