No Sub-Stitute

Sharp Focus

But whether his attention is focused on international waters or operations at home, DeLuca's role within Subway's Milford, Connecticut-based organization remains the same. "My job is to lead the organization so it can be competitive in the future," he says. "I have to make sure the ship is always heading in the right direction."

Sometimes, he admits, this includes some rather unusual roles. While traveling in Georgia recently, DeLuca unexpectedly had some extra time on his hands. So he decided to rent a car for the week and drive across four states-stopping at every Subway store along the way. "My mission was to go in unannounced, buy a sandwich, review the operation, and eat the sandwich." He laughingly recalls, "I ate Subway morning, noon and night."

Aside from gaining a few pounds (and finding out most Subway employees don't recognize him), DeLuca also gained some rather invaluable information. After each stop, he shared his observations with franchisees, development agents and employees via Subway's 1,400-person voice-mail system. His personal store reviews were so well-received-and so informative-that DeLuca plans to continue the routine. "A tour like this is really eye-opening," he says. "While you see some great operations, you also see some terrible weaknesses."

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Sub-Stitute.

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