Published: Mon, December 05, 2016
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Big Mac creator dies at 98


Delligatti, who opened the first McDonald's in western Pennsylvania in 1957, owned about a dozen franchises in the Pittsburgh area by the mid-1960s, but he struggled to compete with the Big Boy and Burger King chains. "Jim, we thank and will forever remember you", the company said.

The chain has since gone on to sell billions of Big Macs in more than 100 countries since.

Michael "Jim" Delligatti invented the famous sandwich in 1967 where it was trialled in Uniontown, Pa., south of Pittsburgh, and sold for just 45 cents. He saw the dressing - often described as Thousand Island with a few twists - as the critical ingredient, the "big thing" that would distinguish his double-decker sandwich from culinary forebears.

The contents of the sandwich, immortalised by the popular jingle "two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun" are generally the same worldwide, although prices and nutrition value varies.

Delegatti was also instrumental in coming up with the breakfast menu.

"Delligatti...never dreamed his 1968 "invention" would become a major piece of Americana", McDonald's said in 2008.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the number of millennials who report having eaten a Big Mac. "The bulb was already there".

We thought now would be a good time to look at Big Macs around the world... Are you a fan of the McDonald's Big Mac?

McDonald's spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed Wednesday that Delligatti died at home surrounded by his family Monday night. In addition to his two sons, he is survived by his wife, Ellie, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Delligatti first served the oversized burger in 1967 at a McDonald's franchise in Uniontown. After serving in World War II, he moved to California and worked in several drive thru restaurant.

Delligatti's creation has become an enduring icon, arguably as recognizable as Ronald McDonald himself. Even so, Delligatti's initiative helped launch McDonald's signature item.

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