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Automated Restaurant Opens in New York City (Again)

Eatsa, which already has a Washington, D.C., location, uses touchscreens for orders.
December 23, 2016

​NEW YORK CITY – More than 100 years after the first automated restaurant opened its doors in New York City, the self-service restaurant Eatsa is ready for business, reports the Washington Post. Eatsa has a Washington, D.C., location too.

In 1902, Horn & Hardart’s Automat opened its doors providing apple pie, prepackaged sandwiches or a homecooked meal delivered via its patented vending machines. Today, Eatsa offers a variety of dishes in a self-service format.

Touchscreen kiosks walk customers through the ordering process, providing nutritional information along the way, and payment options. Once the order is complete, customers check a board to find their assigned delivery window. Rather than the clear glass of yesteryear, today’s window compartments feature video screens to entertain customers while they wait.

Eatsa still has workers scurrying around behind the scene to make the magic happen, such as food prep. Workers inside the store also guide customers through ordering and pickup. So Eatsa isn’t as fully automated as it might appear at first glance.

Foodservice isn’t the only area to consider full automation. Panasonic has been working with Lawson convenience stores in Japan to fully automate the checkout process.