NEW YORK – McDonald's struggles to keep clients while the Big Mac gets 50, but it does not change the ingredients of its most famous burger.
In 1968, the company celebrates the national launch of the biplane sandwich, whose ingredients include "two beef beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun" in a TV Jingle's American Memories. But the milestone comes as the company reduces its number of stores in the US. McDonald's said last week that customers visit less often. Other trendy burger options reach into the heartland.
The "Golden Arches" still have tremendous global reach, and McDonald's brand of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and fries can be seen around the world. But at its critical home game, the company strives to remain relevant. Kale now appears in salads, fresh has replaced Quarter Pounders' frozen beef patties, and some stores now offer order kiosks, food outlets, and barista-style cafes.
The Big Mac milestone shows how much McDonald's and the rest of Fast "It's clear we've gotten a bit more sophisticated in our menu development," said McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook in a telephone interview.
As with many of its popular and durable The idea for the Big Mac came from a franchisee.
"It was not like the discovery of the light bulb, the light bulb was already there, all I did was screw it into the socket," Delligatti said aloud, "Behind the Arches."
McDonald's agreed to have Delligatti sell the sandwich in a single location on condition that he used the company's standard bun. It did not work. Delligatti tried a larger sesame bun, and the burger soon raised sales by more than 12 percent.
Following similar results in more stores, the Big Mac was added to the national menu in 1968. Other ideas from franchisees who hit the big time are the fillet-o-fish, egg McMuffin, apple pie (once fried but now baked), and the shamrock shake.
"The company has benefited from the ingenuity of its small business people," wrote Ray Kroc, who turned the McDonald's into a global franchise, in his book "Grinding It Out"
Franchisees are still playing play an important role and propel the recent change of frozen for beef in Quarter Pounders, says Easterbrook. They also participate in the menu development process, which includes a number of cooking enhancements to improve taste in the US.
Mixing with a signature menu can be taboo, but staying the Big Mac has its own risks. Newer chains like Shake Shack and Five Guys offer burgers that make the Big Mac look old. Even White Castle is modernizing and has recently added vegetable "Impossible Burger" sliders.
One McDonald's franchisee was annoyed in 2016 that only one in five millennials tasted the Big Mac. The Big Mac had become "less relevant," the franchisee wrote in a memo, according to The Wall Street Journal.
McDonald's then carried out promotions that made the Big Mac accessible to more people. Such regular campaigns should help keep the Big Mac relevant for years to come, says Mike Delligatti, the son of the Big Mac inventor who died last year.
"What kind of iconic sandwich do you know – as long as longevity?" Said Delligatti, a McDonalds franchisee.