I like hamburgers. Sure, they're junk food, bad for you et cetera. But I still love the taste of a good burger.
Of course, not every joint serves high quality stuff. But if the regular fast food places don't satisfy you, it's possible to make delicious burgers yourself.

Apart from the taste, I also enjoy the versatility. Hamburgers can have a nearly unlimited amount of ingredient combinations in them, which allows for fun experimenting when making them at home.

A couple of months ago I was eating at Carrols. The burger tasted nice, but had pickled cucumbers in it. If you have seen my rant on raisins and cucumbers, you know I'm not a big fan of them.
I could have asked for the "cook" to make me a hamburger without the cucumber, but I still would have paid the same amount of money for it. This is when I came up with the idea of a new kind of Hamburger Restaurant.

First of all, this place would not just be an another McDonald's franchise. I'm talking about a real restaurant with tables, waiters, the whole enchilada. Dressing up casually would be acceptable though.

Every table would include a small computer terminal. It would contain an easy-to-use piece of software, used by the customer to customize his/her hamburger, or to build one from scratch. The ingedients (with their amounts and order) would be selected from a (long enough) list, along with the preferred drinks, fries etc. The price would be defined by the ingredients, so the customers could watch the cost forming while they add things to the mix.

Of course, the restaurant would offer its own recipes to the busy or less adventurous people.

After the designing is complete, the order would be sent to the kitchen, where skilled chefs would prepare the meal.
While waiting for the order, the customers could for example check out E2 or /. on the terminals, which are naturally connected to the Internet and running an open source OS in order to keep the potential MS basher customers satisfied. :)

Extended services might include the ability for regular customers to store their favorite hamburger recipes on the network, allowing others to browse them aswell. With multiple restaurants communicating through the 'net, this could be used to create a worldwide customer recipe database.

I wonder if this idea could work in reality.

Demand is of course the key factor. So much "interactivity" might be frightening (not to mention too time-consuming) to people not confortable with technology. So the restaurant would probably be filled with geeks like myself. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm not sure if there would be enough of us to keep the enterprise profitable.
The selection of different ingredients (from buns to sauces) would need to big enough to offer true versatility. This calls for the storaging of various different food items at all times, and what if the lobster burgers don't suddenly sell as well as they recently did?

Of course, It's possible there could already be a business like this somewhere. But if not, every entrepeneur in E2 is welcome to steal my idea. Just invite me to the grand opening.
 
 
Update - April 10, 2002

mkb informs me that a chain somewhat like this does exists, and it's D.P. Dough. So, I guess my radical ideas on hi-tech hamburger restaurants have already occurred to others.

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