The inventor of the Egg McMuffin has died in his Southern California home at the age of 89, AP reports. Herb Peterson began working with McDonald's in the advertising department, and later switched to the hands-on side of the business, owning six restaurants in the Santa Barbara area. Peterson, a big fan of eggs Benedict, came up with the idea for the breakfast-on-the-run Egg McMuffin in 1972, inspiring a host of imitators.
Former McDonald's president Ray Kroc first thought Peterson's English muffin combo with egg, Canadian bacon and cheese was a "crazy idea—a breakfast sandwich," he recalled in his autobiography. But Kroc was sold after a single taste, and the chain moved into the lucrative breakfast business. Peterson remained active in his restaurants until his health started to fail last year. "He would talk to the customers, visit with the employees," said a company spokesman. "He loved McDonald's."