Robot-Run Eatery Sued for Not Being Accessible to the Blind
Eatsa — the fast-food automat that’s taking the world by storm — should run perfectly because it’s staffed by robot technology and not humans… right? The tech-savvy startup with locations in California, New York, and Washington, D.C., is being sued by the nonprofit Disability Rights Advocates for not providing ordering kiosks with accessibility for the blind. The class-action lawsuit claimed that people with disabilities — particularly sight impairment — are not accommodated in the store’s ordering model or interior design.
“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, according to Fox News.
The restaurants have voice-activated technology, but the lawsuit claims that these features have either been deactivated or do not work.
Eatsa has refuted these claims, telling Recode that their restaurants are accessible, and customers can always ask the “human hosts” for help if necessary.
“We are strong supporters of the rights of the visually impaired and have served many visually impaired customers since we opened our first Eatsa in 2015,” the company said in a statement. “[Our technology] is designed to be compatible with the appropriate assistance features. We truly think there is some error in their understanding of the Eatsa technology and service and look forward to working through this amicably so we can continue providing a great service to all of our customers.”