Kitchen Bump Bar Plays Doom Between Orders

For as much as we love reverse engineering projects, we have to admit that we almost passed up on this “kitchen bump bar” hack. Having never had the privilege of working in the food-service industry — well, there was that time working at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but that only lasted for one shift — we were unaware of what a bump bar is, and the whys and hows of hacking one to the point where it can play Doom.

We’re glad we stuck with it, though, because [Kiwa]’s hack is pretty cool, and we got to learn a little about the technology of the modern commercial kitchen. Most fast food and family casual restaurants have what’s known as a “kitchen display system”, which relays orders from the wait staff to the kitchen. You’ve probably seen parts of the KDS, like the touch screens used by the wait staff to enter orders, or the screens dangling in the kitchen that display the pending orders. A bump bar is a small terminal used by the kitchen crew to review orders and move them around in the queue, or “bump” them, as needs dictate.

The bump bar [Kiwa] dug into appears to be a model from the early 2000s and very sturdily built, as anything used in a kitchen would need to be. Hooked up to a monitor and a keyboard, [Kiwa] discovered that it booted right into an OS with all the familiar trappings of DOS. After a detour for a teardown and dumping the flash contents, [Kiwa] was able to boot it up and run Doom, albeit somewhat slowly. It also looks like he’s got a couple of different Windows versions running, and even played some Solitaire.

It’s always fun to see what will run Doom — an NES, an oscilloscope, a thermostat, or even a bag of potatoes.

Thanks to [Fritnando] for the tip.

6 thoughts on “Kitchen Bump Bar Plays Doom Between Orders

    1. Amazing it plays quake at all, given it’s meant to have a 386sx40 clone in it. I smell something like UMC 486 or Winchip optimisations, but labeling it as a 386 to use the more widely available 386 licenses. Also I know it runs (Ok crawls) on a fast 486, but I was sure it had to be a DX, not that I’ve ever had an SX2 to play with and clock to a decent speed. However, I do think I fired quake up once on a UMC SL running at 50Mhz and saw slideshow speeds.

        1. Still have a Rise MP6 super socket 7 chip on the shelf. Although I’m pretty sure it gave up the ghost at the dawn of the Pentium 3 era, having achieved a truly phenomenal rate of throughput for about long enough to see the numbers on the screen and smell the bits cooking.

          I do have Vortex86 boxes still working though. Those’re neat. I’ll need to write those up then reference it on Wikipedia to get rid of that “some sources say” hypothetical nonsense… they’re not that oddball.

  1. Typically it’s a neudarded pentium without the fpu and clocked slower. They’re pretty much a semi smart terminal connected via serial or ethernet. A lot of POS/Kitchen systems ran Real32 that was a multitasking DOS.

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