By Chrissy Blasinsky
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Global convenience retailer 7-Eleven invented convenience more than 90 years ago and continues to refine its business at more than 77,000 stores worldwide. But its future—and perhaps the industry’s future—can be seen at eight Evolution Stores that showcase cutting-edge ideas in five markets across the United States.
We traveled to Dallas to catch up with the 7-Eleven team and learn more about the concept, what’s next and how the company is focused on the customer experience for the NACS Ideas 2 Go video, “7-Eleven’s Evolution.”
“The Evolution Stores are meant to be living laboratories where we can pull in and test a broad swath of new ideas,” said Vice President of Store Evolution & Design Molly Long. “We want to offer and improve the guest experience through new platforms, a modernized experience and a number of other features that are new and different for the 7-Eleven brand.”
Evolution Stores boast several unique offers and incorporate 7-Eleven’s proprietary restaurant brands Laredo Taco Company, Raise the Roost Chicken and Biscuits, and Parlor Pizza, which is a new brand featuring made-from-scratch pizza.
“We’ve been doing pizza for a long time, but this has taken pizza to the next level and plays well for the delivery customer,” said Brad Williams, senior vice president of corporate operations and restaurant platforms at 7-Eleven.
“We want to be convenience any time anywhere, and that goes beyond just brick and mortar stores that we have around the world. We want to be famous for delivery as well,” Williams said.
The Laredo Taco concept is a brand 7-Eleven has been evolving since 2015 when the company acquired more than 1,000 stores from Sunoco LP, a deal that included the taco concept and Stripes convenience stores. The tacos are made-from-scratch and hand-rolled, and customers can watch their meals being prepared.
“It’s about having the customer see what you’re doing…that makes the experience even better for the customer who’s waiting,” said Williams, adding that timing is part of equation—it takes about two minutes for an order to be prepared.
Today, Laredo Taco is the seventh largest Mexican food chain in the United States. “We want to make sure that we’re still convenient because that’s the foundation of who we are at 7-Eleven,” Williams said.
See why customers who visit an Evolution Store quickly recognize the food- and beverage-forward experience 7-Eleven is cultivating in Ideas 2 Go, and browse our video archives at convenience.org/ideas2go.
Chrissy Blasinsky is the content communications strategist at NACS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.