McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is going meatless … in India.
The fast-food giant that has helped make the cheeseburger an American staple is taking another approach in a market where most of the population has qualms about eating certain types of meat.
The first vegetarian McDonald’s will open sometime in 2013 near the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, India, the AFP reports. Consuming any type of meat is prohibited at the shrine.
Hindus, who make up approximately 80% of India’s 1.2 billion population, abstain from eating beef because they view cows as sacred. India’s Muslim population avoids eating pork as instructed by the Koran.
“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,” spokesman for McDonald’s in northern India, Rajesh Kumar Maini, told AFP.
“But when you look at the potential of the country, it is one of the top priority countries and we are laying the groundwork for capturing the market.”
McDonald’s current menu in India is about 50% vegetarian, with its potato-based McAloo Tikki burger being its best-selling sandwich.
After the first vegetarian McDonald’s is opened, the chain plans to introduce one in Kashmir.