10 Worst Restaurant Chains in Indonesia

By Tibs
The restaurant chains listed below are on my personal blacklist. I consider they are the worst in Indonesia when in comes to the quality of the food they serve. They are also among the unhealthiest you'll find here. If you care just a little about your body, you should avoid them by all mean.

Most of them serve industrial, frozen food heavy in salt, sugar and fat. Ingredients are rarely authentic, especially those that are expensive in Indonesia like cheese or beef. They will always use the cheapest stuff, regardless of the taste. 

Cooks rarely have any background in cooking. They are often just high-school graduates with little training who only know how to stir-fry, deep-fry and pan-fry. It's not their fault though, the culprits are the bosses who decide on the recipes and one the ingredients used.

If you work for one of these chains, sorry about this post, it's not personal. I have nothing about the service or the staff. As far as I know, you do a great job welcoming and serving guests. My problem is only about the food in my plate.

Without any further delay, here are my 10 Worst Restaurant Chains in Indonesia:

I was tricked several times into eating a burger at Lotteria, and each time I've regretted it. They have nice posters with appetizing pictures of their burgers but the reality is completely different. The buns are dry, the beef patties are so thin you can hardly notice them, and the overall taste is bland. 

American Grill
I tried American Grill once in Surabaya. They had a very cheap buffet which seemed like a good deal. What a mistake! The buffet was mostly potatoes, pasta dishes and dry vegetables with mayonnaise. My friend ordered a steak that had mostly fat in it. I barely ate anything and went to a warung instead later that night.

They used to be part of Sizzler, an american chain, but they are now locally managed and you can feel the difference!

I'm sure you've noticed the CFC restaurants: They have a logo which is almost a copy of KFC. The acronym stands for California Fried Chicken but it is a 100% local brand. They have a branch in the airport in Jakarta in Terminal 3 and since there aren't that many other options to eat there, I tried once. As I could have expected, the food was gross. I probably lowered my life expectancy on that day from eating so much fat.

What is funny is that the name CFC is also the acronym for ChloroFluoroCarbon, also commonly named Freon. It is the product you put in your AC to make it cool.

I must be stupid because even though I hate the taste of the food in A&W, I must have eaten there at least 10 times. The reason is that they are usually conveniently located, in particular in the airport, and that the pictures look good enough to fool me. 

A&W is similar to McDonald's but more low-class. They serve rice, fried chicken and burgers. The burgers especially are horrible. They are small with a tiny beef patty, a small lettuce on top, some fatty sauce and industrial cheese. I have to admit their french fries are not too bad though.

Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza
The taste of both Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza is OK but their pizzas are so unhealthy that they should be forbidden to people under 18. Do you know for instance that the family size Pepperoni Pizza with normal crust has over 2,500 kilo-calories? The same pizza has also 3 times the daily limits in sodium and saturated fat.

Don't forget the mayo on the fat
D'Cost restaurants have a great slogan: "The taste of a 5-star, the price of street food" (Rasa lima bintang, harga kaki lima). What a lie! I tried their restaurant once based on this promise and to say that I was disappointed is an euphemism. First, the price is not as cheap as street food stalls, it is about 30% to 50% more. Second, the taste is as poor as it can get. They even managed to over cook the nasi goreng. It is a shame to go to D'Cost for Indonesian food when you can get so much better for half the price anywhere in the street.

They've also opened some D'Cost VIPs which are supposed to be even better... Taste of a 6-star?

Solaria serves cheap Indonesian and Western food in a modern setting. The owner must be well-connected because they have very strategic locations in almost every airport and middle-class malls in Jakarta. I've had their food about 5 times and I've never managed to finish my plate. The food taste and the quality of their ingredients seem to be far from their priorities.

Toni Jack's/JackStar
Even though Toni Jack's does not exist anymore, I have to mention it here. This fast food chain was created by a local businessman after he lost the license for McDonald's in Indonesia. His intention was to compete with the American giant by offering better food.

I was curious to see the result so I tried once in their Sarinah location. Haha what a joke it was! I remember waiting in line for 30 minutes (even though there were only a few customers), and then the burger I was served was barely edible. Unsurprisingly, they closed their operations a few months later.

According to Kompas, Toni Jack's changed its name to JackStar. They have one or two locations in Java, in Solo and Bandung.

Jollibee is an American-style fast-food chain originally from the Philippines. They tried to enter the Indonesian market a few years ago but closed down after only a few months. Apparently, they are planning to open again in 2016.

I tried Jollibee once when I was reviewing Manila Nightlife and it is by far the worst fast food restaurant I have ever tried. It is similar to Lotteria in the sense that they have good locations and good pictures.

More Bad and Unhealthy Restaurants in Indonesia and Jakarta?
There are some other serious other contenders for worst restaurant chains in Indonesia such as Texas Chicken and California Pizza Kitchen. I tried them a  long time ago though and I don't remember exactly the taste.

I could also have added Burger King and McDonald's, but honestly I occasionally have them and I don't think they are that bad (for the taste).

Finally, I never tried Hoka Hoka Bento but I can imagine it's not the best place for Japanese cuisine....

What other chain is worth mentioning? Please leave a comment below if you think I forgot one...

13 comments to '' 10 Worst Restaurant Chains in Indonesia "

  1. haha, i didn't quite sample all of them before realizing it's just better and healthier to stay hungry, but i agree with your list 100%. though pizza hut has nice garlic break and mocca drink. you probably could have included some of those cheap steak restos too. jeez they suck, but for $5, I shouldn't really be surprised. even holy cow has disappointing

  2. I would definitely add Hoka Hoka Bento to the list of worst chain restaurant in Indonesia.. It's a blasphemy to call it Japanese food!!

  3. My worst gripe aboit lotteria is that they rarely vleaned their tables after customers have left, leaving many resiues stacking in them. They only clean it after a new customer need a table, and most of the time because we asked for it. The chicken tastes quite nice tho.
    On AW, the chicken is also quite good, and the root float and waffle are unique to them. Never tried the burger tho.
    If i might add a recommendation for a cheap chain to try is AH (American Hamburger) an old timey chain from the 90s.quite cheap and nice burger. Satisfying for the 30k ish they ask, rather than other burger places that sells north of 70k...

  4. obviously you're foreigner living in Jakarta. I've been abroad as well to US, west Europe and others. There are also junk food in those countries and I bet my life saving that there are junk food restaurants as well in your country.

    So if you can only criticize the country where you live and make money, you'd better shut your shit mouth, stop your fucking fingers from typing and better do something different.

    1. For someone who's been to different countries, I thought you could be smart enough to make the difference between criticizing Indonesia and criticizing some restaurants chains in Indonesia...

      You can like the USA and not like McDonald's... You can like France and not "Brioche Dorée"... You can like Indonesia and not enjoy the taste of the food in Solaria...

      Thank you for your advice about me shutting my mouth. My advice to you is see a psychiatrist as soon as possible and try to solve your low self-esteem and anger management issues.

  5. Hokben has improved over the years. Safe to say, it is a Japanese-themed fast food chain that has been here for around 20 years or so. For an Indonesian fast food chain to have been around for as long as that, I disagree that it can ever be a part of a "worst fast food chains" list.

  6. fuck you! let it be dude whats wrong with enjoying the food. If all foods listed above is not as per your favor you could have just give a brief information about it, you wont be sounding stupid if you didnt mock.

    1. If my writing is not as per your favor, you could just read another page right? Can you explain me why you allow yourself to criticize and insult, but deny me the right to do so?

  7. I agree 100% with you Thibaud. I think they should not be exist in the first place. Those restaurant make people (especially Indonesian like myself) fat, obese, and always hungry. No wonder metabolic diseases like type-2 diabetes and heart attack grow more rapidly each year.

  8. a&w is way better and higher class than McDonalds or KFC

  9. Funny how some people allowed themselves to curse on someone writing, they said they live in a democrazy country but cant accept a little critizism?

  10. i agree, they all dog shit

  11. In my opinion Lotteria, Sizzler American Grill, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino's and KFC are by far the best. Hoka Hoka Bento, AH Restaurant, CFC and Bakmi GM are the WORST!!!