BostonbeaN’s Kamden Mauser wins latest Route Driver of the Year contest

March 7, 2022
Mondelēz and Automatic Merchandiser revive popular recognition program that honors hardworking, innovative field personnel serving the nation's vending, micro market and OCS clients.

FedEx and UPS drivers won praise as the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 crisis. And don’t forget the gig workers clocking time on food delivery apps. While these blue-collar hands worked hard for that admiration, the truth is, it’s much easier to be a driver for Amazon than to be a driver on a vending, micro market or office coffee service route.

Take BostonbeaN’s Kamden Mauser, for instance. Like Mauser, drivers on the nation’s convenience services routes must possess highly acute customer service and problem-solving skills to succeed under pressure. And those requirements, among others, continue to evolve.

For these reasons and more, snack leader Mondelēz International Inc. and Endeavor Business Media, publisher of Automatic Merchandiser and, teamed up in 2021 to sponsor the Route Driver of the Year contest. This recognition program puts the spotlight on the hardworking route professionals, who remain the backbone of the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry.

Mauser, the winner of the latest contest, is a nine-year veteran of the BostonbeaN Coffee Co. of Woburn, MA. BostonbeaN is mainly an office coffee and pantry service operation, providing snacks, cold drinks, water and fresh food by delivery. The company is planning to deploy its first smart coolers this year to complement its OCS and pantry businesses.

“COVID struck workplaces hard in Boston,” said BostonbeaN vice president Steve Serino, who nominated the winner. “BostonbeaN provides strictly to the workplace and only provides breakroom solutions that are offered to employees at no cost. With so few employees back in the office and many reluctant to come back, Kamden was able to leverage his strong relationships with clients to convince them to offer additional and higher-end amenities to help entice employees to come back.”

At BostonbeaN, drivers are not only delivery personnel, but they are also account managers. “This was our philosophy from the start,” Serino said. “But Kam really listened and drove the message home. As a result, his route showed the highest sales of any. Coffee only represented 19% of his total sales over the past few months while pre-COVID, it represented 55%.”

BostonbeaN still has a long way to go to return to 2019 sales, Serino told Automatic Merchandiser. But if the company’s route team can rival some of Mauser’s success, it will close in on that pre-COVID benchmark soon. Mauser estimates that his route has already recovered about 70% of pre-pandemic sales.

“When the pandemic hit, it was a big challenge for us,” Mauser said. “Literally, overnight, our business changed.” On March 14, 2020, in fact, BostonbeaN went from full speed to almost a complete stop overnight. As offices emptied, the operator first had to address what to do with product on location, on its trucks and in the warehouse. 

“We gave away products that would have expired,” Mauser recalled. “We went to police stations, fire departments and hospitals. We installed kegerators to provide free cold brew and we gave away all our perishables. And when some accounts started to reopen their offices a little, bringing in essential workers first, we started offering them more beverage, snack and food options…companies were eager to invest more to reward those employees. And as time went on further, we began presenting more options to clients to help them entice workers back…that still goes on now.”

BostonbeaN serves numerous accounts in Massachusetts’ technology corridor, which runs along the 55-plus-mile Boston beltway that is Route 128 known as “America’s Technology Highway.” The high number of technology firms in the area had been a great market for an OCS provider like BostonbeaN, and more recently for pantry services.

Serino describes the company’s pantry program, which it formalized as a business division eight years ago, as a “white-glove service” offering high-quality snacks, cold drinks and even fresh food that can be tailored to each customer’s need. Whereas BostonbeaN’s coffee sales have started to enjoy a strong comeback, its pantry service, which was booming pre-pandemic in the technology sector, is returning at a slower pace. “Technology companies have been much more cautious about bringing their employees back,” Serino observed.

“Our tech clients can easily telecommute,” Mauser added. “Many of their employees can work from home.” So as the workforce pivoted from offices to homes, BostonbeaN pivoted its business to serve its patrons at home.

“We had to leverage our relationships with clients,” Mauser said. So, the route driver and Serino developed a care package delivery program for remote employees and the idea resonated with many of their clients. “It was a win-win for our clients,” Mauser said. “It accomplished two things for our clients; it kept them, and us, in contact with their employees and makes those employees feel good about their company.”

The care package program was brisk for a while. Serino himself helped with deliveries, sometimes spending a whole day delivering packages in Boston and its surrounding towns.

Both BostonbeaN-ers agreed that making those deliveries was extremely fun. “It allowed us to maintain some contact with our customers,” Mauser said. “We leaned on our strong relationships to make them even stronger. And then customers started calling me, asking ‘can you get PPE, masks, hand sanitizer? How about toilet paper?’ And we were able to get some of that during the shortages.”

Pre-pandemic, some of Mauser’s clients would order annually about a quarter million dollars’ worth of breakroom supplies. But during the first year of the pandemic, facing a total loss, some of those clients ended up spending at least half that amount on BostonbeaN’s care package service. “To be able to provide a solution like that to our customers is fantastic. It solidified our many customer relationships. It was a challenging time, but fun, too,” said the Route Driver of the Year. 

"The latest Route Driver of the Year program had a field of 40 outstanding candidates," said Automatic Merchandiser publisher Jolene Gulley. "We're very pleased with the turnout and thank our readers for participating."

The two runners-up are drivers Brandon Bailey of Casco Bay Food and Beverage (Lewison, Maine) and Brittney Bradford of Maumee Valley Group (Paulding, Ohio).

About the Author

Nick Montano

Contributing editor Nick Montano is passionate about covering news in the vending, office coffee service and micro market industry. He brings more than two decades’ experience to AM and VMW as a business journalist. His industry roots go way back; his first jobs were managing the stockroom of a full-line vending company and filling in for vacationing route drivers during his high school summer breaks. 


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Automatic Merchandiser and Mondelēz International Vending kick off 2021 Route Driver of the Year contest

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