7-Eleven Marks Florida's 100th Franchise Conversion

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7-Eleven Marks Florida's 100th Franchise Conversion

DALLAS -- An Orlando store is the 100th 7-Eleven location in Florida to convert from a corporate-owned to franchised operation, the Orlando Business Journal reported.

The 3,000-square-foot store with gas station, at 3911 McCoy Rd., is now owned by franchisee Ermal Metollari, a former store manager for five years, the report stated.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. revealed plans in 2007 to convert 100 existing locations in Florida to franchised operations. Store managers were invited to apply for those franchises before the offer went public. More than 40 7-Eleven stores in the Orlando market are now franchised, with another roughly 140 still owned by the company.

According to a news release cited by the Orlando Business Journal, between eight and 10 7-Eleven stores in the state are being converted into franchise operations each month, and plans are to have most of conversions nationwide completed by 2012.

Just a month after launching a Web site about all things franchising, 7-Eleven has added a second Web site—bcp.7-Eleven.com—for people looking to convert their existing retail outlets to the 7-Eleven brand and system through its Business Conversion Program (BCP).

Both new sites can be reached from the company's corporate Web site by selecting the "Franchising" tab at the top of www.7-Eleven.com, the company’s home page, and then clicking either the "BCP" or "Traditional Franchise" link from the Franchise Opportunities page. Each site has information specific to that particular franchise program.

Unlike many U.S. companies looking to downsize, the convenience retailer is expanding its retail presence around the country. 7-Eleven developed an alternative franchising model that complements its existing franchise model. It enables independent operators of c-stores, gas and service stations, delis and other small retail operations that are 2,000 to 3,000 square feet in size to convert to the 7-Eleven business system and continue to maintain control of their real estate.

The BCP site outlines the benefits, application process, cost and qualifications required of a potential candidate, as well as features testimonials from recent converts, video footage of an actual conversion and dramatic before-and-after photographs of newly remodeled 7-Eleven stores. An interactive map highlights growth areas in the U.S. and the respective BCP contact person.

"Our BCP business is gaining momentum, and we wanted to offer an online one-stop-shop that differentiates this offering from our traditional franchising program," Randy Quinn, 7-Eleven manager of New Store Strategy, said in a statement. "It gives interested parties a convenient tool to determine if they might qualify as well as highlights the costs and benefits. Frankly, the feedback from participants has been strong after they have reviewed the potential of the 7-Eleven Business Conversion Program."

The new BCP Web site has many of the same features as the Franchise site—history of the company, strength of the 7-Eleven brand, business systems, franchise support and marketing campaigns. The company licenses its proprietary retail business system while maintaining all of the business standards and services of its traditional franchise system.

In other 7-Eleven news, the c-store retailer is taking on McDonald’s and Starbucks with the introduction of deeply discounted iced coffee. Starting this week, 7-Eleven stores are selling 99-cent iced coffee in two flavors: French Vanilla and Mocha.

7-Eleven equipped 4,500 of its U.S. stores with self-serve iced coffee machines, the Orange County Register reported. Customers help themselves, dispensing the coffee drink over ice in new clear cups located near the Slurpee machine.

The introductory price is 99 cents for a medium 16-ounce drink. In July, the price will jump to $1.99 for a medium and $2.49 for a large, according to the newspaper.

The drink has done well in test markets, 7-Eleven said. "If taste tests are any indication, this is one of the best beverages we’ve ever introduced," said Jay Wilkins, a 7-Eleven brand manager. "It has become an instant hit."

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