McDonald’s India has announced its plans to go completely vegetarian. The fast food giant will open its first vegetarian-only location next year near the Golden Temple, a pilgrimage site sacred to Sikhs located in Amritsar in northern India.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 20 to 42 percent or more of the population (depending on how you count) avoid eating meat, mostly for religious reasons—cows are sacred to Hindus, and pork is not eatable for Muslims. That’s why you won’t find a classic Big Mac in the country’s McDonald’s, only a chicken alternative called Maharaja Mac is possible.
The restaurant’s menu inIndiais 50 percent vegetarian and the top selling burger is not the above-mentioned Maharaja but McAloo Tikki burger—a spicy, fried potato-based patty priced at 28 rupees, or 50 cents.
“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,” a spokesman for McDonald’s in northern India, Rajesh Kumar Maini told AFP.
However, the chain plans to grow in the country. It ahs announced another vegetarian location near the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Kashmir, a Hindu pilgrimage site planned for the next year. Going all-vegetarian may help attract thousands of Indians that didn’t visit McDonald’s before because of a small meal choice.