American Council of the Blind, Michael Godino, et al. v. Keenwawa, Inc., d/b/a Eatsa
On March 23, 2017 DRA filed a class action lawsuit against Eatsa, a chain of eateries touted as the “restaurant of the future,” for its failure to make its New York locations accessible for people with visual disabilities.
Each step of Eatsa’s ordering and food pick-up systems is entirely inaccessible to blind or low vision customers. While the tablets used in Eatsa’s self-service ordering kiosks could easily provide assistive technology that make text accessible to blind and low vision users with a few taps, these kiosks do not. Strikingly, the audio jacks and home buttons required for accessible options are covered by a frame and no tactile features exist on the kiosks. Moreover, Eatsa’s phone app is also incompatible with screen reader technology and its self-service food pickup process has no audible or tactile cues. While Eatsa’s kiosks contain an option to request assistance from an employee, this feature, like every other feature on the kiosk, is inaccessible to blind customers.
Eatsa restaurants utilize automation and other technology to create a unique, totally self-service restaurant experience. Eatsa customers order their meals through a phone app or at one of a number of in-store ordering kiosks. When the food is ready, the customer’s name appears on a screen along with a number. The number directs the customer to a cubby where they can retrieve their food. The entire process is silent and lacks any tactile features. As a result, blind and low vision customers are unable to independently access Eatsa restaurants.
As with other cases DRA has litigated in this realm, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the Defendant institutes a comprehensive remedial scheme that can meaningfully address the current exclusion of people with visual disabilities from Eatsa restaurants.