First Meat-Free McDonald's to Open in IndiaS

McDonald's, the world-wide leader in burger-based foods, announced today plans to open its first all-vegetarian restaurant in the northern Indian city of Amritsar.

The fast food chain — second only to Subway in number of global outlets — has just over 270 branches in the South Asian country, and is hoping to appeal to a wider audience by catering to local diets.

"There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian," a McDonald's spokesman told AFP.

As Hindus abstain from consuming beef, and Muslims abstain from consuming pork, McDonald's stores in India were already 50 percent vegetarian, replacing signature dishes with unique fare found exclusively in the Indian subcontinent.

The first vegetarian Golden Arches will open, aptly, by the Golden Temple in Amritsar next summer. A second location is planned for the town of Katra, adjacent to the the holy Hindu temple of Vaishno Devi Mandir.

[photo via AP]