This fall, New York will be home to Eatsa, a California-based restaurant where the menu consists solely of custom quinoa bowls. The only strange part is, there are no cashiers. All orders are taken on iPads and when your quinoa is ready, your name pops up on an LCD screen and your bowl magically appears in the cubby below the screen. It is basically like a healthier, more high tech vending machine.
The restaurant’s founder David Friedberg wanted to base his fast-food venture around quinoa because it is healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally sustainable than meat. He also hopes to use technology to encourage healthy eating around the country. He eventually envisions Eatsa restaurants being “built into shipping containers and dropped into neighborhoods with no source of healthy foods.” To encourage healthier diets, he also wants to create discounts for regulars; this would be possible because all Eatsa transactions must be made through credit cards or mobile phones. Finally, Friedberg hopes to experiment with foods on the molecular level to create meals that taste as indulgent as junk or fast foods but are actually healthy.
The restaurant has thrived in both San Francisco (where it was founded) and Los Angeles, and now it is time to give the East coast a try. With the fast checkout transactions and low prices (only $6.95 per quinoa bowl), Eatsa is sure to be a hit in any busy city, but especially New York. Check out the restaurant this autumn at 285 Madison Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets.