The Touchscreen Generation Gets Its Automat
A “fully automated restaurant,” called Eatsa, has just opened in San Francisco and is being hailed as “the future” of fast food. With its human-free ordering system and food delivery via glass-fronted compartment, it sure sounds a lot like the automats popular in days of yore. You know, where you put a few coins in the slot, reach in, and grab your sandwich or piece of pie?
So retro, so cool, but sadly the last Horn & Hardart Automat (at 200 42nd Street, at Third Avenue, in New York City) closed in 1991. And Eatsa, if it does owe a debt to its predecessor, dwells definitively in the high-tech here and now.
Diners at the brand-new flagship location near SF’s Embarcadero order their meals on in-store iPads, with nary a human in site, SFGate.com reports. (Well, OK, there’s one lone worker roaming around just to make sure ordering is glitch-free.)
Behind the scenes, five or six people work to feverishly prepare your meal; moments later, it appears in a glass-fronted compartment for you to remove and enjoy.
The menu — devoid of meat but heavy on quinoa — also sounds fresh and new. And at $6.95 a pop, the meals, which come in “bowls,” are affordable as well. Customers can order from a menu of eight bowls, or customize their own.
Eatsa seems to be a hit so far with lunching office workers, and the team behind it expects to open a location in Los Angeles and another San Francisco location in the coming months. They’re working on an order-speeding app too.
Eat your heart out, Doris Day.