Founder of waiter-less fresh food bar Hey Zeus on robots and customer service

The humble Apple store might not automatically conjure images of fresh food, but Newcastle entrepreneur Jacob Beye’s recently-launched salad bar Hey Zeus owes a lot to the famous tech hubs.

The American expat and marketing professional launched the self-serve fast food bar, which is named after his dog and allows punters to place their orders via screens and pick up food via a conveyer belt, after years working on Apple’s store floor and in customer service training roles.

Beye wanted to create a business that sold local, fresh food, that had an eye on customer service and integrated technology well.

He took inspiration from the customer service focus and tech integration of Apple’s retail operations, and says Newcastle was the perfect place to launch a first-of-a-kind business idea.

“One thing [about the city] would be the university here is incredibly engaged in innovation. Another thing would just be the prices, and it’s a bit easier to get things going here.”

The first shopfront opened in June, offering easy ordering off iPads and space for diners to wait for their food to appear. Beye says while there have been some misunderstandings since launching, the technology is there to build a stronger business, not to eliminate people’s jobs. Read more

Emma Koehn – Smart Company – 11 July 2017