SYDNEY ? McDonald?s announced earlier this week that it will open its first-ever all-vegetarian restaurant in India next year, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The restaurant will be located near the Golden Temple in Amritsar in northern India, where religious beliefs forbid consumption of meat at the shrine.
"It will be the first time we have opened a vegetarian restaurant in the world," said Rajesh Kumar Maini, a McDonald?s spokesperson.
The Amritsar location will not be burger chain?s lone vegetarian outlet, as it plans to add another at Katra near the Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Indian Kashmir, too.
While McDonald?s already caters to the meatless preferences of many in India ? its menus at restaurants there are 50% vegetarian ? its rollout of beef-less eateries is a testament to the value the company places on the India market. Hindus, who account for 80% of the country?s population, regard cows as sacred. And the country?s Muslim population does not consume pork, which is prohibited in the Koran.
"We have just 271 restaurants in India and across the world we have nearly 33,000," Maini said.
"When you look at the potential of the country, it's one of the top priority countries and we're laying the groundwork for capturing the market.?
Maini said McDonald?s plans to double the number of restaurants in India to more than 500 within three years.