Robots (and some hidden chefs) will serve quinoa to customers at a fast-food restaurant opening in midtown Manhattan later this year, according to reports.
There will be no cashiers at Eatsa’s midtown location, just lines of iPads and rows of cubby holes handing over quinoa.
Eatsa’s first New York City location opens at 285 Madison Avenue in the fall, Grub Street reported. Right now, the fast-food chain has two locations in San Francisco and one in the Los Angeles area.
There are a few stages to the Eatsa system. First, customers swipe their credit cards at an iPad. After that, a list of quinoa-based menu items pops up. Diners can customize their dishes before finishing their orders.
The all-vegetarian menu is inspired by different types of cuisine. There’s a Mexican burrito bowl, a Japanese bento bowl, an Indian spice market bowl and a Mediterranean Greek salad bowl, among others. A breakfast menu includes a southwestern scramble and a yogurt quinoa parfait.
While the system that prepares the food is mostly automated, there are still about five employees who prep, assemble and deliver meals to the cubbies, according to Fast Company. But they may not be around forever. Scott Drummond, a cofounder of Eatsa, said he sees a future where robots do it all.
After the food is assembled, it’s delivered to one of the cubbies. All of the cubbies have a transparent, LCD-screened door that displays each customer’s name. A customer taps the door and it flips open, revealing the packaged food and beverage.
"The food comes out in little cubby holes. It’s so neat to see your cubby go dark and then your food appear with your name on it," one user said of an Eatsa location in San Francisco.
Eatsa is a bit reminiscent of the now-defunct Bamn! on the Lower East Side. That automat-style eatery consisted of rows of vending machines serving up corn dogs and grilled cheese.