A modern spin on the automat, eatsa (which opened in San Francisco in August) is designed to serve fast-casual-like quinoa bowls at fast-food speed and prices to technophiles in a “frictionless” environment. Guests place orders themselves, then track the status on 46-inch TVs and retrieve food from individual cubbies with LCD-clad touchscreen doors—no waitstaff involved. The twist: A concierge is on hand to deliver “high-value interactions and touch points,” says co-owner Tim Young. “We’re fundamentally creating a new kind of experience.”
Guests who don’t order ahead via mobile app do so on tablets in-house. They accept payment (credit or debit only), recall past orders, make recommendations and provide service cues, “almost like your cashier at your favorite coffee spot who knows you,” says Young.
Warming to technology
“We don’t want our customers to feel like it’s a sterile environment,” says Young of the warm wood tones in the design. To make sure that sensibility is carried through to service, “we actually built a mock environment before launching and did a significant amount of user testing of every aspect,” he says.