The Creator of McDonald’s Big Mac Has Died at 98
The man who gave the world the McDonald's Big Mac has passed away.
Michael James "Jim" Delligatti, a franchisee for the iconic restaurant, invented the equally iconic burger in 1967 with ingredients that became its own catch phrase ("two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun"). He died Monday in his Pittsburgh home.
Delligatti, who owned a McDonald's just outside of Pittsburgh, came up with the sandwich because he thought customers wanted something big to eat. Despite the chain's initial reluctance to add something more complex than a simple burger, it quickly caught on and joined Mickey D's menus across the nation one year later. On the sandwich's 40th anniversary, McDonald's said it a Big Mac was sold every 17 seconds.
Amazingly, Delligatti never received any royalties or extra payment for the Big Mac.
His son, Michael, said, "He was often asked why he named it the Big Mac, and he said because Big Mc sounded too funny."
Delligatti certainly never tired of his creation. His son said he spent decades eating a Big Mac on a weekly basis.
McDonald's paid tribute to him by saying, "Delligatti was a legendary franchisee within McDonald's system who made a lasting impression on our brand," adding the Big Mac "has become an iconic sandwich enjoyed by many around the world."
Delligatti's legacy will live on, even outside of McDonald's. That's because his family opened a Big Mac museum.
Delligatti's impact on the chain wasn't limited to hamburgers, either -- his family says he had a hand in making breakfast an option for customers, too, when he introduced hotcakes and sausage for steelworkers wrapping up their graveyard shifts.