uWink, Inc. (stock symbol: UWKI) was a publicly traded digital entertainment company based in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in 2000 by Nolan Bushnell, the co-founder and former CEO of both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's. After little success developing interactive entertainment for restaurants, bars and mobile devices for several years in 2006 the company changed focus to their uWink Bistro concept, which it describes as an "entertainment dining experience which leverages its proprietary network and entertainment software, including the uWink Game Library".
uWink Bistros had a touchscreen video terminal at each table. The interactive kiosks allowed patrons to view ingredients and nutritional information for each entree, and supported customization in both food and drink orders. Patrons could transmit their orders to the kitchen via video screen, without any assistance of wait staff.
While waiting for their food, patrons had the option of playing social games (aimed at engaging a group of customers at a table) or viewing movie trailers, music videos, horoscopes, celebrity gossip and comedy skits. Games included "challenge games" such as "Zillionaire" (a trivia game similar to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) as well as multi-player games such as Pong-style games that groups could play away from their tables while they were awaiting their orders.
Locations, expansions, and closures
- Woodland Hills, California, opened on October 16, 2006 in Westfield Promenade and closed in January, 2010. It received mixed to favorable reviews.
- Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, California, opened on June 27, 2008 and closed on September 12, 2010.
- Mountain View, California, opened on September 15, 2008, closed April 21, 2009, in the Castro Street space formerly occupied by California Roadhouse.
On June 11, 2007, uWink announced its first franchise locations would be opened in the Miami, Florida area via an agreement with OCC Partners, LLC. Under the Area Development Agreement, up to three franchised uWink restaurants were expected to be built in the Miami-Dade County area over the next four years.
On June 25, 2007, uWink announced its first joint venture with venture capital firm Jefferson Partners to open uWink locations in Canada. Their first bistro was expected to open in Canada by early spring 2008.
During April, 2009, uWink closed its third restaurant in Mountain View, California. uWink blamed the closure on the location's high rent and general difficulties in the United States economy. Two restaurants in southern California remained open.
In January, 2010, uWink closed its first restaurant in Woodland Hills, California.
On September 12, 2010, uWink announced that they were closing all their stores and would be selling their computer services to other food establishments under the name Tapcode.
- "uWink website archive from 2002.". Archived from the original on October 24, 2001. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
- About uWink
- "uWink Announces Opening of First Restaurant". Retrieved 2007-05-10.
- "Without Much Fanfare, uWink Closes Its Woodland Hills Location". Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- "First (Or Close To It) uWink Restaurant Review". Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- "It's all about 'u' at interactive eatery uWink". Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- "uWink Inc - uWink Hollywood Brings New Level of Food and Fun to Hollywood and Highland Entertainment Complex". Retrieved 2008-07-11.[dead link]
- "uWink to open in Silicon Valley". Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
- uWink Inc. "uWink Inc - Mountain View Homepage". Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- "Stett Holbrook, "The Poet of Play," Metro Silicon Valley Nov. 26, 2008". Retrieved 2008-11-30.
- "uWink Announces First Franchise Area Development Agreement". Retrieved 2007-06-11.[dead link]
- "uWink Announces Plans for Canadian Restaurant Joint Venture". Retrieved 2007-07-01.[dead link]
- Ross, Andrew S. (February 11, 2009). "The top 200 companies". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- "UWink closes in Mountain View". April 21, 2009.