The creator of the McDonald’s Big Mac, one of the most iconic burgers in the history of the food industry, has died. The New York Times reports that Jim Delligatti died Monday at his home in Fox Chapel, Pa. He was 98.
Delligatti was a McDonald’s franchise owner when he invented the double-deck burger back in 1967, introducing it first to patrons in Uniontown, Pa., south of Pittsburgh.
“Introduced by a local McDonald’s, it was called the Big Mac, and for 45 cents it delivered, as a 1970s jingle would have it, ‘two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun,'” The Times reports. “Response was positive. A year later, the Big Mac was on the menu at McDonald’s restaurants all over the United States. By 1969, it accounted for 19 percent of the company’s total sales. Today, the company sells about 550 million Big Macs annually in the United States alone, and millions more in 100 countries around the world.”
Delligatti had to lobby the company for a while before finally obtaining permission from McDonald’s for a limited test run of a double-patty hamburger using only McDonald’s ingredients.
“Two patties, etc., did not fit on a standard McDonald’s bun, so Mr. Delligatti went rogue, ordering a large sesame-seeded bun from a local baker. He split it in three and assembled the Big Mac as the world knows it today, with a special sauce of his own devising,” The Times reports. “It was introduced on April 22, 1967, with newspaper ads describing it as ‘made with two freshly ground patties, tangy melted cheese, crisp lettuce, pickle and our own Special Sauce.’”
The burger was an instant success.