Western New York residents to enjoy 330,000 free Big Macs
The Big Mac sandwich - with its catchy jingle and elusive sauce recipe - is celebrating its 45th birthday this year. To honor this American icon, McDonald's restaurants across Western New York are planning a special party featuring a tasteful gift for thousands of Big Mac fans.
The festivities kick off on Friday, Aug. 23, when:
•Local McDonald's restaurants will begin a limited-time promotional offer: "Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun" for just $1.99.
•All McDonald's restaurants across Western New York will provide their first 100 customers over age 18 with a very special gift: One free Big Mac sandwich every week for a year. That's 330,000 free Big Macs.
Some historians credit the Russian Tartars, the first to eat ground beef, as the inspiration behind the modern-day hamburger. Others say it was German immigrants settling in Cincinnati during the early 1800s who first brought the "hamburger" to America from across the Atlantic.
Yet, few would argue that perhaps the biggest universal impact on the hamburger came from a Pittsburgh-area McDonald's franchisee named Jim "MJ" Delligatti. It was Delligatti who added lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and, most importantly, the "secret sauce," to create one of the world's best known hamburgers: The Big Mac.
Delligatti began test-marketing a seven-ingredient sandwich at his restaurant in Uniontown, Pa., in 1967. Customer response was so good, he soon introduced the sandwich at three more of his restaurants in Pittsburgh. The sandwich rolled-out nationally in 1968.
"Many local drive-ins were serving double-decker burgers at the time. So, to broaden our customer base, I decided to create one of my own. ... And I wanted it to be big!"
Consisting of two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun, the Big Mac quickly gained popularity and status as an American icon.
Perhaps Delligatti's most tasteful addition to the Big Mac was the famous secret sauce. Having worked in the restaurant business for a number of years, Delligatti was familiar with the typical Russian dressing used for many sandwiches. However, he knew the sauce for the Big Mac had to be something special.
"I would make the sauce in the restaurant by hand, mixing all the ingredients together myself. It was hard work, but the customers loved it," he recalled.
Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide, is credited with developing the famous "Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun" Big Mac advertising promotion, 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 bloopers.
Today, the Big Mac is sold in more than 100 countries around the world and has become as synonymous with McDonald's as the "Golden Arches." 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 more than 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 is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with 34,500-plus locations serving more than 69 million customers in more than 100 countries each day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women.
For more information about McDonald's, visit http://www.mcdonaldswny.com, or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.