McDonald's Opening Vegetarian Restaurant

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 4 2012 2:18 PM

McVegetarian Restaurant Opening in India

Exciting fast food news today as McDonalds opens its first vegetarian restaurant in India.

India is a tricky market for the world's most prominent fast-food chain because, obviously, beef patties are not a popular item in India. The chain is famous for its determination to adapt its menu to local tastes, but widespread aversion to the basic idea of eating beef has thus far been a hard obstacle to overcome so McDonalds has only 271 restaurants in the world's second-largest market by population. A vegetarian format is an effort to change that.

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But as well as being a way to try to penetrate the India market, if it takes off at all I imagine it'll provide a valuable testing ground for the general concept. There are over 15 million vegetarians in the United States, for example, which is bigger than the population of Belgium, Greece, or Pennsylvania. A vegetarian fast food concept that works could have legs in many places around the world.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.