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Inventor of the Big Mac Just Got a Plaque

In April 1967, hamburger lovers in Uniontown, Pennsylvania met a newer, bigger burger—it was called the Big Mac, and for 45 cents it delivered, as a 1970s jingle would have it, "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame-seed bun."

A year later, the Big Mac was on the menu at McDonald's restaurants all over the United States. By 1969, it accounted for 19 percent of the company's total sales. Today, the company sells about 550 million Big Macs annually in the United States alone, and millions more in 100 countries around the world.

But you've probably never heard of Jim Delligatti, the McDonald's franchise owner who invented the Big Mac. Delligatti owned about a dozen franchises in the Pittsburgh area by the mid-1960s, but he struggled to compete with the Big Boy and Burger King chains. After pitching the idea to his bosses and facing stiff resistance, McDonald's finally relented and agreed to let him try it out. The first Big Mac was introduced on April 22, 1967.

Sales perked up immediately. The company rolled it out nationwide, backed by a powerful advertising campaign. In 1986, The Economist magazine introduced its Big Mac Index, which shows whether a currency is overvalued or undervalued based on the cost of a Big Mac in one country relative to the cost in another. In 2007, Mr. Delligatti opened the Big Mac Museum Restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, with a 14-foot-tall Big Mac sculpture as its centerpiece.

Many people assumed that Delligatti must have reaped a windfall worth billions. Not so. In 2007 he told a local newspaper, "All I got was a plaque."

Possible Preaching Angles: Sometimes human praise is underwhelming, which is why Christians need to live for the praise of the "Audience of One"—God's approval and pleasure.

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