The State’s first McDonald’s is now open at Lulu Mall
It’s just half past eleven in the morning. The McDonald’s restaurant, the first in the State, is already jam packed. The crowd, like any in McDonald’s, were the youngsters, bubbly, noisy, cheerful with a sprinkling of seniors perhaps getting the first taste of Big Mac. And keeping them company, chatting up with them, was Ronald McDonald, the popular brand mascot.
The formal launch at the newly opened Lulu Mall, which is supposed to be the largest mall in the country, was a quiet affair, inside the restaurant, amidst the crowd. Children from Snehabhavan, Palluruthy, had their first taste of McDonald’s at lunch, cut a cake. It is, “a day to remember,” one of the kids says, smiling right up to his ears.
McDonald’s tryst with the city began much before the opening of outlet. “We have been sourcing piri-piri spices and our iconic Fillet-O-Fish from Kochi,” says Amit Jatia, vice-chairman, Hardcastle Pvt. Ltd. that operates and manages all McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India.
Spread out in 4140 square feet and seats 207 guests, the restaurant has separate vegetarian and non-vegetarian kitchens. “They are two well defined lines. We have it in such a way that in no way will the two gets mixed. We believe in respecting local culture, it is a commitment. So there is no beef or pork. Even at our processing facility we have two lines for vegetarian and non-vegetarian with a wall in between. If the attendants move from one line to the other, they have to shower. The attendants managing the restaurant counter are separate,” says Amit.
Unlike abroad the McDonald’s in India has a special menu to suit Indian tastes and a specific vegetarian menu. “We have enough an exciting variety. There are the global favourites like chicken nuggets, French fries, McSpicy Chicken etc and along with all this we have vegetarian items like the McVeggie Burger, Paneer Wrap, McAloo Tikki Burger and Pizza McPuff that are a hit.”
Now open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. there are plans to introduce their breakfast menu, the McMuffin Meal, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian soon. Lunch, food festivals, a designated space for birthday parties and more are on the anvil.
Amit Jatia revealed that like any McDonald’s outlet they bank on value, brand, ambience, menu and convenience.
And going by the response of the city they have plans to open a second outlet in the city soon. “We have not decided on the location. In all probability it can be at MG Road,” was all he reveals.