French fast food chain expands halal-only outlets after sales double in trial

August 31, 2010

quick 1A French fast food chain announced on Tuesday it would almost triple its line of halal hamburger restaurants because sales had doubled in a trial that sparked a heated debate about the integration of Muslims.

The Quick chain of 358 restaurants around France said it would boost its halal-only outlets to 22 on Wednesday after the trial in eight areas with a strong Muslim population also saw a doubling of customers and a rise in the amounts they spent. Here’s their communique in French.

(Photo: Halal-only Quick restaurant in Roubaix, northern France, February 18, 2010/Pascal Rossignol)

Quick, which is a challenger to the U.S. hamburger chain McDonald’s and runs franchises in seven other countries including Belgium, Russia and Algeria, said the move was purely commercial.

halalQuick came in for criticism earlier this year when its trial, which sold only halal beef and replaced bacon with smoked turkey, hit national headlines. Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire said ethnic marketing like this was against French values.

(Photo: Halal label at halal food fair in Paris, March 30, 2010, REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

But the growing halal market is now twice as large as that for organic food in France, whose five million Muslims make up Europe’s largest Islamic minority. A survey this year estimated the French halal market at 5.5 billion euros ($6.95 billion) annually with growth expected at 20 percent a year as the Muslim middle class expands.

UPDATE: Municipal leaders in Strasbourg later described the decision to switch a Quick outlet there to all-halal as “inopportune.” Mayor Roland Ries and Serge Oehler, a deputy for the neighbourhood where the outlet stands, said in a statement: “City policy aims to support diversity, not sectarianism.”

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