Spoiler alert. The secret sauce? It’s the relationship. If we have learned anything in foodservice through this pandemic, it is that the depth of relationships between manufacturers, restaurant operators and distributors is key to not just surviving, but thriving. Here within Hershey Foodservice, we are thankful to have a relationship-centric focus to our business. Those relationships are cornerstone to mutual success. We win together and work through challenges together. Ed Mack is one of those partnerships created over many years of working together.
Ed owns Cruisin Coffee, a 13-unit drive-thru coffee chain in western Washington state. When Ed founded Cruisin Coffee 28 years ago, we didn’t know each other. However, Ed chose to use Hershey’s Syrup from day one in his mocha beverages. He loved the authentic taste and performance in coffee. “Hershey's Syrup doesn’t have that chemical or powdery, gritty taste. It’s just pure, simple flavor. It’s different from those other chocolate options, the way it’s always been – it hasn’t changed,” said Ed Mack. “There’s not a lot of places out there that use the real Hershey's Syrup, and that’s something that makes us different.”
As his chain expanded, he continued to use Hershey’s Syrup. His mocha drink became a signature offering, and his customers loved it. Hershey’s Syrup was and is a key ingredient for Cruisin Coffee’s success.
Our relationship deepened with Ed in 2017. Hershey was converting from the classic #10 can of syrup to more environmentally friendly pouches and jugs. Amy Duffitt, one of our key Global Inside Sales leaders, called Ed to share the upcoming change and discuss conversion options. It wasn’t easy. Amy shared, “Ed wasn’t thrilled to learn that Hershey was discontinuing the #10 can, but he told me immediately that he wanted to continue using Hershey! He was willing to allow me to provide pack type options and equip him with tools to be able to make an informed decision about which Hershey option would best suit his business.” Amy continued to connect with Ed over the coming weeks. She mapped out next steps, shipped new syrup pouch pumps to Ed and continued to check in. The conversion was a success in the stores. What’s more, this led to Amy checking in with Ed several times each year to discuss how business was going and how Hershey could help.
“The Hershey folks really care, and they consistently call me every quarter to just check in,” said Ed Mack. “It’s pretty amazing that they know who I am and care about my business.”
Last year Ed invited a camera crew to come in to one of his busy locations in the morning to see how they use Hershey’s Syrup. While there, Ed shared some of his thoughts on the long-term relationship he has with the brand and the people of Hershey.
One last thought to share. Everyone looks for meaning in their work, right? We all find different things at different times. In our case, growing our business while building relationships with our customers is especially rewarding. Thanks to Ed and the many other close partners of Hershey Foodservice. We appreciate you!
For more on partnering with the Hershey Foodservice team, visit our website.