To read this press release online, go to www.acb.org/eatsa.
NEW YORK — 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;
· Utilize technology to give blind customers independent access to eatsa’s in-store ordering; and
· 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 concurred, 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 athttp://tinyurl.com/ya22r5dk.