Now to be clear, this isn’t an attempt at holier-than-thou posturing. I’m not one of those people who can proudly declare they’ve never been to a McDonald’s, or at least haven’t stepped foot in one since their happy meal days. After my first marathon I made a beeline to the nearest quarter-pounder. Once in Delhi, after a serious bout of gastro-grossness all I craved was comfort food and headed out in search of the golden arches.
I have my fair share of McDonald’s confessions.
But I wish I didn’t because frankly it’s absolute crap food. It’s mindless, stomach-filling brashness that represents all that’s wrong with the way we eat.
Serving up vegetarian food isn’t going to change that. And regardless, there is no signal that McDonald’s is adding more veg to their standard menu.
The new restaurant, scheduled to open next year, will be in India where 40% of the population is vegetarian. In July, McDonald’s reported falling profits in India and is likely hoping that a menu that better conforms with local diets has a better chance of success.
It’s not really all that different than other local adaptations the company has made including serving wine in France, pasta in place of fries in Italy, red bean sundaes in Hong Kong, or even apple slices here in North America. The McDonald’s menu in India is already 50% vegetarian—more than anywhere else in the world—so this is really a natural progression for the company.
Not everyone is welcoming of the new McDonald’s, scheduled to open in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. The Hindu nationalist group Swadeshi Jagran Manch has said they will protest the new restaurant. They told the Daily Telegraph that McDonald’s “is an organization associated with cow slaughter. If we make an announcement that they’re slaughtering cows, people won’t eat there.”
This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has faced opponents upon opening a new restaurant, and most often, the iconic fast food chain has come out on top. I’m certainly not rooting for it though.
I guess it’s really up to individual customers to decide if this gives reason to chow down, be it on a McAloo Tikki or a Big Mac.
But personally I’m not celebrating the day the world’s biggest burger chain went veggie in one location. I’m pretty sure it’s not a move that’s really all that good for anyone.