Bex Burger’s vending-machine-style restaurant may be the norm in years to come!

You may think you’ve seen it all when it comes to burger restaurants in Japan. After all, in a country home to burger-based culinary catastrophes such the Whipped Cream Burger, surely there’s nothing left that would surprise us. But when we heard about a restaurant that works almost like a burger vending machine, we had to admit that maybe we hadn’t seen everything yet.

Bex Burger is a brand new burger restaurant that opened on May 15, at the north exit of JR’s Kichijoji station. Rumours are that you can receive your meal from Bex Burger self-service style, without saying a single word, which for the current coronavirus climate seems like a fantastic innovation. At a first glance, Bex Burger appears to be just a normal looking restaurant, but don’t let appearances fool you; it’s operated by the same company that runs prison-themed restaurant The Lockup.

Speaking of being locked up (or almost, anyway), who better to go and experience this new innovative burger restaurant than our very own Mr. Sato. After all, he’s known for being at the forefront of the latest technology trends, especially when it comes to eating out. So we sent Mr. Sato to find out — is Bex Burger really as innovative as it sounds?

Bex Burger claims to be a gourmet burger restaurant, with the buns and burgers made fresh at the restaurant’s factory daily. But despite this apparent high quality, the signature ‘Bex Burger’ is priced at a very generous 290 yen (US$2.66), with the most expensive item on the menu — the Bex Triple Cheese Burger — hardly breaking the bank at 610 yen (US$5.60).

As Mr. Sato arrived, he was immediately greeted with a long line of people waiting. Even though the restaurant had been open for less than two weeks, there was already a buzz surrounding it. This was a good sign, surely.

The restaurant was entirely self-service, as promised. Mr. Sato made his order using the touch screen panel. The touch panel included side menus, soft drinks and milkshakes too.

Once you’d made your choice, it was time to pay. As well as the expected credit card, IC card and QR code payment options, Bex Burger also accepts cash — unusual for self-service systems these days. For people who love cash like Mr. Sato does, this was great news.

As Mr. Sato went to the restaurant at a busy time, it took him about 20 minutes from when he made his order to the moment he got his meal. For him it wasn’t such a big deal and he didn’t feel like he had been waiting long, but he appreciated that for some people, the service could have been a little faster. But Mr. Sato had ordered and received his burger without saying a single word. In fact, the only time the staff even spoke was to call out the order numbers, but that didn’t necessarily require a vocal answer from the customers. It really was like a burger vending machine!

Mr. Sato eagerly took his goodies home and opened them up. All the packaging was a cute yellow colour.

But the thing that caught Mr. Sato’s hungry eye first were the fries. The fries are said to be cut and fried in the store, with the skin still on.

The burger itself was pretty eye-catching, with the bun looking plump and delicious. All of the burgers are made with an original Bex Burger recipe and are made at the company’s factory, using Australian beef.

Next up was the topple test. How well would the burger stand up on a plate? Very well, it seemed, and the burger was well stacked, too. Mr. Sato was worried that the burger would start to get saggy during the ride home, but it still seemed pretty rigid. The hamburger patties are made with added beef fat, so that even when the burger starts to cool down, it’s still soft and juicy.

But enough looking! It’s time for the all important taste test! As Mr. Sato sank his teeth into the burger, he was immediately struck with how delicious the bun was. The bun was made with butter from Hokkaido and salt from Awajishima, and all buns are made fresh daily. It was fluffy, but not too soft, and was the real MVP of the burger. The patties are also delicious, and get more tasty the more you chew them. Overall Mr. Sato was very impressed with the burger, especially considering the price.

So what does this mean for the future of burger restaurants? Bex Burger isn’t the only restaurant focusing on self-service takeout meals; Blue Star Burger in Nakameguro is also offering a similar service, and hopefully we will see more in the future. With less members of staff working the tills, it might mean that such delicious burgers will become even cheaper, meaning we can eat more of them!

Restaurant information
Bex Burger / ベックスバーガー
Address: Tokyo, Musashino, Kichijoji Honcho, 1 Chome−8−1 Harada Dai-Ni Biru 1F
東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺本町1-8-1 原田第二ビル1F
Open: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily

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