At This Restaurant, Eat Quinoa With No Human Interaction



Would you eat in a restaurant where you don’t interact with the employees at all? There’s a new restaurant that’s either the next frontier in segregating our society by wealth, or an efficient way to grab a quick bowl of quinoa. Diners order and pay for their meals using tablet computers, then pick them up from glass cubbies, like a neo-automat.

Time for a brief consumer history class: automats, are restaurants that consist solely of vending machines; they’ve existed in different forms in different countries, but the most familiar to Americans would be the Horn & Hardart chain in major cities. The automated cafeterias had high-quality meals and desserts in little cubbies behind glass doors, and customers bought them using coins for each individual item.

Eatsa, a new restaurant in San Francisco, is the latest restaurant to revive the idea, using tablets to take orders, then serving the meals in cubbies with translucent screens on the front, where the customer’s name pops up.

SFGate calls it a “fully automated restaurant,” but it really isn’t. A fully automated restaurant would have robots making the food, and we’ll get there soon enough. At Eatsa, there are employees making the food. They stay invisible on the other side of the wall, though, so you can pretend that you’re in a robot-run establishment. The food is vegetarian, based on quinoa, and early visitors gave it good reviews, especially for the price. There are eight items on the menu each day, each of which costs $7.

Fast food reinvented? Eatsa, a fully automated restaurant, opens today (via NPR)

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