Jim Delligatti, Big Mac Inventor at McDonald’s Chain, Dies at 98
Jim Delligatti, a McDonald’s Corp. franchisee who in 1967 introduced the Big Mac sandwich that quickly spread throughout the world’s biggest restaurant chain, has died. He was 98.He died Nov. 28 in Pittsburgh, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said in an e-mailed statement.
After Delligatti started selling the Big Mac in his Uniontown, Pennsylvania, franchise, McDonald’s introduced it nationally in 1968. On the product’s 40th anniversary, the company said it was selling 550 million Big Macs a year. The sandwich – two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions in a sesame seed bun – hasn’t changed. The chain is experimenting with Sriracha Big Macs, as well as small and large versions for its menu.
Delligatti never revealed his recipe for the special sauce. “If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret,” he said in a 1993 interview with Bloomberg News. Big Macs are sold in more that 100 countries around the world.
McDonald’s was initially reluctant to embrace the Big Mac, according to Delligatti. “They felt they had everything they needed at the time,” he said. After franchisees in Toledo, Ohio, embraced the new product, the company introduced the Big Mac nationwide.
Dellgatti was also instrumental in introducing breakfast service at the chain, including hotcakes and sausages he fed to hungry steelworkers on their way home from Pittsburgh-area steel mills, according to a family obituary. He owned more than 40 McDonald’s locations in western Pennsylvania.
Hey, the inventor lived to 98, how bad could it be?