Lotteria South Korea was founded in 1979, as part of an expansion of the Lotte Group which also included Lotte Chilsung Beverages, Lotte Food, and Lotte Ham. Lotteria became the number-one fast food restaurant chain in South Korea. The company achieved a 45% market share in 2001 (compared to 20.1 percent for McDonald’s). Lotteria’s success was achieved in part by introducing lines of Koreanized fast food including its now signature kimchi burger, leading to it being seen by most Koreans as a native version of most Western-style fast-food restaurants. The company tries to imitate the western idea of fast food through “cleanliness, bright interior, Western pop music as an audio background,” with the idea of trying to create “the impression of a ‘small piece of America in the middle of Korea'”. Their business strategy resulted in growth rates of 10 percent in 2006 and 16 percent in 2007; by 2009, Lotteria had 920 outlets across the country.
The menu in South Korea includes baked potatoes, yogurt, salads, cheese sticks, squid rings, and a popular shaved iced dessert called pat bing soo (팥빙수). One of the restaurants most popular burgers is the ‘Bulgogi Burger’ with bulgogi sauce serving as relish. In South Korea too, a specially priced lunchtime menu is offered focussing on less expensive and often reduced items. The timing of the lunch menu differs from store to store but falls within the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with prices fluctuating from location to location. There are a few stores which carry weekend lunches but these are relatively rare.
In March 2009, Lotteria took full control of the South Korean branch of T.G.I. Friday’s. It had previously invested 10 billion won in the chain in 2002. Lotteria also runs Natuur, one of South Korea’s major ice cream franchises, itself introduced to South Korea by Lotte in 1998.
On February 27, 2010, the ‘Hamburger Cafeteria’ Experience Center was opened in Seoul, KidZania. In April 2016, it will open a “Hamburger Cafeteria” experience center in Busan, KidZania, following KidZania Seoul.
The restaurant entered the Vietnamese market in 2004. Its menu there includes regular menu burgers and fried chicken but not side itemslike baked potatoes and pat bing soo. They also have an ice cream-based dessert (like a McFlurry) called a Tornado. It comes in five flavors: chocolate, cookie, peanut, sprinkles or green tea.
They also have Shrimp Burgers and some items that include rice, such as drumsticks with rice.