San Francisco is home to a new high-tech fast food joint that provides a dining experience like no other. Located off the Embarcadero on the eastern waterfront, Eatsa serves up healthy dishes using an automated delivery process that replaces servers with self-serve cubicles. The San Francisco restaurant is one of several planned by entrepreneurs Scott Drummond and Tim Young, who are working on bringing this new style of dining to Los Angeles in the coming months. .
Diners entering the restaurant are greeted by one or two employees providing technical support and guiding customers through the ordering process. The only other employees are a small kitchen staff preparing the food behind the scenes. This small staff reduces labor costs, which account for 30 percent of a the restaurant industry’s costs.
Customers use an iPad at an available table to create their own dish or choose from eight different suggested bowls, such as the Burrito bowl, with quinoa as the central ingredient. Quinoa was selected as a staple for the company because it is packed with a complete form of protein and is an environmentally efficient crop to produce. Each bowl costs $6.95 and feeds one person. All ordering is done through the iPad using a credit card for payment. The system will attach a name to each order and create a profile for future use.
After placing an order, the meal is assembled and placed in a translucent cubby for customer pickup. Customers are identified by first their first name and last initial and are alerted when their food is ready. Early reviews of the service are favorable with customers praising the food for its fresh flavor and ample portions. Other customers commented that they expected a cold and impersonal experience, but discovered that they enjoyed the “interactive digital bells and whistles”, which gave the restaurant an entertaining quality.
Besides providing delicious food to happy customers, Eatsa also wants to dispel two common food service notions — one that food served fast must be junk food and two that healthy food is always expensive to provide. By automating the process and reducing labor costs, Eatsa can lower the cost of operating a restaurant, making it financially practical for restauranteurs to purchase higher quality ingredients for their meals. Automation also speeds up the ordering and delivery process, allowing the restaurant to serve freshly-prepared meals quickly to customers.
Eatsa’s flagship San Francisco restaurant is located off the Embarcadero at 121 Spear Street at 121 Spear Street. The restaurant is open for lunch and take-out dinners every Monday through Friday from 11 a.m to 5 p.m.