Q

What is your role at Casey's? How did you get into this role?

A

I'm the category manager of what we refer to as hot and cold sandwiches. Basically I'm in charge of most of the things that go into our warmers, as well as our cold sandwiches that would go into our open-air cooler like our subs and wraps. So a lot of my life is sandwich focused right now [laughs].

And I actually come from a world not like this, the world of office furniture. But it was a very similar job, working with a portfolio of projects and really trying to understand what the guest wants and needs. Unlike office furniture, though, food is just so extremely personalized, and I really have to make sure I separate myself from that to make sure that what we're doing is for the guests, not for my personal wants or preconceptions.

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Our breakfast pizza and pizza in general is kind of the gold standard for Casey’s, so how can we elevate the rest of our breakfast to be on par with that and give guests what they want?

Q

How were you involved in Casey's new breakfast launch?

A

As a category manager, my big thing is to really work with our guest insights team to find out what the guest is telling us. Through all of our feedback and research, we sort of found that guests aren't coming in the morning for our breakfast. They may buy it while they're there for other things, but it's not what's bringing them in the door, so we wanted to make sure we could give our guests something that they'll love for breakfast.

We wanted to look at it through the lens of what Casey's good really is and how can we make our breakfast “Casey's good.” Our breakfast pizza and pizza in general is kind of the gold standard for Casey's, so how can we elevate the rest of our breakfast to be on par with that and give guests what they want? That was our main goal with this new lineup.

Q

Which of the new products do you think will resonate most with guests?

A

I really do think there's something for everybody. I mean if you want sort of a classic, we still have some of our current products, but now we've just elevated it by improving the ingredients of that product. We really just took the time to focus on some current breakfast offerings and make them even better based on what the guest was telling us.

I do think that the Breakfast Handheld might be the one that resonates the most, though, especially because it's something you can only get at Casey's, nowhere else. But also, based on our guest insights information, a really high number of people are eating breakfast on the go, so it was important to us to make sure that our new breakfast lineup was easily portable, while still being delicious, and that's what would make it truly Casey's good.

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This is fresh, on-demand coffee, and you can hear the beans grinding and it comes out fresh and hot for you just how you want it

Q

How did you ensure that the new Handheld would be easy to eat on the go?

A

I have two young kids, and so every morning is a struggle to get me, my wife, and my kids all ready and out the door, so I'm usually grabbing something on the way, and I feel like that's how a lot of people are these days. People will usually spend more time making dinner in the evening or packing their lunch or something like that, but in the morning, they need to grab something on the go because they use the time doing other things in the morning.

With that mindset in place, we kept testing out versions of the Handheld, and if it was difficult to eat, we'd just say, ‘Ok, we can't eat this now, so it wouldn't be good for eating on the go, for eating while you drive to work, all that.’  So, from there, we just kept rethinking, and Chef made multiple versions until we got to the final, more enclosed and easily portable version that you see now.

Q

What's your personal favorite?

A

The Handheld does have a special place in my heart, just since it was a product I helped develop, and like I said it's one-of-a-kind and you can't get it anywhere else. It also tastes good which doesn't hurt [laughs].

The loaded breakfast burrito is another one of my favorites, though, I just think it's awesome. We call it loaded for a reason, it's got meat and cheese and eggs, and it's just this huge, hearty burrito – it's super delicious.

Q

What do you think about the new bean-to-cup coffee machines?

A

I love them! As a fairly uneducated coffee person, I think sometimes it can seem a little intimidating, but it's really very simple to use and is extremely user-friendly.

Plus, the biggest thing is that you're getting an actual fresh cup of coffee whenever you want it. This is fresh, on-demand coffee, and you can hear the beans grinding and it comes out fresh and hot for you just how you want it. We can control the quality of it even better this way, and we know that our guest is going to get a great cup of coffee every time to go along with the breakfast we're creating as well – it's a perfect combination.

Q

Bonus question: What's your favorite Casey's pizza?

A

I think maybe the Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza! I don't know if some people know we have it or have tried it because it's not your typical pizza, but it's very good. I was born and raised in Iowa, so I've known Casey's pretty much my whole life. When we would get it growing up as a kid, that was one that either my mom or my dad liked, and as a kid, I was always like ‘oh that's gross,' but as I got older, I actually tried it, and I loved it.

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