How a Rogue McDonald’s Franchisee Invented the Big Mac and Changed Fast Food Forever

The double-decker sandwich that fueled the fast-food industry

Delligatti was going to call his creation the “Big Mc,” but that didn’t sound right, so he opted for “Big Mac” instead. Todd Huffman

Jim Delligatti was frustrated. It was 1967, and Delligatti had been running a McDonald’s franchise for eight years. His market was Pittsburgh, and his bread-and-butter customers—men trudging to and from the steel mills—brought huge appetites in the door. But all Delligatti had for them was a regular cheeseburger. That’s when he decided to experiment a little. He put two beef patties into a new burger, adding lettuce, pickles and onions, plus a center bun to stabilize the thing. Finally, he added a “special sauce”—Thousand Island dressing, some have chided, though the recipe remains a secret. Delligatti was going to call his creation the “Big Mc,” but that didn’t sound right, so he opted for “Big Mac” instead.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 27, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@UpperEastRob robert.klara@adweek.com Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.
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