McDonald’s is showing no beef

Editorial cartoon by Brian Velez
Editorial cartoon by Brian Velez

No matter what diet people stick with – either a low carbohydrate meal or chugging three 5-Hour Energy drinks to be awake throughout the night studying – McDonald’s is one restaurant that seems to satisfy everyone.

We know it is not the greatest dinner for the family. We know the first bite of a Big Mac makes people regret buying this heart attack in a box, but we still eat it.

The bite into any burger – McDouble, Angus Deluxe, McRib – reminds us why we secretly love it. Whoever dislikes these creations must be crazy because we think no one in the world will look down at the golden arches.

But then there is India.

McDonald’s current beef-heavy menu does not fit well with India’s appetite, which is why it will be opening its first all-vegetarian restaurants there.

So Ronald McDonald does have a brain under that red-dye, frizzy haircut.

Next year, McDonald’s will open two all-vegetarian restaurants in Northern India, one in Amritsar near the Holy Temple, a Sikh holy site, and another near the Viashno Devi cave, a Hindu site in Kashmir. The fast-food juggernaut decided to reach out to consumers in a different way now that it has figured out another factor that influences people what to eat: religion.

With almost half of India avoiding eating meat – Hindus cherish cows, Muslims look down at pork and Sikhs avoid meat overall – McDonald’s has been having trouble attracting the world’s second populous nation to any of the 271 restaurants currently open there.

Before we shun McDonald’s for not realizing that one menu does not serve everyone, all the existing Indian restaurants offer a menu that is 50 percent vegetarian, including the McAloo Tikki burger, a fried potato patty with Indian cheese, and the McCurry Pan. They even hold two stations to separate the meat and vegetarian substitutes.

Despite this challenge, Rajesh Kumar Maini, McDonald’s spokesman in northern India, said there is a big opportunity for all-vegetarian restaurants that serve locals, especially in these pilgrimage sites.

While the initiative is thoughtful, there is another reason McDonald’s is suddenly promoting vegetarianism: market share.

India has a $12 billion a year fast food market, which is dominated by local restaurants, according to However McDonald’s only accounts for five percent of that profit.

KFC is having more success in India because chicken is popular with both Hindus and Muslims.

It looks like the happy clown does not like it having the little guys ahead in the fast food race. But not for long, if McDonald’s has its way.

After all, that is why Ronald is smiling: for obtaining profit, not promoting good health.

Just because a restaurant, even McDonald’s, offers vegetarian meals, that does not mean it is 100 percent healthy. Or even 25 percent.

According to AFP, a growing concern is India’s consumption of high-fat meals, leading to more Western style obesity.

It will not be long for India to experience what we do now: love and hate ourselves for satisfying the clown. But do not worry because we have worked so hard. Have another McAloo Tikki burger.

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