Jim Delligatti, the inventor of Big Mac, the signature product of McDonalds and owner of one of its oldest and biggest franchises in Pennsylvania, passed away at the age of 98 on Monday, 27 February 2017, in his home in Fox Chapel, Pa. Interestingly, Delligatti continued to eat one Big Mac every day till his death at the advanced age of 98, which is an exceptional testimony to the man’s legacy as inventor of the 500 plus calorie Big Mac. Because, most people don’t live that long no matter they eat a Big Mac every day or not.
Today, McDonalds sells over 550 million Big Macs every year in the United States alone and millions more across 100 countries worldwide. The numbers keep growing every year and yet, like many other mega brands today, Big Mac very nearly didn’t make it because Delligatti had first chosen Big Mc as the name for this heavy duty burger. Somehow, he didn’t like the name for his creation because it didn’t sound right to him, and chose Big Mac instead. The rest is history as Big Mac became a bestseller not just in the US but also across the world.
It would have been great if Jim Delligatti had lived a couple of months longer this year to see his beloved Big Mac turn 50, as 1967 was the year when it all began. That year in the month of April, Delligatti finally got his way with Big Mac, a project he had proposed to McDonalds after sizing up demand for something fitting the description of Big Mac in his hometown in Pittsburg, Pa. His main customer base comprised men who worked in the steel mills of Pittsburg, who needed wholesome and nutritious food at prices they could afford.
Despite meeting stiff resistance from insiders in McDonalds after he proposed Big Mac, Delligatti persisted till Ray Kroc, the McDonalds chief at that time, gave the go ahead. Delligatti’s customers in Pittsburg just lapped up Big Mac with both hands and soon, all other outlets that he owned elsewhere in Pennsylvania, followed suit. Seeing the incredible response, McDonalds itself, rolled out Big Mac across the US in the very next year in 1968, calling it “a meal disguised as a sandwich.”