Stud four-star chef Eric Ripert recently opened a new restaurant in the DC Ritz-Carlton called Westend Bistro. In doing research for how to construct the “perfect” burger he spent some time at chain places like McDonald’s and Burger King and found what he thought was key to their success:
Just looking at the basic burgers at each of these chains—particularly the Big Mac—showed me a couple of very key things: First of all, the burgers are a perfect size. You can grab them in both hands, and they’re never too tall or too wide to hold on to. And the toppings are the perfect size, too—all to scale, including the thickness of the tomatoes, the amount of lettuce, etc. In terms of the actual flavors, they taste okay, but you can count on them to be consistent; you always know what you’re going to get.
The scale of the burger and what is served on it is key. If I am tailgating I don’t mind if I get a great burger where I need a roll of paper towels to eat it as everything moves and slides around.
But if I am having a burger in a suit at the Ritz-Carlton things needs to be in proportion and it needs to be easy to consume. Also, another problem with burgers not in proportion is that things do shift and move around, therefore you don’t get all the desired ingredients with each bite. It takes away from the overall “experience.” Not really acceptable if you are paying twenty bucks for a hamburger.