By Louie Graves
The world knows McDonald’s and McNuggets.
On Friday morning, Tyson Foods celebrated the reception of McDonald’s coveted “Global Supplier of the Year” award, given for those very nuggets.
Three shifts of team members at the Nashville facility enjoyed a fish and chicken dinner, heard their names called in drawings for upscale prizes, and had a chance to dump team leaders into an icy dunking booth set up in the plant parking lot.
The list of team leaders went all the way to the top — plant manager Zack Pinegar, who took his spill in good spirits and drew for prizes later in a damp Tyson tan uniform.
Tyson enthusiastically celebrated the reception of the award and McDonald’s crystal trophy.
Brief remarks were made by Pinegar; Sandy Luckcuck, president of production and sales worldwide; also a familiar face, Paul Britt who retired as Nashville Complex man-
ager in 2016 but came back for this celebration.
Britt was asked to tell a story about how Nashville became McDonald’s source for the McNuggets.
He said he got a call from the late Don Tyson late on a Friday afternoon. The head of the company wanted all of Nashville’s 20-man management team to meet at Joda’s Restaurant on Sunday afternoon.
“There was a big box in the room when we got there,” he recalled. The box contained a numbered football jersey for each team leader. The jerseys were emblazoned with McDonald’s golden arches. That was the introduction.
Chicken McNuggets were first made here on May 17, 1982.
Britt added that Don Tyson once said he had been ‘working on’ McDonald’s management for about 20 years, and was finally successful.
Today, five McDonald’s plants provide McNuggets and chicken sandwich filets for McDonald’s restaurants worldwide, but Nashville was the first.
Zack Pinegar said that the Nashville plant, alone, made 2.5 million McNuggets each week. He said that the award was for 2022, but it was really the culmination of many years of hard work.