Coming to K Street this Fall “eatsa, an unprecedented, fully-automated faster food experience”

by Prince Of Petworth September 23, 2016 at 10:20 am 23 Comments

Rendering of 1627 K Street, NW

From a press release:

“eatsa, an unprecedented, fully-automated faster food experience, will open the doors to its first Washington location in D.C.’s bustling business district on K Street (1627 K Street NW) this fall. D.C.’s new eatsa is just steps away from the White House, bringing Washingtonians the brand’s signature, customizable and flavorful bowls — with quinoa at the core — at an unbeatable price point.

eatsa’s glass cubbies display personalized messages about your order.

All eatsa bowls start at $6.95 and come in a wide variety of globally-inspired, customizable options, such as the teriyaki Bento Bowl, with edamame, stir-fry quinoa and apple-cabbage slaw and the Burrito Bowl, with guacamole, asada portobello mushrooms and tortilla chips. eatsa also serves coffee, tea and small sides, including fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits.

eatsa Bento Bowl with edamame, stir-fry quinoa and apple-cabbage slaw.

eatsa guests can order their meals via a first-of-its-kind automated food pick-up system featuring a collection of glass door “cubbies” that display personalized graphics, producing a customized meal within minutes. Customers can also skip the line by ordering through the eatsa mobile app. eatsa’s delicious, hearty bowls are great for quick breakfast, lunch and dinner options that provide a substantial amount of protein and are served in as quickly as 90 seconds.

“Customers are looking for a new take on fast food and eatsa fills that void by combining the speed and affordability of fast food with delicious flavors and premium wholesome ingredients,” says eatsa CEO Tim Young. “Besides providing delicious food to happy customers, we want to dispel two common food service notions: that food served fast must be junk food and that healthy food is always more expensive.” “

  • That One Guy

    It’s all fun and games until you see bits of robot in your food bowl. Ha.
    In all honesty I’d prefer a little more of a human touch. Like Murakami writes you can have two bar tenders makes the same drink but have them taste different.

    • anon

      Yeah, I heard the general populace loves when Chipotle workers add a personal touch to their burrito bowls.
      Cooking is an art form that will probably survive even the most automation-heavy future, but fast casual food from a chain isn’t going to be that. I think this place could do well and spell a trend if done well. I’ll reserve judgment til I try it.

  • downing street memo

    Funny how everything old becomes new again. This “unprecedented” concept is called an automat and has existed for at least 100 years.

    • MsSunshine

      Was coming here to say just that…
      Also, world, please stop hyphenating -ly adverbs! You are making my eyes bleed!

      • Truxton Thomas

        THANK YOU! This drives me crazy, thanks to journalism school. Will you be my friend?

        • MsSunshine

          J-School grads of the world UNITE!

    • neighbor

      An automat just had people preparing the food and putting it in the cubbies, which customers then paid for. This appears to be on demand mechanized prep, which would indeed be unprecedented. But I bet you feel superior to the writer of this press release, and that’s what’s important here, no?

    • jenster8dc

      A friend called the automats in the Netherlands “wall food.”

  • Craig

    It’s “unprecedented” only to the ignorant. I suspect Horn and Hardart are rolling in their graves.

    In my experience, the best thing at automats was always the lemon meringue pie. :)

    • Truxton Thomas
      • Anon

        Love that.

    • L.

      To be more charitable, it’s “unprecedented” not to the ignorant but rather to anyone under age 50 or so who’s never seen an automat. I still think “unprecedented” is stretching it — vending machines serving hot and prepared food have never really gone away. I’ve seen machines where you can get fresh pizza, burritos, soup, hot sandwiches, etc. all over the country.

      • DC_KT

        I’m well under 50, and I know what automats were. Why is it ok to have complete ignorance about anything that happened before you were born?

        Also, apparently humans will be preparing this food behind the scenes and putting them in the cubbies, so…it’s exactly an automat.

    • anon

      Yeah. I heard automation technologies haven’t advanced in any way since the 50s and this won’t be any better than that (failed) concept.
      Obviously, “unprecedented” is open to interpretation. But this is something new that may very well signal a trend (BoLoCo is halfway there with its touchscreen ordering; along with every fast-casual place with an app for placing orders) in automated food service. At that price point, they’re probably frontloading a cost of setup and then saving a ton on labor; if it works, it going to get adopted, and people probably aren’t going to credit the 50’s automat for the trend.

      • anon

        Additionally. It appears automats served food that was previously prepared by humans. As far as I can tell, this place has an automated process for compiling ingredients (and possibly cooking them ahead of time? It’s unclear).
        There is far more that could be automated today than could have been in the 50s.

        • PCC

          An automat still had a manual cashier, and couldn’t customize the food (which involves more labor than parceling out identical dishes). So, in those two ways it’s substantially more automated than an Automat.

  • jphammer78

    AWESOME!!! Keep pushing that minimum wage. Capitalism is always two steps ahead.

  • Barry

    I bet there are 100 trained chimpanzees in the back making the food. I’ll believe its robots when I see the robots.

    • INWDC

      Actually, people will in fact be preparing the food, it’s just the point-of-sale transaction carbonlifeform is removed from the equation. Apparently, and I don’t know if this is something that will always be there, there’s a “greeter/orienter” to herd the humans to their nourishment dispensers and answer any stupid human questions we’re sometimes known for.

  • anonymoose

    One of the primary funders is Monsanto….

  • Nancy

    Ah, back to the automat. The era of & location for some of my favorite films.

  • Yeah… there’s nothing unprecedented here at all. A Philly-based fast casual chain named honeygrow uses touchscreen kiosks for their ordering process, too. And they even let you see the people who are making your food, instead of sequestering them behind a wall. (Can you imagine working back there? Dear god, I hope they at least let them have a window.)


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