RICHMOND, Va.—There are many new changes in the c-store industry, including more focus on giving consumers a safe, convenient shopping experience via drive-thru windows and delivery services, as well as introducing new plant-based products. GPM Investments, the nation’s seventh-largest convenience chain, with about 1,350 company-operated stores and 1,600 dealer sites to which it supplies fuel, is doing all three.
GPM’s wholly owned subsidiary, Broyles Hospitality, recently unveiled its fourth Next Generation Dunkin’ restaurant, which serves as the company’s 11th Dunkin’ franchise, the company reported. The new 2,815 square-foot location opened last week in Gray, Tenn., and features updated technology and a drive-thru window to make shopping fast and convenient.
In addition, the Dunkin’ restaurant has a colorful, open and modern design aimed at creating an approachable, energetic environment. Dunkin’s signature cold beverages are served through an innovative tap system offering coffees, iced teas, cold brew coffee and nitro-infused cold brew coffee. Crew members use top-quality flavor-maximizing espresso machines to make hand-crafted drinks to order. With a nod to sustainability, the store is a DD Green Achievement restaurant designed to save 25% more energy compared to a standard Dunkin’ location.
In conjunction with the store opening and to give back to the local community, Broyles Hospitality, in partnership with the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation,’ donated $5,000 to Ballad Health’s Pet Therapy Program, which takes specially trained dogs to visit and lift the spirits of hospital patients.
“We’re thrilled to open the doors of GPM’s 11th Dunkin’ franchise location,” said Arie Kotler, chairman, president and CEO of GPM, which currently operates 75 franchised restaurants. “Our franchise partnerships are an important part of our strategy, and we’re always looking for new ways to evolve and grow that strategy while elevating the customer experience in key stores and markets.
The fun with Dunkin’ doesn’t stop there though. As of yesterday, Dunkin' began adding coconut milk to menus across the U.S. and will roll out two new drinks with coconut milk: Dunkin's Coconut Refreshers and a Coconut milk iced latte, reports the company said. Dunkin' will sell medium coconut refreshers for a discounted price of $3 through May 25. Coconut milk can also be substituted in any other drink on the chain’s menu. The demand for non-dairy milk, including oak milk, has exploded recently. Dunkin' has been serving plant-based oat milk across the U.S. since August.
In addition, GPM has expanded its DoorDash delivery program to an additional 300+ stores. Introduced in July 2020, DoorDash was available in 348 participating locations across 19 states and several brands in the GPM portfolio including: Village Pantry, fas mart, Town Star, Scotchman, Roadrunner Markets, E-Z Mart, Breadbox, Admiral, Next Door Stores, Young’s, Li’l Cricket, Jiffi Stop, shore stop, 1-Stop and Apple Market. The selected locations were chosen based on their ability to support the most popularly purchased items. DoorDash recently announced that it would let stores choose commission rates as well.
“Offering a choice of how consumers receive products from our stores is more important than ever,” said Jim Rastetter, category manager, GPM. “There is a significant customer base who use our DoorDash program and feedback has been great so far. As consumers continue to use on-demand delivery services like DoorDash, we hope to continue bringing this type of service to our stores.”
Currently, GPM’s delivery program offers more than 300 items for customers to choose from. Some of the most popular items ordered through DoorDash include Grandma’s Cookies, Cheez-Its, Life Savers Gummies and sodas. The most popular item ordered through DoorDash? “Surprisingly, Gushers!” said Rastetter.
GPM was featured in the March issue of NACS Magazine in “Tying It All Together.” Previously, NACS Magazine also reported on the emerging alternatives to milk, such as those in use by Starbucks, in “Milk It,” as milk sales have fallen.
NACS Research last year released its landmark “NACS Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail” study, outlining the opportunity for convenience retailers to grow sales and expand customer reach through delivery, curbside pickup and other services as the market evolves. Download it free here.