McDonald’s is going Meat-free — only in India.
McDonald’s, America’s fast food magnate declared that it will open its very first vegetarian-only restaurant in the world which is in India next year, catering to the tastes of a country where nearly half of the population is vegetarian.
McDonald’s will open its first vegetarian restaurant near the Golden Temple, a Sikh holy site in northern India that is the country’s second busiest spot for pilgrimages.
A holy site for Sikhs, the Golden Temple hosts thousands of visitors per day from around the world, while Katra welcomes around 8 million pilgrims a year en route to the Hindu shrine.
Both pilgrimage districts are vegetarian. McDonald’s latest offerings to local tastes is nothing new. In every country the chain operates, it has offered a local variant of a classic dish in an attempt to cater to local sensitivities. Their menu offers fried potato-based McAloo Tikki burger. Even the meat items, like the chicken-only Maharaja Mac, cater to the eating habits of the country’s two largest religious groups — Hindus and Muslims — who tend to avoid beef and pork, respectively.
Hindus believe that cows are sacred and Muslims are prohibited from eating pork by the Qur’an.
The chain began offering salads and other vegetable-based options about a decade ago, in response to criticism its grilled and fried meat products were fatty and unhealthy.
But the two Indian outlets will be the first time the chain has offered an entire location that serves nothing but vegetarian products. The chain has more than 30,000 locations worldwide.
The world’s second-largest fast food chain has 271 restaurants. Even though McDonald’s already accommodates many of these prohibitions in India, the chain seems interested in growing in a nation of 1.2 billion people in an uncertain economic age.
In addition to McDonald’s and Subway who are catering meat free menu, Domino’s Pizza is an international franchise with vegetarian outlets in Mumbai and Gujarat as well. India is the U.S.-based pizza chain’s third-largest overseas market.