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uWink logo

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[1] 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".[2]

uWink's stock opened at $4.75 on July 31, 2007. By December 2012 it was trading at less than one cent.[3]


Interior of uWink bistro in Mountain View, California.

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[edit]

uWink bistro in Mountain View, California.

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.[12] 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.[13] Their first bistro was expected to open in Canada by early spring 2008.

During February, 2009, uWink delisted itself from the NASDAQ.[14][15]

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.[16]

In January, 2010, uWink closed its first restaurant in Woodland Hills, California.[4]

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.


External links[edit]