Get All Access for $5/mo

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.

By Matthew McCreary

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

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 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 support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, loyalty program/app

Related: The 10 Best Franchises to Open in 2018

How much do you really know about McDonald's?

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.

Matthew McCreary

Entrepreneur Staff

Associate Editor, Contributed Content

Matthew McCreary is the associate editor for contributed content at

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.