When you walk into Eatsa, a new restaurant at the Village at Westfield Topanga, there is no host, no waiters or even tables. The restaurant is an empty space lined with iPads on one wall, interactive clear cubbies (glass doors) on another, and a wall outfitted with motion sensors that dispense cutlery.
This is fast food the Eatsa way. The restaurant, which has a location in San Francisco, is completely automated — minus the food preparation.
"There are three people in the back that make everything from scratch," said Travis Jones, who is head of the culinary operations at both Eatsa locations. "We believe in blending technology and proper culinary skills, and it's a blend that makes the whole process work."
There's also one "red shirt" in the front — a person wearing a red shirt, meant to help facilitate the process, similar to the workers at the front of an Apple Store.
The restaurant serves custom and signature quinoa bowls, and that's it, except for a few side dishes, including house-made potato chips, tortilla chips and guacamole and cups of fruit.
Jones says the quinoa is made using a secret 12-hour process. And the most popular bowl they sell? It's the burrito bowl, made with guacamole, salsa fresca, queso, Portabello "asada," grilled corn, warm lemon and herb toasted quinoa, tortilla chips and pinto beans.
To order a bowl, you have to commandeer an iPad, then slide your credit card to start the ordering process. Choose your bowl, or make your own with a selection of vegetables and quinoa. (Each bowl is $6.95.) There's also a small selection of handcrafted fruit-flavored sodas.
Once you place your order, your name shows up on a list of orders on a big screen, located on top of a wall of interactive clear cubbies. Wait for your name to reach the top of the list, then look out for your cubby to light up. One of the glass doors will completely black out (you're not supposed to see any actual humans behind the cubby wall), then display your name, with instructions to tap the door twice. The door opens and voila — your order is ready.
It takes two to three minutes for your food to be prepared. But it's a new location, and Jones is aiming for an even shorter wait time.
"We're still in training, so we're not at peak efficiency," said Jones. "In San Francisco, we serve about 1,000 people in three hours."
Once you grab your food, you visit the cutlery wall, where there are forks, knives and spoons waiting. The only thing you'll have to do yourself? Find a table outside to eat your quinoa bowl.
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Los Angeles, (818) 594-8732, www.eatsa.com.