The Return of Automats

Those nifty Automats of yesteryear, which featured rows of vending machines—deposit coins, open door, grab burger—are getting a revamp.
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automat food cubbies

San Fran vegetarian startup Eatsa launched a modern take in 2015: Visitors place orders and pay at an iPad kiosk and pick up their food from a cubby when their name appears on the door. The flagship won fans for its speed and prices—just $7 for a customizable quinoa bowl—and there are now eight spots in Washington, D.C., California and New York City. 

Behind the scenes at each, a small crew makes sure orders are up to scratch and will help if any issues come up. “It was like being in an episode of The Jetsons,” says Rachael Ray Every Day managing editor, Tara Cox, who recently stopped by for a meal. “I was in and out in seven minutes and didn’t even talk to anyone to get my tasty food.”