The Great Grandson of the Big Mac’s Creator Becomes McDonald’s First 4th-Generation Franchisee

How Nick Delligatti worked his way from crew person to owner-operator.

July 31, 2018 3 min read

McDonald’s just became a great grandparent for the first time. At least, according to a report from The Restaurant Business, the Golden Arches just introduced its first ever fourth-generation franchisee — and in the most perfect way possible.

Nick Delligatti is the great grandson of Jim Delligatti, the original inventor of the Big Mac whose picture is hanging up at McDonald’s headquarters. And though Delligatti told The Restaurant Business that “McDonald’s has been part of our family for 60-plus years,” he had to work his way up. Over the course of several years, Delligatti went from crew person to manager to general manager.

Now, he has his own location near Erie, Penn.

Related: 8 Things McDonald’s Can Teach You About Business

“There was no, ‘Here’s the key to the city,’” Delligatti said. “I went through everything, like a lot of owner-operators. A lot of owner-operators started as a crew person.”

Delligatti credits his family — particularly his father — for pushing him to earn his role within the business. Of course, it only makes sense that the Delligattis would know how to handle the transition from father to son: When McDonald’s started franchising in 1955, the Delligattis were one of the earliest franchisees in the system.

Today the family owns 20 restaurants.

“I’ve got a lot of big shoes to fill,” Delligatti said. “But I’m confident. I’ve had a lot of great mentors.”

McDonald’s franchise information

McDonald’s is the No. 1 franchise on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, in large part due to its longevity and branding. A franchise doesn’t come cheap — initial investment can cost anywhere from $1,008,000 to $2,214,080 — but the level of marketing agency support, training and name recognition is hard to match.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an owner-operator, you can visit the McDonald’s franchising website.

  • CEO: Steve Easterbrook
  • Business headquarters: Oak Brook, Ill.
  • Franchising since: 1955
  • Initial investment: $1,008,000 to $2,214,080
  • Initial franchise fee: $45,000
  • New units in 2017: 507 units (1.4 percent)
  • Training: 6 to 24 months on the job, 75 hours in the classroom
  • marketing agency support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, loyalty program/app

Related: The 10 Best Franchises to Open in 2018

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Is McDonald’s part of your life, like it has been for the Delligattis? Take our quiz on the history of the company to see how much you know.

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