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The History of the McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

Herb Peterson, the owner and operator of a Santa Barbara McDonald’s location, thought McDonald’s needed a unique product for a breakfast menu. In 1971, he tried making a version of eggs Benedict, but decided that packaged Hollandaise sauce wasn’t a viable option, so he replaced the sauce with a slice of cheese and added a slice of Canadian bacon. He also used Teflon rings to create a rounded shape for the eggs that would mimic the circular English muffin he wanted to serve them on. Then he called McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc to come take a look at something, but he didn’t tell him exactly what it was out of fear that Kroc would reject the radical new concept — the first McDonald’s breakfast sandwich — out of hand. In 1972, Peterson presented Kroc with his creation: a circular egg on top of an open-faced English muffin dressed with a slice of cheese and grilled Canadian bacon. According to his own autobiography, Kroc was skeptical of the concept when it was first revealed, but was sold as soon as he took a bite because he thought it was so tasty! Patty Turner, the wife of a McDonald’s executive, created the name for the new sandwich: the Egg McMuffin. The delicious taste and unique moniker helped the sandwich achieve success when it was released to test markets in 1973; it retailed for 63 cents. The rollout of the Egg McMuffin was completed in 1975 and helped kick-start the entire fast-food breakfast market. Today, the Egg McMuffin remains a beloved McDonald’s breakfast menu item with fans all over the world.

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