Eatsa, the modern automat that opened its first location in San Francisco in 2015, has been sued for not accommodating blind patrons in its ordering model or store design.
Disability rights advocates filed the class action suit earlier this week in New York City, according to Recode (view the suit in full, below). The fast-food chain, which specializes in quinoa-based bowls, currently runs two locations in Manhattan. There are a total of seven outlets in California, D.C., and New York.
Tablet kiosks, a mobile app, self-service credit card scanners, and wall-mounted clear pick-up food lockers (which must be tapped to open) make it possible to walk into an Eatsa location, order, pay, pick-up, and eat a meal without speaking to a single human being. But operators failed to consider clientele with visual impairments.
As the suit notes, today’s tablet technology can be adapted for blind or low-vision customers, but the plaintiffs allege that Eatsa has not implemented it. Voice activation technology is commonplace, headphone jacks on tablets enable users to hear instructions instead of read them, and iPad tablet screens allow those with low vision to zoom in on text — but Eatsa has disabled these features. Eatsa could also provide braille keyboards, as Recode notes, but does not. The suit invokes the Americans With Disabilities Act mandate that businesses not discriminate against those with disabilities.
“Because the self-service mobile applications, touchscreen tablets, and visually-marked cubbies Eatsa utilizes rely on exclusively visual displays and do not provide any form of audio output or tactile input, Eatsa’s design is entirely inaccessible to blind customers,” the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs are asking that Eatsa correct its errors, pay for attorney and legal fees, and “grant such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.”
Eatsa has not yet responded to requests for comment. See the lawsuit in full, below.