Foodservice

Matt High of Sheetz Wins Category Manager of the Year for Foodservice

C-store chain has Made To Order platform for its 700 locations
Matt High Sheetz
Photograph by W. Scott Mitchell

Matt High, senior sales manager, Sheetz Inc., Altoona, Pennsylvania, has been with the company six-and-a-half years, the entire time in this role. Prior to that, he worked for six years at 7-Eleven, where he held multiple roles in operations and merchandising. Today, he manages the Sheetz Made To Order foodservice platform for the company’s more than 700 stores.

High (pictured above with Abbey Lewis, vice president of content strategy for CSP, and Krister Hampton, senior manager of industry engagement at Altria) was one of CSP's seven Category Manager of the Year award winners

  • Sheetz is No. 13 on CSP’s 2024 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by store count.

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

What’s new and exciting in your category?

As far as innovation, new equipment is always new and exciting—different ways of making your products better, whether it’s the quality experience to the consumer or how you manage waste and variants in the course of the business. We’re a little different than a lot of our c-store partners to where we have more of a restaurant-style setup, so some of the things exciting for me may not be exciting for everybody else. One example is a system, KPS, we built from the ground up in-house. When you order something, it shows on monitors in the back of the kitchen for staff to see. It tells the employee what to make and how to make it and what ingredients are in it—and how long it’s taking them to make it. There are all kinds of metrics built into it that allows them to understand where they are in the process. It’s been pretty revelatory.

What do you love about the foodservice category?

No two days are ever the same. New and unique challenges always pop up. The customer changes constantly, the business needs change constantly, and for somebody with ADD like I have, it’s pretty helpful. I don’t find myself doing the same things over and over again. It’s always something new and exciting, whether it’s new innovation in the kitchen or new product innovation or working with our R&D partners, there’s always something new and exciting to do and explore.

What trends are you watching?

We’re always watching what the consumer is doing, such as interacting with loyalty—that’s a big trend for us. Currently, we’ve been watching what traffic trends are going on. It changed during COVID and now it’s changing again. Industry-wide, we’re seeing somewhat of a flattening of traffic patterns to the store, but we’re making the best of it. The traffic decline goes back to probably around August. We want to make sure we’re three steps ahead of that, leaning into value offers and things like that to try to ward it off.

What are the biggest challenges in your category?

The biggest challenges we have are pretty much external. We’ve taken on a ton more labor expense and a ton more cost-of-goods expense. Sometimes the consumer just doesn’t understand it from that point of view. The whole economic challenge has been interesting for us. I’ve tried to do what’s best for the consumer while also doing what’s right to help us continue to be able to be in a position to serve our customers.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

I think 2024 has a lot opportunities. Election years typically lead to a little bit of consumer unrest, so I’m looking forward to having that put behind us where we can see consumer confidence sort of solidify, maybe improve. But I’m looking forward to having a great year, and 2024 I think is shaping up to be a really good one.

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