DALLAS — After a successful inaugural contest, 7-Eleven Inc. is kicking off its second "Operation: Take Command" competition. The goal is to give veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces the chance to become a 7-Eleven franchisee for free.
The convenience retail chain is recruiting qualified men and women who have been honorably discharged to enlist in the competition. One veteran will be awarded a 7-Eleven fee-free franchise, a value of up to $190,000.
The winner can choose any of the company's 7-Eleven convenience stores available in the continental United States at the contest's culmination. Interested veterans can enter online at www.VeteransFranchiseGiveaway.com now through Feb. 26. The winner will be announced in June.
"More than 6,000 ex-military men and women applied last year, and 1,700 were vetted in our first Operation: Take Command campaign," said Greg Franks, 7-Eleven's vice president of franchise systems. "The finalists were outstanding, and many who didn't win still took command of their careers and moved forward through our normal qualification process to own their own 7-Eleven franchise."
The Operation: Take Command initiative is a multi-phased competition that includes meeting franchising qualifications and successful interviews. The top 25 will be invited to submit a video on why they deserve a 7-Eleven franchise. Up to seven will be selected from this pool for the semifinal competition.
Through votes on 7-Eleven's Facebook page, the public will select three finalists to be interviewed by 7-Eleven's franchise department management and narrowed to one winner.
To qualify for Operation: Take Command, an entrant must be:
- Aged 21 or older
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- An honorably discharged veteran
- Have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience
Contestants will go through the same qualification process as all 7-Eleven franchise applicants including credit evaluation, a leadership test, business plan development, budget and store location preferences.
Last year's winners in 7-Eleven's inaugural Operation: Take Command contest are now in business for themselves. Mark Anthony Page, a Navy veteran, franchises a 7-Eleven store in Burleson, Texas. Salil Gautam, formerly with the U.S. Army, operates a store in Norfolk, Va., and Army reservist Robert Kemna recently took the reins of his new 7-Eleven store in Miami.
7-Eleven has a long history of helping military veterans become business owners. It offers qualified veterans who have left the military within the past five years a 20-percent discount on the franchise fee for their first 7-Eleven store, a value of up to $50,000, along with preferred interest rates and special financing. Those who have been out of the military longer receive a 10-percent franchise fee discount.
According to statistics provided by 7-Eleven:
- There are 21.8 million veterans in the U.S.
- 92 percent of veterans aged 25 and older have at least a high school diploma.
- Veteran-owned businesses generate $1.2 trillion.
- Over a four-year period, 203,890 new veterans and military spouses have started franchising careers and 5,608 veterans have become franchise owners.
- More than 50,000 veterans found employment in the franchise industry in one year.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises and licenses more than 10,700 7-Eleven stores in North America.