McDonald's to open first vegetarian-only restaurant in India
Wednesday, 5 September 2012 by Alice Monroe
Fast food chain McDonald's is set to launch its first purely vegetarian restaurant in India
NEW DELHI, India -- McDonald's, the world's largest hamburger chain, is set to launch its first restaurants exclusively offering vegetarian food in India.
The U.S. corporation confirmed its plans on Tuesday as result of its strategy to increasingly adapt its menu to local demands.
Rajesh Kumar Maini, a spokesman for the company's north and east Indian operations, highlighted the market opportunity for McDonald's in India, which is the world's second most populous nation.
"There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian," Maini said in an interview.
"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 menu in India is already 50% vegetarian, with its McAloo Tikki burger being the most popular item accounting for a quarter of total sales.
The fast food chain's plans to adapt to local preferences may not be enough to please everyone near India's most revered religious centres.
Hindu nationalist group Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a branch of the influential Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), described McDonald's plans as an attempt to "humiliate Hindus".
"It's an attempt not only to make money but also to deliberately humiliate Hindus," its national co-convener S. Gurumurthy told The Daily Telegraph.
"It is an organisation associated with cow slaughter. If we make an announcement that they're slaughtering cows, people won't eat there. We are definitely going to fight it."
* Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
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