Catering to the large vegetarian demographic in India, McDonald’s has announced that it will open its first all-vegetarian location in the holy Sikh city of Amritsar next year.
“It will be the first time we have opened a vegetarian restaurant,” said Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for McDonald’s in northern India. The chain has a history of catering its menus to regional cuisine and the company states that the decision was made because “there is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants (in India) as many Indians are vegetarian.”
As many as 40 percent of Indians are vegetarian—a 500 million-strong demographic McDonald’s is eager to tap into. And the chain has already been successful with the best-selling McAloo Tikki burger—a fried potato patty—served in other Indian McDonald’s locations and making up 25 percent of the fast-food chain’s regional sales.
Amritsar forbids any consumption of meat at the temple’s shrine, making it an ideal location for the fast-food chain to experiment with an all-vegetarian restaurant concept.
With fewer than 300 locations in India currently, McDonald’s already serves more than half a million customers in the country daily, and calls India a ‘top priority’ country with plans to double its number of locations in the country within the next three years. Worldwide, McDonald’s serves 50 million customers in more than 100 countries every day.
After the Amritsar launch, McDonald’s will open another vegetarian location near the Hindu site of Vaishno Devi cave in Indian Kashmir. The chain has not announced any plans to open more vegetarian restaurants outside of India.
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Image: Håkan Dahlström