Jim “MJ” Delligatti, 89, who invented McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich in 1967, was honored at a private opening of the Big Mac Museum Restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pa.
Over the last 40 years, the Big Mac sandwich — with its catchy jingle and elusive sauce recipe — has solidified itself as a permanent fixture on the American landscape.
McDonald’s today honored the sandwich that long ago joined baseball and apple pie as an indelible symbol of American pop-culture.
Jim “MJ” Delligatti, 89, one of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc’s earliest franchisees, invented the Big Mac in his Uniontown, Pa. restaurant and introduced it for 45 cents in 1967. Consisting of two 100% all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun, the Big Mac quickly gained popularity and was introduced on the national menu in 1968.
“Forty years ago, I would never have dreamed that my creation would turn into a piece of Americana,” said Delligatti. “Adult customers at the time were looking for a sandwich made just for them. I gave them what they wanted and now I’m celebrating the anniversary of a true icon.”
To commemorate the anniversary, Delligatti and his family officially opened the doors to the McDonald’s Big Mac Museum Restaurant — “the most tasteful museum in the world” — today in North Huntingdon, Pa. at 9061 Route 30. The combo museum/restaurant features the world’s largest Big Mac statue (measuring 14 feet high and 12 feet wide), and hundreds of historic artifacts and high-tech exhibits that celebrate the Big Mac.
“It might surprise people to know that some of our most enduring products and programs have come through our network of Owner/Operators and Suppliers,” said Jim Skinner, Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Corporation. “Forty years ago, Jim Delligatti set the precedent for creative thinking and partnership that led to development of other well-known McDonald’s menu items.”
Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, and his creative group at Needham Harper & Steers developed the famous Big Mac advertising promotion, “Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun” in 1974. The jingle gained notoriety when Max Cooper, a Birmingham, Ala. McDonald’s franchisee, developed a “man-on-the-street” promotion that rewarded customers who could recite the jingle correctly in four seconds or less with a free Big Mac. Those who faltered ended up in a local radio commercial in 1974 featuring the jingle “bloopers.”
Today, approximately 550 million Big Mac sandwiches are sold each year in America alone. Japan sells the second most Big Mac sandwiches worldwide at approximately 150 million per year. The sandwich is sold in over 100 countries and, because of its global presence, inspired The Economist Magazine’s “Big Mac Index,” an annual comparison of foreign currency values against the U.S. dollar.
McDonald’s USA, LLC is the leading foodservice provider in the United States serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. More than 80 percent of McDonald’s 13,700 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees. For more information about McDonald’s visit http://www.mcdonalds.com .
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