McDonald’s to open first vegetarian restaurant in India
Bharatiya Janata Party activists protest the use of beef products in the French fries sold at McDonald's fast food outlet in Fort area of South Bombay, India, Friday, May 4, 2001. (AP / Str)
The world's leading fast-food burger chain is opening an all-vegetarian version in India, in hopes of capitalizing on the massive population of non-meat eaters.
McDonald's, perhaps best known for the towering, two-patty Big Mac beef hamburger, will open the vegetarian restaurant next year.
It will be located in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, in northern India, near the Golden Temple, a popular pilgrimage site.
Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for the chain in northern India, told the news agency AFP that McDonald’s is looking to cater to Hindus, who are vegetarian, and Muslims, who don't eat pork.
"There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian," he told AFP.
"At the moment, India is still a very small market -- we just have 271 restaurants in India, and across the world, we have nearly 33,000."
According to reports, McDonald's plans to open a second location in northwestern India, near a Hindu pilgrimage site in Kashmir that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Typical McDonald's outlets in India offer a 50 per cent vegetarian menu. The McAloo Tikki burger, which has a spiced potato-based patty, is among the most popular menu items.
The McAloo Tikki will be on the menu at the new all-veg location, along with the McVeggie, a patty made with carrots, peas and potatoes, and the McSpicy Paneer, a patty made from traditional Indian cheese.