The Pittsburgh-area McDonald’s franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago has died.
Michael ‘Jim’ Delligatti was 98.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed that Delligatti died at home surrounded by his family on Monday night.
According to his son, Delligatti ate at least one 540-calorie Big Mac a week for decades.
Delligatti’s franchise was based in Uniontown when in 1967 he invented the chain’s signature burger with two all-beef patties, ‘special sauce,’ lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s resisted the idea at first because its simple lineup of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and shakes was selling well.
But Delligatti wanted to offer a bigger burger and it went over so well it spread to the rest of Delligatti’s 47 stores, then went national in 1968.
"He was often asked why he named it the Big Mac, and he said because Big Mc sounded too funny,” his son Michael Delligatti said.
To Delligatti’s delight, the product was ‘an immediate success,’ adding that the recipe has not really changed in the 40 years.
When the burger turned 40, McDonald’s estimated it was selling 550 million Big Macs a year, or roughly 17 every second. Delligatti received no payment or royalties for coming up with the burger, the company said.