The ‘Legendary Franchisee’ Who Invented The Big Mac Has Died

Image courtesy of rob_rob2001

While you might want to believe that Ronald McDonald cooked up the first Big Mac, McDonald’s signature sandwich was in fact created by a Pittsburgh-area franchisee who had the earth-shattering idea of stacking two patties and buns into a single sandwich that would fill the bellies of his super-hungry customers. Now we bring you the sad news that this visionary franchisee has passed away.

Michael James “Jim” Delligatti — who started selling the Big Mac locally in 1967 before it went national the next year — didn’t live to celebrate the 50th birthday of his creation, but he did live to the age of 98. His son claims that he kept eating Big Macs more or less weekly for decades, which is probably not a longevity secret that other people should try.

According to the Associated Press, Delligatti owned 47 McDonald’s franchises around Pennsylvania. The McDonald’s menu was pretty simple at the time, something that current franchisees probably long for. Local customers wanted a bigger sandwich than a plain burger, and he listened. The chain resisted complicating the menu at first, but eventually added the popular burger stack to its menu. It became a signature item, and the company is even adding both larger and smaller versions to its menu as a limited-time offering.

As if that weren’t enough, Delligatti was also one of the early franchisees to create a fast food breakfast menu including hotcakes and sausages, originally meant for for night-shift steelworkers looking for breakfast food after their work day. In a statement, McDonald’s described him as a “legendary franchisee within McDonald’s system.”

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