Eat at Recess
San Diego-based Eat at Recess provides lunch, entertainment and interactivity with NEC’s 46” X461HB on its unique food truck that travels to local corporate offices.
- Facility: Eat at Recess
- Vertical: Restaurant
- Location: San Diego, CA
- Challenges: Decrease stress and improve the health and well-being of corporate America by creating an interactive, entertaining lunch hour with a mobile playground and healthy meals made for adults
- Solution: 46” NEC X461HB
- Result: Crystal clear display for entertaining and informing customers
- Date: September 2011
Eat at Recess, a San Diego-based food truck founded in September 2011 by entrepreneur Jason Swinford, bills itself as a “mobile custom playground of organic salads, sandwiches and gourmet burgers.” Eat at Recess’ menu items feature ingredients from humanely raised animals that were never given antibiotics or hormones. The truck uses organic and local ingredients whenever possible. In addition, everything at Recess, from its forks to its containers to its cups, is fully compostable.
Prior to founding Eat at Recess, Swinford worked in brand marketing for a global technology company. Like many in business, he spent lunchtime working at his desk, in meetings or on conference calls. Eventually, he began to see the toll that a highpressure lifestyle was taking on his health and the well-being of those with whom he worked. That realization, combined with a love for nutritious food, led him to where he is today.
“When I was a kid, recess was the best time of the day,” Swinford said. “The emphasis of the truck is bringing back recess for others; getting them outside and giving them something healthful to eat rather than having them take their lunch back to their cubicles and eat in front of the computer.”
The idea came from thinking about what kids play on the playground at recess. By installing an Xbox Kinect, there would be no parts to lose, and passersby can simply walk up to the truck, begin playing and get some exercise in a fun way. Generally, coworkers go to lunch in pairs or groups, so it’s something that can bond colleagues even further, outside the conference room.
When developing the idea for Eat at Recess and its accompanying video playground, Swinford realized he needed a video screen that would be capable of withstanding constant use and travel. In addition, the screen needed to be able to adjust automatically to a variety of lighting conditions and provide the inputs needed to connect the image and audio sources.
“When we were building our truck, we knew we wanted an LCD display, and that it would be under direct sunlight with a lot of vibration, heat, moisture and so forth,” said Swinford. “Obviously, the truck drives to various locations five or six days a week, so ruggedness was a big concern.”
Thanks to his background in the technology industry, Swinford knew the jargon and what he needed to look for, so he conducted the bulk of his search online. NEC’s website featured detailed information and downloadable data sheets covering its products, so he was able to compare NEC’s products with those of a number of other manufacturers. After considering a variety of options, Swinford chose the NEC X461HB.
This 46” model displays images at amazing brightness levels no matter the lighting conditions. Ideal for demanding outdoor applications and environments heavy with ambient light, this model has 110% higher brightness than NEC’s previous-generation displays while consuming only 50% more power.
The X461HB is permanently mounted to the side of the Eat at Recess truck in a weatherproof canopy-style enclosure. When Swinford arrives at a lunchtime location, he simply swings the door up to expose the screen.
What makes Swinford’s operation really unique is the Xbox Kinect and Blu-ray player connected to the display. Patrons can listen to their favorite music or challenge their friends to a video game dance-off. The truck is available for private parties and picnics, making the screen perfect for displaying cartoons for the kids. Other uses for the X461HB include displaying QR codes that link to promotional spots. This is incorporated into the truck’s Brand Ambassador program that provides incentives to regular customers.
“We typically have the same five lunch stops every week, so we see a lot of repeat visitors,” he said. “We want to reward those who visit us on a regular basis, and we use the screen for that.”
Both Swinford and his customers are pleased with the performance of the display thus far.
“I can happily report that after six months of use, the monitor is crystal clear, and customers especially love playing Xbox Kinect,” said Swinford.