We talk plenty about Eatsa's technology, but rarely its food. That's one sign that the company's tech is bigger than its quinoa.
— Kristen Hawley
Eatsa was once the restaurant that no one who talks about restaurants and the future could stop talking about… until it wasn’t.
The original location, which opened in San Francisco in 2015 to serve its quinoa bowls free from any human interaction, is still operational. But earlier this year, Eatsa scaled back its operations in other cities, from Berkeley to New York. Now, other restaurants realize that Eatsa’s food was never the draw — but its technology is.
A new location of Chicago’s Wao Bao opened last week, and uses Eatsa’s technology to create a completely human-free restaurant interaction. Touch-screen ordering, cubbies containing your order that light up when it’s ready, and payment technology mean you don’t have to talk to a human to get lunch. (Eater Chicago has images of the whole experience.)
When Eatsa announced the closing of many of its locations across the country, company representatives said they grew too fast and didn’t have enough time to properly hone the menu. It’s also totally possible that Eatsa’s real value lies not in its quinoa, but in the technology used to serve it.