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A Tall Order

How Subway landed a franchise atop the steel frame of Manhattan's Freedom Tower

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This story appears in the April 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

During the past two decades, Subway sandwich shops have popped up in almost every imaginable location, from gas stations to college dorms to the country of Oman. Now the ubiquitous chain is daring to go where no franchise has gone before--the stratosphere. Or at least the part that will be touched by Manhattan's Freedom Tower, destined to be the tallest office building in the United States when it tops out at 1,776 Footlongs.

As the building rises story by story above ground zero, Bill Grutta, vice president of operations for DCM Erectors, the company putting up the massive steel frame, estimates it could eventually take as long as 45 minutes for the building's 200 ironworkers and 1,500 to 1,800 tradesmen to ride the three separate elevators needed to reach the ground--and lunch. That's why the New York-based construction company solicited bids for a restaurant to operate at the top of the work site. Subway's bid beat out eight others, and the company put Manhattan franchisee Richard Schragger in charge of the skyline sandwich shop.

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