Burger King, McDonald’s, and other food chains become 100% vegetarian for India’s temple towns

Several food chains have become 100 percent vegetarian for temple towns of India.

Golden Temple, Vaishno Devi, Tirupati, and Shirdi are some of the places where the initiative had already begun. However, this is due to material gains and not spiritual reasons.

Attracted by large captive markets offered by these destinations, multinational restaurant and cafe chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s, Burger Singh, and ChaiPoint are setting up stores at pilgrimage sites, but are also enduring the religious strictures.

Burger King was the first company to set its store in Katra, where Vaishno Devi temple is located. The CEO of the brand told Economic Times that the facility opened in the temple town is the first in the world with a 100% vegetarian menu (Without onion and garlic).

Reportedly, McDonald’s has been allocated two sites on the yantra route of Vaishno Devi by the Shrine’s Board. The outlets will be open to the public by the end of September.

The company also plans to open stores at Ayodhya, Kamakhya Temple, and Katra in the coming months said the promoter of McDonald’s North and East- Anant Agarwal. He added to his statement that the outlets will offer 100% vegetarian food with no onion and garlic at these locations.

Notably, McDonald’s North and East entity already has 100% vegetarian outlets at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Kurukshetra. The average sale over here is Rs 1.5 lakh per day per store.

As per the executives, pilgrim sites provide a great deal of profit for food chains as these destinations give the companies’ first mover advantage.

Co-founder of Negen Capital and Burger Singh, Kabir Jeet Singh, told ET that the brand is all ready to set up a store in Ayodhya near the Ram mandir complex. They are currently, conducting fit-outs and are expecting to open the store in a few weeks.

Kabir further stated, “Devotees want quality, hygienic food which is missing in many of the places of worship which have large footfalls.”

In a statement to Economic Times, joint managing director at real estate consultancy Anarock Retail- Pankaj Renjhen said that food chains are trying to book places at locations such as pilgrimages, highways, tourist places, and places of historical prominence. This is because the footfall in these areas is likely to increase after the two-year pandemic.

Meanwhile, pilgrim sites offer a captive market due to the lack of competition, which is a beneficial factor for branded food chains.

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