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Brightloom's smart shelf technology tells customers where to pick up their orders. Photo: Brightloom

Eatsa is taking the final step away from its roots as a restaurant chain, adopting the new name Brightloom and striking a deal with Starbucks to offer the coffee giant's technology for mobile ordering and payment to other restaurants.

Why it matters: The company sees far more opportunity in helping existing restaurants digitize than in operating its own eateries.

As a restaurant, Eatsa was known for allowing urban lunchgoers to order a quinoa bowl via an app and pick it up ready-made from one of its kiosk-filled locations. However, the company has closed the last of those locations and is remaking itself as a provider of technology services.

  • Brightloom plans to combine technology licensed from Starbucks with its own restaurant-modernization products, like its kiosks and smart shelves.
  • Starbucks, meanwhile, will get an undisclosed equity stake in Brightloom and a seat on its board of directors.

The deal was in the works in April, when former Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman took over as Eatsa's CEO, a move first reported by Axios.

Under the arrangement with Starbucks, Brightloom:

  • will have a license to use the underlying technology that powers Starbucks mobile ordering, personalization, payment and loyalty program.
  • is getting a $30 million investment from some of the international licensees of the Starbucks brand, along with current Eatsa investors.
  • will also have those same licensees as key customers. Most international licensees today don't have the same technology as Starbucks has for its company-operated locations.

For Starbucks, the deal offers a way to make some money off its technology without having to support other restaurants using it.

  • While Brightloom has long-term ambitions to deliver the technology to a broad range of customers, for now a lot of its focus will be on equipping Starbucks' international licensees with the technology, something that benefits the brand directly.

What they're saying: "We really are excited about the opportunity to change an industry here," Brotman said in a phone interview Monday.

  • While most restaurants know they need the kinds of capabilities that Starbucks offers its customers, few had the resources or know-how to do so.

Go deeper

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Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.