McDonald’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of its beloved Egg McMuffin last month by offering it for just 63¢ — the same price it was sold at when it debuted in 1971.
The Egg McMuffin made its debut at a single McDonald’s location in Santa Barbara, California 1972, the brainchild of franchise owner Herb Peterson. Peterson wanted a reason to open his restaurant before noon.
He liked eggs Benedict and wanted to make something similar, but found Hollandaise sauce to be too messy — and realized that pre-packaged sauce didn’t ‘do the trick.’
McDonald’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of its beloved Egg McMuffin last month by offering it for just 63¢ – the same price it was sold at when it debuted in 1971
Instead, he swapped it out for cheese and butter. He also developed Teflon rings to shape the eggs into circles as they cooked, debuting the sandwich in his store in 1971.
But Peterson was just a franchise owner — and he had to get Ray Kroc, then owner of the whole company, to see what a great idea it was.
Santa Barbara franchise owner Herb Peterson invented the sandwich in 1971 as an excuse to open his store in the morning
Kroc revealed how he got on board in his autobiography, Grinding it Out: The Making of McDonald’s.
Peterson had been selling breakfast sandwiches at his store since 1971. In 1972, Kroc paid him a visit — and Peterson insisted that he look at something without saying what it was.
‘He didn’t want me to reject it out of hand, which I might have done, because it was a crazy idea — a breakfast sandwich,’ he wrote, according to Time.
‘It consisted of an egg that had been formed in a Teflon circle, with the yolk broken, and was dressed with a slice of cheese and a slice of grilled Canadian bacon. This was served open-faced on a toasted and buttered English muffin. I boggled a bit at the presentation. But then I tasted it, and I was sold. Wow!’
When Ray Kroc, then the company’s owner, visited in 1972, Peterson made him try the sandwich – and he loved it, rolling it out nationwide
That name was dreamt up by Patty Turner, the wife of a McDonald’s executive
At that point, it wasn’t yet called an Egg McMuffin — that name was dreamt up by Patty Turner, the wife of a McDonald’s executive.
The Egg McMuffin began in test markets that same year, and over the next three years, the company worked to get them into all McDonald’s locations at the low, low price of 63¢.
At the time, fast food restaurants weren’t really offering breakfast, so the McMuffin changed the business.
‘The Egg McMuffin was introduced at a time when going to a fast food restaurant for breakfast was a new thing,’ Professor Jordan LeBel, who teaches food marketing at Montreal’s Concordia University, told Ad Week.
When it proved successful, McDonald’s expanded its breakfast offerings, adding a whole breakfast menu in 1977 that included hotcakes, toasted English muffins, scrambled eggs, sausages, hash browns, and danishes.