Fast-food guru

Cre­ator of McDon­ald’s iconic Big Mac dies at 98

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

You prob­a­bly don’t know his name, but you’ve al­most cer­tainly de­voured his cre­ation: two all-beef pat­ties, spe­cial sauce, let­tuce, cheese, pick­les, onions, on a se­same seed bun.

Michael James “Jim” Delligatti, the McDon­ald’s fran­chisee who cre­ated the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago and saw it be­come per­haps the best­known fast-food burger in the world, died on Mon­day at home in Pitts­burgh. Delligatti, who ac­cord­ing to his son ate at least one 540-calo­rie Big Mac a week for decades, was 98.

Delligatti’s fran­chise was based in Union­town, not far from Pitts­burgh, when he in­vented the chain’s sig­na­ture burger in 1967 af­ter de­cid­ing cus­tomers wanted a big­ger sand­wich. De­mand ex­ploded as Delligatti’s sand­wich spread to the rest of his 47 stores in Pennsylvania and was added to the chain’s na­tional menu 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.

McDon­ald’s has sold bil­lions of Big Macs since then, in more than 100 coun­tries. 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.

In ad­di­tion to his two sons, Jim Delligatti is sur­vived by his wife, El­lie, five grand­chil­dren and eight great-grand­chil­dren.

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