Jim Rastetter, dispensed beverage category manager for GPM Investments, Richmond, Virginia, has been with the company three and a half years, the entire time in this role. Prior to that, he worked at Speedway for seven years. He manages the fountain for GPM’s more than 1,400 stores under brands like Fas Mart, Shore Stop, Scotchman, BreadBox, Young’s and Li’l Cricket.

What’s new and exciting in your category?
What’s really exciting is launching bean-to-cup in more than 550 stores in 2022. We are very pleased to give customers a great-tasting cup of coffee that is always fresh and always available. There also is a lot to look forward to in the frozen dispensed space. GPM Investments has a great partnership with Frazil, and it is very exciting to see their team continue to innovate. There has been a lot of buzz around their new energy frozen drinks. I especially like the Orange Crème Energy Frazil, which GPM Investments will be offering in all of our stores beginning in April.

Any recent changes to how you’re displaying products?
The Schaerer Art C bean-to-cup equipment has allowed GPM Investments to display our coffee program better to our customers. A big win has been being able to merchandise the fresh beans and have them visible for customers to see. This conveys freshness that customers today are looking for.

What do you love about your category?
I love working closely with our operations team to deliver a great dispensed beverage program. ... Their efforts ultimately are what makes a program successful.

What trends are you watching?
Trends in coffee and fountain sales. During COVID, the industry saw sharp declines in the dispensed category, and it has taken some time for customers to come back. Fortunately, it looks like 2023 is going to be a great year, and customers appear excited to get back out and shop their favorite beverage. I am also closely looking at inflationary trends.

What products performed well in the past year?
Frozen dispensed has done exceptionally well. We have a strong partner, Frazil, who has helped us deliver a great product to our customers who love trying our new flavors. GPM rotates frozen dispensed flavors several times a year, and this has continued to keep the category fresh and generate excitement.

“Customers appear excited to get back out and shop their favorite beverage.”

What are your goals for 2023?
Continue to drive coffee, fountain and frozen dispensed sales. Executing this will be achieved by continuing to expand bean-to-cup into more stores, ensuring that fountain assortments meet the expectations of customers and continuing to innovate in all categories.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
I think it will be really interesting to see how customers respond to being able to purchase a Frazil energy beverage. Energy drinks have been widely successful in the c-store business and have become a major staple in the cooler section. I am excited to be able to offer a cool energy drink as part of our frozen dispensed program.