eatsa Agrees to Make its Cutting-Edge Technology Accessible to Blind Customers
New York, NY—September 14, 2017—eatsa, a growing, national fast-casual restaurant chain, has reached an agreement with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and members of the blind community in New York and California to make its automated self-service restaurant experience accessible to blind customers throughout the country.
eatsa utilizes a high-tech service model in which customers order meals via its smartphone app or at an in-store iPad kiosk. When the order is ready, the meal appears in a cubby where the customer retrieves the order. Over the past six months, eatsa has been in negotiations with ACB and several of its members, represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), and blind Californians, Serena Olsen and Darian Smith, represented by Timothy Elder of the TRE Legal Practice, and Stuart Seaborn.
As a result, eatsa has agreed to incorporate accessible design features into its software and hardware that will allow blind users to use the system independently. Under the agreement, eatsa will:
- Make its mobile applications accessible through common smartphone screen readers. (Screen readers are software that enables blind individuals to operate computers, smart phones, and other devices by converting the text displayed graphically on the screen into audible, synthesized speech or outputting that information on a digital braille display.)
- Utilize technology to give blind customers independent access to eatsa’s in-store ordering
- Implement an order notification process so that blind customers who order through an in-store kiosk or via eatsa’s mobile applications can independently retrieve their orders through eatsa’s food pick-up system
This agreement resolves a class-wide federal lawsuit brought in the Southern District of New York by ACB and Michael Godino, a New Yorker who is legally blind.
Kim Charlson, President of ACB, said: “ACB and its members are pleased that eatsa will be using its innovative technology to incorporate accessible design in its new market technology.” Michael Godino concurs, stating: “Inclusion in new marketing advances is paramount to the community. I look forward to equal, independent access at all the eatsa restaurants.”
“Incorporating accessibility into software and hardware from the get-go is good business,” stated Michelle Caiola, Director of Litigation at DRA’s New York Office. “We hope that as other companies emulate similar business models they too will make accessibility a priority.”
A copy of the Agreement is available below.
About Disability Rights Advocates
Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.
About the American Council of the Blind
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) works to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all people who are blind or visually-impaired. ACB advocates for policies that provide services, opportunities, infrastructure, and equipment that are necessary for an inclusive society, in federal, state, and local governments, and among service providers and industry. For more information, visit www.acb.org.