Among the great Indian dishes today are chicken tikka, vegetable paneer and … veggie burgers from Wendy’s? The American fast food giant has decided to make a lucrative move to the East, selling its square patties to the throngs of Indians hungry for a quick bite.
In five years’ time, the fast food company plans to open 50 Wendy’s across India’s major cities, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
“What we’ve basically done is taken the soul of Wendy’s and put it into a new body,” said Jasper Reid, the head of Sierra Nevada, the joint venture responsible for the Wendy’s franchise in India.
That means Wendy’s will still taste, smell and feel the same in India, just without the beef. Why? Because most Hindus do not eat cows.
And no, it’s not because they worship them. In India, cows stalk the busiest streets in search of overturned garbage cans and any grass that pokes out of the asphalt. Nonetheless, Hindus maintain that cows are taboo to eat because they value the milk and other foods they produce and religiously consider them a symbol of life.
Wendy’s Indian restaurants will feature six different vegetarian burgers, nine chicken burgers and two lamb burgers on its menu.
Thus, Wendy’s decided to dump some of their biggest sellers, including Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy Triple and the Baconator, from the menu because selling beef just wasn’t worth the risk of having the majority of India’s over 1.5 billion non-beef eating Hindus be offended by the menu.
It’s a smart move, because according to Technopak Advisors, the fast food market in India is estimated to reach $78 billion by 2018.
Wendy’s is the second largest burger chain in the States by sales, just behind McDonald’s, but with its hot new vegetarian menu, decked with mushrooms, spinach and corn and potato patty burgers, the prince of burgers in the States may just become the rajadhiraja (“king of the kings”) of veggie burgers in India.