FaithWorld

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

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.

Hubbub over halal in France

quick

A Quick fast food restaurant in Roubaix, 18 Feb 2010/Pascal Rossignol

After the noise over the niqab, now there’s a hubbub over halal in France.

Police in the northern city of Lille launched an investigation on Friday into claims that a fast food restaurant was discriminating against non-Muslim customers by dropping bacon burgers from its menu and using only halal meat. The public prosecutor ordered the probe after the Socialist mayor of the nearby town of Roubaix sued the Quick fast food chain for switching to follow Muslim dietary laws in eight of its 350 branches.

Quick — a rival to far larger global chains like McDonald’s in France and Belgium — now offers smoked turkey and halal beef and no pork in those branches.  “Why should the people of Roubaix be forced to go to Lille or elsewhere to find bacon?” Franck Berton, the lawyer for Mayor René Vandierendonck, asked when we asked him about this case.