How Big Boy Inspired McDonald's To Create The Big Mac

Some favorite fast food menu items seem like they've always been a part of a restaurant's history. In the earlier years, many iconic eateries may not have dedicated so much time to brainstorming, designing, and coming up with new possibilities and flavor profiles to keep menus up-to-date with current tastes and interests (via CTM Design Services). Nor was there a hefty marketing department, researching and studying market trends to maintain and entice new customers, as they do today.

Consider the Big Mac – two hamburger patties and all the delicious toppings. It seems like this sandwich has always been around, but you might be surprised to learn that this classic wasn't part of the initial offerings when McDonald's launched, per Mental Floss. The inspiration for this iconic sandwich later came from a competing burger chain and helped the Golden Arches establish itself as a leading fast food restaurant in every corner of the U.S.

The birth of the Big Mac was inspired by Big Boy

When it comes to the Big Mac, it may be hard to believe this sandwich hasn't always been on menus. According to Mental Floss, fans can thank Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's franchise owner in the Pittsburgh area, for this staple item. Delligatti noticed that a hamburger chain called Big Boy offered a sandwich with two meat patties and a double sliced sesame bun. According to John F. Love, author of "McDonald's: Behind The Arches," the franchise owner adapted Big Boy's burger that had lettuce, cheese, and sauce by adding pickles, onions, and his own version of the sauce (via AP News). "This wasn't like discovering the light bulb," Delligatti said in the book. "The bulb was already there. All I did was screw it in the socket."

Delligatti saw local blue-collar workers preferring a heftier burger provided by a competitor that wasn't available at his McDonald's franchises yet. He came to the conclusion he could attract more patrons and increase his profits if he adapted to their desire for a massive sandwich and thanks to this marketing move, the Big Mac now graces menus across the country.