McDonald’s may be known around the world for its Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets. But we all know that it’s not above shaking up its menu for different regions – diners in Asia can feast on teriyaki and bulgogi burgers, while Canada is privy to McPoutine. Today, the franchise announced plans to try something radical at an upcoming location in India: its first ever fully vegetarian outlet.
While going fully vegetarian is a pretty massive departure for McDonald’s, it makes perfect sense in the context of its surroundings. Hinduism, which accounts for the religious majority in India with 80.5 percent of the population practicing, views cows as sacred beings and forbids the consumption of beef. Islam, meanwhile, represents the second largest religious group in India and forbids its followers from eating pork. In other words, neither Quarter Pounders nor McRibs are going to go over very well in the Indian market. Tasty vegetarian options, on the other hand, are something that everyone can safely eat without religious transgressions or guilt.
Actually, McDonald’s locations in India already offer many more vegetarian options than its other global counterparts, like spicy paneer sandwiches and the potato-based McAloo Tikki burger. There’s also still an awful lot of franchise growth potential in India, and there are few better ways to grow than to give consumers more of what they want:
A spokesman for McDonald's in northern India, Rajesh Kumar Maini, told the news agency: "There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian.
"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."
McDonald’s is reportedly planning to launch its first new vegetarian outpost in northern India, in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, followed by another outlet near the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Kashmir. Perhaps if subsequent sales from this endeavor are impressive enough, McDonald’s may consider expanding its vegetarian items to some more of its locations worldwide.