Mcspicy Paneer Burger Is One Tasty Joy Ride

Us everyday folks who enjoy McDonald’s will never know the hard work that goes behind finding new and tasty staple food items. The invention of a new McDonald’s burger is not so easy as to bake a pie. First you have to consider the demand, resources, customer mentality and other factors before you really jump the gun. Knowing your customers is the first step, but perhaps the most important is to find the right burger which even the customers do not yet know they want. Now apply this process to the Indian market with all its diverse population, cultures, preferences, inclinations and demands; makes your head spin, doesn’t it? In 2010, a similar dilemma was faced by high-level representatives of McDonald’s who wanted to introduce a new kind of burger using a paneer patty.

McDonald’s Spicy Paneer burger is one tasty joy ride –one of the most popular McDonald’s burgers ever to be introduced exclusively for the Indian market, but it was not an easy task to achieve. Since the Indian market has a large demand for vegetarian items, coming up with a specialty vegetarian burger was of utmost importance. However, paneer or farmer’s cheese is not like meat, soya or any other meat-substitute: if prepared too soft it crumbles, unable to hold the burger together, if too hard it turns rubbery when fried. So being the pioneers of Indian fast-food, McDonald’s did what it does best: it came up with a new way to manufacture the right type of paneer.

Abhijit Upadhye, the head of Menu Management and Supply Chain at McDonald’s, was assigned the task of creating this specialty paneer burger. In search for an equipment that would coat the paneer just right, Abhijit sent a team consisting of McDonald’s and other representatives from partner companies Vista and Kerry Systems to visit Netherlands-based CFS, a renowned food processing equipment company and alas, found what they wanted.

But that was only the first phase of the plan: Now with the right equipment in their hands, what was required was a supplier who would be able to produce 120 tonne of paneer every month. They found their supplier in a Thane-based dairy-processor owner, Rajan Malik of Good Day Foods. At the location, the team tried several approaches to find the right method of producing desirable paneer, by using different kinds of milk and creating different levels of moisture in the finished cheese. Finally, the right combination was finalized by using buffalo milk from Kolhapur belt. 

When they had the ‘right kind’ of paneer figured, the team turned their energy to finding the right combination of ingredients which must compliment the paneer patty in the traditional McDonald’s way. A sauce technician at Mrs. Bector took the game when he suggested tandoori sauce, and as they say ‘the rest is history’.

In March 2011, the production was started at Vista’s processing unit at Taloja, Navi Mumbai and
the burger was finally launched on March 28, 2011. Its roaring success was instantaneous and since then McSpicy Paneer burger has found a loving and loyal group of customers.

Whether you go to a McDonald’s outlet in the South & West, or North & East –McSpicy Paneer stares down from the over-head menu with equitable dignity. In a country full of people who are as diverse in their tastes, preferences and inclinations, what McDonald’s has achieved is not a shade less than ‘genius’. Being a pioneer of Indian QSR industry, McDonald’s has revolutionized the way Indians go out for meals. By introducing a varied menu of vegetarian and non-vegetarian staple items, which are prepared in separate sections of the kitchen, McDonald’s has embraced the widely diverse region with open-arms, creating history in the process.

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