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McDonald’s to Open New Vegetarian Restaurants

Hot & Cool Food Trends

McDonald’s has announced plans to open the company’s first-ever vegetarian restaurants…in India.

The world’s largest burger chain will open two such outlets next year in northern Indian cities that are pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Sikhs. McDonald’s currently keeps beef and pork items off the menu in India, where a majority of the population are Hindus and Muslims. The chain offers Chicken McNuggets and fish sandwiches in its other locations in India.

One of the McDonald’s vegetarian restaurants will be in Amritsar, where the Golden Temple, a holy site for Sikhs, is located. The other will be in Katra in Jammu and Kashmir in the north, a major pilgrimage site for Hindus.

The new all-vegetarian restaurant locations will menu such items as the McAloo Tikki Burger, a sandwich with a mashed-potato patty, and the Pizza McPuff, a vegetable and cheese pastry.

McDonald’s kitchens have always been divided into separate sections for cooking vegetarian and non-vegetarian items in India, said McDonald’s spokesperson Becca Hary, in an email to Businessweek. Opening meatless stores “speaks to McDonald’s efforts to cater to local tastes,” she said.

The company opened its first restaurant in India in 1996 and now operates more than 250 units there. McDonald’s gets more than 60 percent of its revenue from international stores today, and announced last month that it was exploring and evaluating opportunities in Vietnam, where it doesn’t have any stores…yet.

We don’t, however, expect to see a meatless McDonald’s opening up in the USA anytime soon. That’s my prediction anyway, going out on a limb.

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