End of a McEra: Indonesia’s first McDonald’s restaurant in Central Jakarta’s Sarinah to close permanently

The historic McDonald’s restaurant in Sarinah, Central Jakarta is closing down for good almost 30 years since it opened. The outlet is the first McDonald’s store to open in Indonesia, opening the country up to the good and the bad of the Golden Arches on February 23, 1991. Photo: Facebook/McDonald’s Indonesia
The historic McDonald’s restaurant in Sarinah, Central Jakarta is closing down for good almost 30 years since it opened. The outlet is the first McDonald’s store to open in Indonesia, opening the country up to the good and the bad of the Golden Arches on February 23, 1991. Photo: Facebook/McDonald’s Indonesia

Located in the literal heart of Jakarta and the figurative heart of Jakartans, the historic McDonald’s restaurant in Sarinah, Central Jakarta is closing down for good almost 30 years since it opened.

The outlet is the first McDonald’s store to open in Indonesia, opening the country up to the good and the bad of the Golden Arches on February 23, 1991.

“For all the stories that happened here, for the memories that have been engraved here, thank you for the unforgettable moments of togetherness,” the text in the picture above reads.

As confirmed by the American fast food chain in a series of tweets today, the outlet will cease operations starting this Sunday at 10:05pm, at the request of the Sarinah building management in an official letter dated April 30.

The management cited “renovations and shift in business strategy” as the reason behind the closure request. In a statement today, McDonald’s Indonesia spokesman Michael Hartono said that all employees at the Sarinah outlet will be relocated to other branches.

Sarinah president director Gusti Ngurah Putu Sugiarta Yasa said that all tenants in the building are currently emptying their stores, with renovations scheduled for June. The renovations are reportedly being carried out due to restore the iconic department store building, which first opened in 1966.

It’s no surprise that this sad news has prompted netizens, who are definitely not lovin’ it, to share their memories in this iconic fast food restaurant on social media. 

One user also shared highlights from McDonald’s Sarinah’s history, such as when the outlet first opened, the visit of legendary American boxer Muhammad Ali to Jakarta in 1996 (during which he reportedly bought food for 100 people at the restaurant), the giant Ronald McDonald’s balloon sitting on its roof, and the McBurger seats.

Another user pointed out that McDonald’s Sarinah has witnessed so much of the capital’s history, from the Sarinah bombing and anti-Ahok protests in 2016 to the election riots last year.

McDonald’s license in Indonesia is currently held by PT Rekso Nasional Food, which owns and operates more than 200 outlets in the country. The Sarinah outlet became fried chicken joint Toni Jack’s for a brief period in October 2009 to February 2011 after a dispute between McDonald’s Corporation and Bambang Nuryatno Rachmadi, a businessman who first brought the chain to Indonesia.

As this might come handy to you once the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) protocol is lifted, the nearest McDonald’s outlets near Sarinah, among others, are located on Hayam Wuruk street in Harmoni, Raden Saleh street in Cikini, Cideng, Plaza Sentral in Sudirman, and Plaza Festival Kuningan. They may not live up to Sarinah’s historical stature, but you can get their delicious McSpicy and French fries all the same.

 

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