CStore Decisions caught up with Dora Ocampo, senior foodservice category manager for Waltham, Mass.-based Global Partners, to learn more about her approach to the foodservice category. Global Partners operates more than 300 stores across New England and New York with many different banners (Alltown, Xtramart, Jiffy Mart, Honey Farms, etc.). Of those 300-plus stores, 75% have some form of foodservice, whether made-to-order deli operations, franchises or commissary sandwiches.
CStore Decisions (CSD): How long have you been the senior foodservice category manager for Global Partners, and what attracted you to the position?
Dora Ocampo (DO): I’ve been a senior category manager for a little over two years but have been with Global Partners for almost seven years. During my time at Global, I felt the commissary foodservice category had an immense opportunity for growth and innovation. I was especially attracted to the position because I’m often the target consumer for the products we sell, which made procurement of products
that much more exciting.
CSD: Are you adding anything new to the foodservice offering, such as limited-time offers, etc., in early 2022?
DO: I have been working on a proprietary breakfast sandwich program that we will launch in 2022. We’ve developed five different breakfast sandwich options to appeal to a variety of tastes. These sandwiches are intended to pair with our delicious bean-to-cup coffee that we successfully rolled out across the chain in 2021, so that we can become a destination for a great breakfast.
CSD: What are some of the things you look for in convenience store foodservice equipment?
DO: First and foremost, I look for performance. I ask myself (and the equipment experts), ‘Is this piece of equipment going to keep my products at a food-safe temperature?’ Next, I look for equipment that is aesthetically pleasing, inviting and has opportunities for marketing messaging.
I’ve also been looking at the overall sustainability of equipment and opting for equipment with environmentally friendly call-outs, like environmentally friendly refrigerants and choosing LED lighting options.
CSD: What do you wish you had known when you were first getting started in c-store foodservice?
DO: There are a couple of things that I’ve learned along the way that would’ve been helpful to know when I first got started in this industry. One is that there isn’t a cookie-cutter formula that will work everywhere. An Italian sandwich can be my best-seller almost everywhere, but if this one store or one geotype can’t give it away, I need to be agile and pivot.
I’ve also learned the importance of collaborating with cross-functional departments, such as operations and marketing. With their support and input, we’ve executed some great programs at Global.