For a restaurant chain called Burger King, it sure is serious about its vegetarian food—in India anyway.
The company opened its first India location in November, fully committed to meeting the needs of the local vegetarian clientele. Not only did it develop a menu tailored to Indian flavors, including a Chicken Tandoor Grill sandwich, it also made fully half of its menu meat-free,according to data from Technopak, going further than McDonald’s, which has been in the country since 1996.
The opening in India, the 100th country that Burger King operates in, is part of the company’s “aggressive international growth strategy,” it said at the time, and it spared no expense to mark its entrance into the market. In addition to offering six vegetarian sandwiches, like the Paneer King Melt and Spicy Bean Royale, it also built dual production lines—one for the vegetarian food and the other for non-vegetarian products—and even divided the staff up based on whether they worked on one side or the other.
With a population of 1.2 billion, India is an obvious choice for any company looking to expand internationally, but the hundreds of millions of vegetarians in the country makes it a bit trickier for chains that normally rely on burgers and chicken nuggets (or Chicken Fries, as the case may be).
So far, Burger King has been successful enough in its effort that it spawned rumors that the menu items would be taken global. Unfortunately for the rest of the world’s vegetarians, the company ultimately said it had no immediate plans to do so. In the US, at least, customers are left with the chain’s Morningstar Farms veggie burger, which lacks the appeal of a vegetarian Whopper. However, it still beats McDonald’s, which offers zero vegetarian sandwiches in the US.