DEI's co-founders, Peter Sr. and Lucy DiPasqua, were living in the small town of Brookfield, Connecticut. At the time, Peter Sr. was a barber and employed his youngest son, Peter Jr. Through a conversation with one of his customers, he learned about a local sandwich shop franchise called SUBWAY. His interest peeked even more when the customer indicated that the initial investment was around $20,000 and that the potential seemed unlimited. Because Subway’s home office was close by, Peter Sr. decided to visit and meet Fred DeLuca, Subway’s President and Co-founder. They immediately hit it off. He then sent Pete Jr to the local Subway restaurant to get a job and a better understanding of store operations.
With plans to expand nationwide, SUBWAY seemed to be the perfect fit, so they purchased their first franchise. They invested their life-savings of $20,000 and along with $2,000 from Pete Jr., opened their first location on East Colonial Drive in Orlando, FL in April of 1977. Once they felt they understood the business, plans were put in place to open more locations and they became SUBWAY's first multi-unit franchisee.
Today’s present owners, Peter DiPasqua Jr., his sister Lynn and her husband, Jeff Ganssle, managed the first three restaurants enabling Peter Sr. and Lucy to focus on growth. By the beginning of 1980, the DiPasqua group had five locations open.
Growth and Leadership
In 1986, Lucy DiPasqua assumed the title of President and Peter Jr. was promoted to CEO. At that time, there were 12 locations in operation. Throughout the eighties and nineties, SUBWAY experienced explosive growth and DEI kept pace as well. By 1990, the company had 20 locations open and then catapulted to 30 restaurants in 11 months time. Jeff Ganssle was promoted that year to Director of Operations. In 2005, Peter Jr. assumed the role of President, Jeff as Chief Operations Officer and Lucy as Chairman.
Along with the varied benefits already being offered, DEI added profit sharing in 1992 and a 401K plan in 1997. Since then, DEI has contributed close to $4 million in their employee’s accounts. Growth has continued at a steady pace with over 110 restaurants open today and projections for 150 locations and $100 million in annual revenue by 2020.
In September of 2013, Dr. Kimberly Brooks, a 15-year DEI employee, was promoted to President. She is the fourth president in our history and the first non-family member to assume the role.
Today, with nearly 1,100 people on our team, we proudly live the values that have been instilled in us by our founders.