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The History of the McDonald’s Big Mac

McDonald’s franchisee Jim Delligatti created the sandwich that would become known as the Big Mac at his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania McDonald’s in 1967. Delligatti thought it was important for McDonald’s to offer a sandwich “geared toward adults” and created the now-iconic burger in order to compete with another local fast-food chain called Eat’n Park, which sold a “Big Boy” sandwich aimed at adult customers. Delligatti’s burger debuted on April 22, 1967 and featured a two patties with a bun in between them, a slice of cheese, lettuce, onions, and a secret “special sauce.” Just one year later, McDonald’s decided to roll Delligatti’s burger out nationwide and wanted to give it a special name. The Big Mac got its iconic moniker from a 21-year-old secretary named Esther Glickstein Rose. She worked in the company’s advertising department and when she suggested the name, executive and employees reportedly laughed at it. However, it stuck and went on to become one of the most iconic product names of all time. Glickstein Rose wrote to the chain many times asking them to give her credit for inventing the name, but it wasn’t until 1985 that she was finally recognized with a plaque engraved with a Big Mac and a thank-you note. (She did not ask for and did not receive any monetary compensation for coming up with the name.) When the Big Mac was first rolled out across the United States, it sold for a mere 45 cents. Advertising campaigns emphasized the new menu item’s size and referred to it as “a meal disguised as a sandwich.” The Big Mac quickly went on to become a smash hit and today, it is estimated that a staggering 900 million Big Macs are sold each year worldwide.

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