“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.” Many Americans remember the TV jingle that listed the ingredients of a McDonald’s Big Mac. The popular double-decker sandwich has been around for half a century—the same as it ever was. And the company isn’t planning to mess with its most famous burger.
In 1967, Michael James “Jim” Delligatti lobbied the company to let him test what would become the Big Mac at his Pittsburgh restaurants. Later, Delligatti acknowledged the Big Mac’s similarity to a popular sandwich sold by the Big Boy chain. (Some critics claim the only difference is the “special sauce.”)
“This wasn’t like discovering the light bulb,” says Delligatti in Behind the Arches, a history of McDonald’s. “The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket.”
McDonald’s allowed Delligatti to sell the sandwich at one location—but he had to use the company’s standard bun. The wimpy roll flopped. Delligatti tried a bigger sesame seed bun. Boom! Sales rose by more than 12 percent, and the Big Mac was born.
The next year, McDonald’s added the Big Mac to the national menu. Fifty years later, it’s basically the same burger it was back then.
The “Golden Arches” has a massive global reach. McDonald’s cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, and french fries are popular worldwide. But on its U.S. home turf, trendy burger options and dietary concerns are luring many customers elsewhere. The company is working hard to keep up. Some McDonald’s restaurants now offer kale salads, fresh beef, and barista-style cafes—making the Big Mac’s long life especially notable.
Not many things in life stay the same: food fads, hairstyles, people—the list goes on. But the Bible says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) His sameness is rooted in His eternally perfect knowledge, character, and power. In an ever-changing world, that consistency comforts Christians.
Keeping the Big Mac unchanged comes with risks. Burger toppings like peanut butter, potato chips, mac and cheese, and fried eggs from newer chains such as Shake Shack and Red Robin might make the Big Mac seem outdated. On the other hand, maybe those odd-sounding trends make the famous burger seem classically appealing.
Mike Delligatti, son of the Big Mac inventor, asks, “What iconic sandwich do you know that can beat the Big Mac as far as longevity?” Not one. The seven-very-ordinary-ingredient Big Mac has stood the taste test of time.