MY OLDER brother told me that I couldn’t finish a Big Mac. For many years I believed him. The thought of me lifting the lid to reveal the gut busting burger made me anxious. During the late 70s, the Big Mac filled me with dread – I stuck with the manageable hamburger instead.
So this year the Big Mac celebrates it’s 50th birthday. Michael Delligatti’s creation shows no sign of slowing down. Back in the 70s and early 80s, there were two main players fighting for top burger status on the UK high street – McDonalds and Wimpy. Whilst Ronald McDonald played the role of the pied piper, laughing and dancing his way into McDonald’s with giddy children following, Wimpy boasted about having ‘the greatest burgers under the bun’. Burger King then entered with their flamed grilled burgers – a three-way burger battle in the boxing ring had begun.
The big three are still around. Whilst McDonald’s and Burger King continue to trade blows in the centre of the ring, Wimpy seems to be taking an extended break on the stool in the corner. Wimpy had over 500 restaurants in the 70s – today there are only 78! We have seen a number of gourmet burger restaurants (GBK, Byron) squeezing into the ring. The gourmet burgers do not have the physical attributes (amount of restaurants) as McDonald’s and Burger King, but they are holding their own. Leaning against the ropes doing their own thing is the independent, local gourmet burger establishments. These have built up quite a loyal customer base – they are very convenient if you don’t want to trek to a retail park (where McDonald’s and Burger King are sometimes located). The burgers from the independent establishments are not too shabby at all (in fact, I’ll whisper this … some of the burgers are tastier than ones from the big two!)
Next 50 years
The boxing ring of burgers has become pretty packed over the years. There’s the main attraction – McDonald’s vs. Burger King. There’s match-up’s with the likes of GBK and Byron’s, and some rather tasty match up’s with the independent burger joints. It’s all very interesting. What will the boxing ring of burgers look like in the next 50 years?
Happy birthday Big Mac
I did mange to get over my fear of the Big Mac. I once managed to polish off two Big Mac’s and one Quarter Pounder with cheese – not quite Man vs. Food but I’m proud of my achievement. Happy 50th birthday Big Mac – looking forward to the next 50 years.