Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Food Assembly Line

Automatic, visible assembly line for fast food
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You put your bank or credit card in a machine like an ATM, punch in the things you want, including all extras, and then press Start. The machine debits your card, spits out a receipt with a number on it, and you go watch the machine in action as it assembles your order along a visible (behind glass) assembly line.

Say it's a hamburger (though it could be salads or subs or whatever). A camera at each assembly hamburger ingredient station would capture the action in closeup. At your table, you could watch a monitor showing your order being assembled ingredient by ingredient. If you ordered more than one thing, you could split the screen or focus on one item.

Or you could watch it live: follow your burger down the line (it's safely behind glass) to the automatic wrapping stage and bagging stage. Multiple items in one order would be herded together until all are ready for the bag.

If the action wasn't lively enough, you could work some Rube Goldberg variations into it. And the machine would play Warner Brothers cartoon music for factories (I think it's called Powerhouse).

A fancier version could run the food around the perimeter of the restaurant (or carry it on an overhead contraption) and deliver it to your table, maybe lowered by a mechanical hand at the end of an extended metal arm.

A simpler version could offer hot food (limited menu) straight out of the wall like an ATM. When your number displays, you know it's your turn to grab the bag coming out of the wall dispenser. (Though I notice now that the ATM thing is suggested in "Fast Food atm").

horripilation, Nov 18 2002

[link]






       WELCOME to the Food Assembly Line ATM
To begin, please insert your card in the slot below

Please select from one of the following choices:
Hamburger
Cheeseburger
Hot Dog

You have selected:
HAMBURGER
If this is correct, please press:
YES
If this is not correct, please press # on the numeric keypad

You have selected YES.
Which of the following ingredients would you like on your HAMBURGER?
Catsup
Mayonnaise
Mustard
All of the Above
Catsup and Mayonnaise
Catsup and Mustard
Mayonnaise and Mustard
None of the Above:

You have selected ALL OF THE ABOVE
If this is correct, please press YES
If this is not correct, please press # on the numeric keypad

You have selected YES
Before the condiment selection menu for the bottom portion of the selected item appears, are you sure you don't want to upgrade your HAMBURGER to a CHEESEBURGER?...
thumbwax, Nov 18 2002
  

       [thumbwax] Well, sure, but that's a little more complicated than it needs to be. The most popular combinations would be preselected, so you could just press "Cheeseburger" and "Start" to get one, but you could instead press an ingredient to select or deselect it.
horripilation, Nov 18 2002
  

       You have chosen HOLD THE MAYO
We are currently out of Mayonnaise. Please make a new selection.
FarmerJohn, Nov 18 2002
  

       Pity the poorly-informed mugger who tries to snatch your cash from the machine, and ends up with a handful of McNuggets for his pains .....
8th of 7, Nov 18 2002
  

       FJ's anno reminded me of:

(Customer in cafe) "Coffee please, without cream."
(Waitress) "Sorry, Sir, we don't have any cream; will you have it without milk instead?"
angel, Nov 18 2002
  

       I want to sit down to a thick piece of edible, color e-paper that displays a menu. After choosing, the surfaces change to make it look like a piece of toast or a steak. The taste might be a little bland though.
FarmerJohn, Nov 18 2002
  
      
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