Avanti January/February 2021

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January/February 2021




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Finding Stability Through Chaotic Times A Lesson From Texas: Get Prepared Customer Count Struggles Related To Coffee Were Foreshadowed Trust Is The Coin Of The Realm Risk Management And Why People Get Injured Talk With Other Franchisees On The Free Telegram App Page 10



January/February 2021


NCASEF Holds The 2nd


21 A Lesson From Texas: Get Prepared By Jay Singh, NCASEF Chairman

23 Customer Count Struggles Related To Coffee Were Foreshadowed By Michael Jorgensen, NCASEF Executive Vice Chairman

The home page of the NCASEF’s Virtual Trade Show featured an exhibit hall with booths for each vendor.

27 Trust Is The Coin Of The Realm

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Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App Page 10

By Eric H. Karp, Esq., NCASEF General Counsel


By John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering Consultant, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group


31 Risk Management And Why People Get Injured

NCASEF Asks FTC For Crucial Changes To Franchise Rule Page 10

Bits & Pieces...............................12 Legislative Update.............................18

Join Your Local FOA................................35 Dispatch at NCASEF.com

FEATURES 16 18 44

Member News....................8

How To Support Swim Across America Fair Franchising Bill Introduced In Oregon NCASEF Holds Second Virtual Trade Show

SEI News.....48 Vendor Focus .........................51 FOA Meetings Calendar.......54 Franchisee Calendar.................54

AVANTI is published by the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees for all independent franchisees, store managers and interested parties. National Coalition offices are located at 1001 Pat Booker Road, Suite 206, Universal City, TX 78148. For membership information, call 702-249-3301 or e-mail nationaloffice@ncasef.com. AVANTI Offices are located at 116 Bellevue Ave., Suite 304, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047. For advertising information, call Sheldon Smith at 215 7500178 or fax to 215 750-0399; on-line, send messages to sheldon.smith5@verizon.net. The views and opinions expressed in the articles and columns published in Avanti Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees, its officers or its Board of Directors.

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Jatinder Singh

7-Eleven Makes Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

SEI Sells Bonds To Help Finance Speedway Purchase


7-Eleven has once again made on it onto Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 ranking, coming in at #9. In the top three are Taco Bell (#1), Dunkin’ (#2), and e UPS Store (#3). To be eligible to rank, a franchisor must be seeking new franchisees in the U.S. or Canada and must have had a minimum of 10 units open and operating as of July 31, 2020, with at least one franchise located in North America. Each eligible franchisor was scored based on more than 150 data points, and those with the highest cumulative scores became the Franchise 500. Some key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees (franchise fee, total investment, royalty fees), size and growth (open and operating units, growth rate, closures), brand strength (social media, system size, years in business, years franchising), support (marketing support, operational support, franchisor infrastructure), and financial strength and stability.

SEI recently sold $10.95 billion of bonds to fund its acquisition of Speedway gas stations in the U.S., aer receiving as much as $62 billion of demand from investors, reported Bloomberg, citing sources with knowledge on the matter. e issuance marks the largest in the corporate dollar bond market globally since a $12 billion sale from Verizon Communications Inc. in November, according to the article. It also adds to the 350 billion yen ($3.4 billion) that the convenience-store operator raised in a Japanese debt offering for the Speedway deal several months ago. Proceeds will help finance Seven & i Holdings Co.’s $21 billion acquisition of the gas stations from Marathon Petroleum Corp., according to a company spokesman. In January, Moody’s downgraded 7-Eleven’s rating by one notch, citing a potential increase in debt aer the Speedway purchase. S&P said it may cut the company’s ratings by as many as two notches because of the added debt load.


“7-Eleven has once again made on it onto Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 ranking, coming in at #9.”

702-249-3301 • jays@ncasef.com

Michael Jorgensen 347-251-1828 • mcjorg@yahoo.com


818-203-2527 • paullobana@aol.com


847-845-8477 • rehan711@yahoo.com


425-438-8381 • ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com


210-971-9211 • shawnh@ncasef.com


617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com


262-394-5518 • johnr@jrplanners.com

7-Eleven To Take On Walmart Online Seven & i Holdings will go beyond “close and convenient” stores and increase its focus on online sales to compete with Walmart, reported Nikkei Asia. Seven and i Holdings President Ryuichi Isaka told the continued on page 12


215-750-0178 • sheldon.smith5@verizon.net


The National Coalition Office The strength of an independent trade association lies in its ability to promote, protect and advance the best interests of its members, something no single member or advisory group can achieve. The independent trade association can create a better understanding between its members and those with whom it deals. National Coalition offices are located in Universal City, Texas. 8

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1001 Pat Booker Road Suite 206 Universal City, TX 78148 Office 210-971-9211 E-mail: nationaloffice@ncasef.com

The Voice of 7-Eleven Franchisees January/February 2021 © 2021 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees Avanti Magazine is the registered trademark of The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees.



NCASEF Asks FTC For Crucial Changes To Franchise Rule The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Franchise Rule defines acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive within the franchise industry in the United States. The Franchise Rule was created in 1978 and is designed to ensure that people looking to invest in a franchised business have enough information to make an informed decision, while preventing fraud and misrepresentation by sellers of a franchised business. The Franchise Rule requires that franchisors disclose certain information annually in a document known as an FDD (franchise disclosure document). The Commission is considering making changes to the Rule. It held a virtual public workshop in November of 2020 and solicited comments and concerns related to the rule and to franchising in general. NCASEF submitted extensive comments on behalf of our members in the hopes that the FTC will take a broader look at the unfair and unbalanced relationship SEI has fostered with its franchisees. These comments, which detail numerous instances of misleading disclosures, undisclosed risks, built-in conflicts of interest and opportunistic behavior by SEI, can be found at https://beta.regulations.gov/comment/FTC-2020-0064-0103. We are hopeful that the FTC will start regulating the relationships between franchisees and franchisors, and help correct the imbalance of power which only grows year after year in the 7-Eleven system.

“We are hopeful that the FTC will start regulating the relationships between franchisees and franchisors, and help correct the imbalance of power which only grows year after year in the 7-Eleven system. “

A comment submitted to the FTC by three United States Senators and one U.S. Representative, in calling for fair contract terms, captured the inadequacies of the FTC Rule perfectly: “Most franchise agreements are very one-sided in favor of the franchise or leaving franchise owners facing loss of assets, failed businesses in bankruptcy. The FTC’s approach to only require voluntary disclosure of financial representation data and its lack of enforcement has failed to protect franchise owners.”

“Once you have signed the Franchise Agreement and you’re in the system, it seems everything changes,” said Jaspreet Dhillon, NCASEF Treasurer. “Once you own a 7-Eleven franchise, you should be able to get more detailed information about every aspect of your business and, with SEI, you don’t get it. When we have concerns about changes that materially affect our livelihoods, SEI ignores us and treats us like glorified store managers.” continued on page 38


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Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App National Coalition members are using a new app to discuss issues, make announcements, post information and send files. It's called Telegram and will accommodate many more than the 250 group member limit of WhatsApp. We already have more than 400 members on Telegram, and we encourage you to download the free app onto your phone or desktop and sign on using the following link: https://t.me/joinchat/QR1k9Efl4QmXqtIFtpaCkQ. There are just a few basic rules: 1. Must be a franchisee and paying member of an FOA affiliated with the National Coalition. 2. Not a member of an FOA? Join one ASAP or become a National Coalition Member at Large. 3. Display your full name and area on your profile so issues can be related to that area. 4. If your full name is not displayed, you will be removed. 5. Posts should be strictly business related. 6. Pro SEI? No problem—we all are, that is why we are franchisees. FOA/National Coalition haters, please stay away. 7. Encourage your fellow franchisees to join. 8. STAY UNITED. LOVE YOU ALL.

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publication that the company must offer something more than can be provided by its brick-and-mortar stores. According to the article, 7-Eleven dominates Japan's convenience store sector. It operates more than 21,000 convenience stores across the country, generating 5 trillion yen ($48 billion) in annual sales, compared to its rivals Lawson (14,444 stores) and FamilyMart (16,656 stores) generating 2.5 trillion yen and 517 billion yen, respectively. Isaka envisions a centralized management of the affiliated businesses' delivery logistics—which include 7-Eleven, restaurant chain Denny's, and supermarket chain York—to grasp better how many orders they have in one area and ultimately to introduce dynamic pricing that can offer reduced delivery prices when demand is low. He said the company could take similar measures as Walmart, like buy online and pickup at a 7-Eleven. On top of that, Isaka said the company was now considering installing lockers even closer to consumers, such as in offices and apartment buildings.

Seven & I Adjusts Financial Outlook Japan's escalating COVID-19 crisis is casting a shadow over retailers still trying to recover from the country's first state of emergency last spring, causing many to continually adjust their financial forecasts, reported Nikkei Asia. “As for the outlook for the full year, the situation is expected to remain unpredictable,” Seven and i Holdings said in a recent statement. e company announced a downward revision of its full-year

revenue forecast for the fiscal year through February. It now expects revenue of 5.71 trillion yen ($55.1 billion), down 0.7 percent from its previous forecast, reflecting the current COVID situation in which new cases are rapidly multiplying and the country's residents are growing more inclined to hunker down. Revenue will be down 14 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.

Speedway’s Financials Shine During Pandemic Speedway, which Marathon Petroleum Corp. has sold to 7-Eleven, Inc., fared better for much of 2020 than its parent corporation, reported e Courier. Documents released by Marathon ahead of its full-year 2020 financial results reveal that for the first nine months of the pandemic-racked year, Speedway’s operating income rose 46 percent from the same period a year earlier to $1.07 billion, according to Marathon’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. By comparison, Marathon Petroleum Corp. had an $11.43 billion operating loss for the first nine months of 2020, down from $3.9 billion profit for the same period a year earlier. Marathon Petroleum Corp. cut 2,050 jobs companywide in September because of reduced fuel demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

C-Store Workers Prioritized For Vaccine

e U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted recently to recommend that frontline essen“As for the outlook for the full year, tial workers—including the situation is expected to remain employees in the convenience store industry—be unpredictable,” Seven and i next in line to receive the Holdings said in a recent statement. COVID-19 vaccine, recontinued on page 14


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Amazon is expanding its Amazon One contactless payment device to eight Seattlearea stores, reported Chain Store Age. Initially introduced at two Seattle-area Amazon Go stores in September 2020, Amazon One is a proprietary technology designed to let customers use their unique palm signature to pay or present a loyalty card at a store. • For the first time since 1983, when Anheuser-Busch used all of its ad time to introduce Bud Light, the company did not advertise its iconic Budweiser brand during the Super Bowl, reported ABC News. Instead, Anheuser-Busch donated the money it would have spent on the ad to coronavirus vaccination awareness efforts. • Online grocery usership grew by 27.17 percent year-over-year in January 2021, indicating that shoppers are still choosing to shop for their groceries online, reveals a new national grocery consumer research study conducted by Chicory. The study further shows that over 50 percent of consumers place an online grocery order once a week or more often. • Retail sales during 2020’s November-December holiday season grew an unexpectedly high 8.3 percent over the same period in 2019 to $789.4 billion, despite the economic challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Retail Federation. The numbers include online and other non-stores sales, which were up 23.9 percent at $209 billion. • Legalizing recreational marijuana leads to increased sales of ice cream, cookies and chips, reveals a first-of-itskind study establishing a causal relationship between legal cannabis and junk food consumption, reported The Academic Times. The study found that legalizcontinued on page 24

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ported NACS Online. In their recommendations for the second phase, Phase 1-B of vaccination distribution, the committee prioritized frontline essential workers and adults older than age 75 years. It is critical that frontline workers who are part of the critical infrastructure workforce receive appropriate priority status for inoculation, NACS stressed in a letter Friday to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. e National Association of Truckstop Operators, Energy Marketers of America and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America joined NACS in advocating for vaccination for essential workers. It was the second letter sent by the industry trade groups to Secretary Azar regarding priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Lottery Jackpots Help Boost C-Store Sales In January Consumer spending at U.S. convenience stores in January accelerated, resulting in sales gains that topped those carved out in December 2020 and the third quarter of 2020, thanks to higher spend and increased trips in all dayparts except for the morning rush, reported NACS Online. According to the latest monthly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is affecting consumer behavior, for the four weeks ended January 31, dollar sales increased to +10 percent, compared with +2 percent for the four weeks ended January 3, 2021. Spend per transaction climbed to +22.5 percent for the four weeks ended

“According to the latest monthly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is affecting consumer behavior, for the four weeks ended January 31, dollar sales increased to +10 percent.” January 31, compared with +17.5 percent for the prior four-week period. Most categories improved year-over-year in terms of dollars and trips. Lottery/gaming saw a double-digit jump that can be tied to record jackpots in January, up 20.9 points from -16.8 percent for the four weeks ended January 3, to +4.1 percent for the four weeks continued next page


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ended January 31. In January, the winning ticket for a $1 billion prize Mega Millions jackpot was sold at a Kroger grocery store in Novi, Michigan. e winning ticket for a $731 million Powerball jackpot was sold at Coney Market, a convenience store in Lonaconing, Maryland, and three other $1 million Powerball winners from the same drawing purchased their tickets at convenience stores/gas stations in New Jersey, including 7-Eleven, Exxon and Wawa.

Couche-Tard Launches Lab Store Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. recently announced that it has teamed with McGill University to launch a retail innovation lab at the Bensadoun School of Re-

tail Management—a live testing ground for “Inside the lab, a Couche-Tard Connecté “innovative and fricsection is specially designed with tionless technologies frictionless technologies to allow that address the retail sector's challenges of autonomous and contactless checkout.” the future.” Located on McGill University's items and leave. A first in Canada's condowntown campus, the lab is currently venience store sector, the frictionless store open at reduced hours and for a limited will allow Couche-Tard store team memnumber of customers in store until local bers to spend more time on service and public health authorities deem it safe to opspeed up in-store visits. Governed by a erate at full capacity, the company said. joint steering committee, preliminary reInside the lab, a Couche-Tard Consearch themes will involve helping cusnecté section is specially designed with tomers make healthier, more sustainable frictionless technologies to allow auchoices, and finding the right balance betonomous and contactless checkout. Using tween personalization and privacy in the an app, customers can unlock the door to shopping experience. walk into the Connecté section, pick up continued on page 16

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NCASEF National Charity

How To Support Swim Across America Rob Butcher, Swim Across America CEO

To All 7-Eleven Franchisees: Thank you for nine years of franchisee support of Swim Across America. Together, you have helped us raise $750,000 that has funded cancer research and patient programs. The 7-Eleven Franchise Owners are proudly recognized as an SAA Partner and on our Champions Wall. Thank you! Many franchisees have asked how can we help? We offer four suggestions: 1. Include Swim Across America with a donation and messaging in your FOA activities; you may donate via this link: https://www.swimacrossamerica.org/site/Donation. 2. Encourage vendors to support Swim Across America with a donation or product support. Many thanks to vendors Barbot Insurance, Chobani, Lifeway Kefir, Nestlé, and Double AA Consulting LLC for their recent support. 3. Incorporate Swim Across America as a charity recipient in your local FOA golf tournament and trade show. 4. Volunteer with a Swim Across America activity near you. Visit our website at www.swimacrossamerica.org and click on the tab “Find A Swim.” We welcome and so appreciate your support. Please reach out to Craig Beardsley or me to get involved. Thank you for all you have done for cancer research and cancer patients. Rob Butcher, CEO rob@swimacrossamerica.org 704-676-2925 Craig Beardsley, Director of Partnerships, 1980 Olympian craig@swimacrossamerica.org (908) 451-3542

C-Store Suppliers Say Their Sales Increased In 2020 Suppliers who sell through convenience stores saw their sales in the channel grow in 2020, with nearly twice as many reporting an increase than a decrease (50 percent vs. 28 percent, respectively), according to the results of a new NACS survey of Supplier Members. e NACS Supplier Mem16

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ber survey results mirror what NACS Retailer Members reported in a similar survey in January, with 59 percent of retailers reporting a sales increase, compared to 30 percent who saw sales decline (in-store sales only). More significantly, NACS Supplier Members say they are increasing their emphasis on the convenience channel in 2021: 63 percent said they will boost their investment in the channel—ncluding 18 percent

who will significantly increase their investment—compared to 10 percent who say they will decrease their convenience retail investment. ey added that product innovation will be their top investment in the channel, ahead of growing their sales forces and advertising, among others. Suppliers credit forming new relationships with retailers as the primary driver for growing 2020 sales (cited by 57 percent), followed by increasing the number of SKUs in the channel (cited by 32 percent) and increasing the quantity of existing SKUs in the channel (cited by 24 percent). Suppliers also said that they will continue these efforts in 2021: 62 percent will seek to form new relationships with retailers, 29 percent will add more SKUs in the channel and 25 percent will increase the amount of existing SKUs.

U.S. C-Store Count Drops ere are 150,274 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.6 percent decrease in the number of stores in operation (152,720) at the close of 2019, according to the 2021 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. e store count is based on c-stores that were open as of December 2020. Convenience stores sell an estimated 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the United States, and the new store count shows that 121,538 convenience stores sell motor fuels (80.9 percent of all convenience stores), a slight 0.4 percent drop from 121,998 stores selling fuels the year prior. e decrease in the total convenience store count was expected, given the overall retail contraction in the United States, the report states. e industry decline was led by a 3.1 percent decrease in single-store operators (92,196 in 2020 vs. 95,108 in 2019), which account for 61.4 percent of all convenience stores. In addition, the decrease in the industry store count was more pronounced among stores that did not sell continued on page 39

Legislative Update Fair Franchising Bill Introduced In Oregon Oregon lawmakers recently introduced HB-2946, a bill that will protect the rights of franchised businesses in the state. e measure requires parties to a franchise agreement to deal in good faith and commercially reasonable manner, specifies required disclosures in franchise sale transaction, and specifies requirements for a franchise agreement. e bill also prohibits certain practices in terminating or refusing to renew a franchise agreement, and requires franchisors to permit franchisees to sell, assign or transfer their franchise to another person. Other provisions in the HB-2946 include: • A franchise agreement may not limit or condition a franchisee’s right to associate with another fran“OREGON’S FAIR FRANchisee for any purpose. • A franchise agreement may not CHISING BILL, HB-2946, charge a franchisee more than a fair REQUIRES PARTIES TO A and reasonable market price for FRANCHISE AGREEMENT goods or services from a franchisor TO DEAL IN GOOD FAITH or an approved supplier. AND COMMERCIALLY • A franchise agreement may not REASONABLE MANNER, require a franchisee to sell goods or SPECIFIES REQUIRED services at a loss or at a price that is DISCLOSURES IN FRANnot reasonably acceptable to the CHISE SALE TRANSACfranchisee. TION, AND SPECIFIES • A franchise agreement may not require a franchisee to resolve a disREQUIREMENTS FOR A pute by means of binding FRANCHISE AGREEMENT.” arbitration. • A franchisor may not terminate a franchise agreement before the term of the franchise agreement expires unless a franchisee fails to substantially comply with the terms and conditions of the franchise agreement; the franchisor notifies the franchisee of the franchisee’s failure to comply at least 60 days before the date on which the franchisor intends to terminate the franchise agreement; and the franchisor offers the franchisee a reasonable opportunity to cure the franchisee’s failure to comply during a period of not less than 60 days aer the date of the notice and the franchisee fails to cure the failure.


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Court Declares California’s ABC Test Is Retroactive California’s ABC test that makes it hard to claim workers are independent contractors applies retroactively, the state Supreme Court ruled recently in a decision that could hurt Uber, Ly and other gig companies in numerous lawsuits, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. e ABC test was issued in an April 2018 decision called Dynamex that said workers must be considered employees unless they (a) work free from control of hiring entity; (b) perform work outside the usual court of the hiring entity’s business; and (c) have independent businesses doing that type of work. “Public policy and fairness concerns, such as protecting workers and benefiting businesses that comply with the wage order obligations, favor retroactive application of Dynamex,” said a unanimous opinion authored by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. e Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in May 2019 had said Dynamex should be retroactive. e Dynamex decision underpins California’s controversial AB 5 gig-work law, which codified the ABC test while exempting numerous professions and expanding its reach beyond wage orders. Shannon Liss-Riordan, a Boston attorney who has filed misclassification cases on behalf of gig workers and janitors, told the newspaper the decision should help California workers seeking redress over wage violations that occurred before April 2018. She has lawsuits and arbitrations pending against Uber, Ly, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, Shipt and Amazon.

California Wants Franchisor Lawsuit Against ABC Test Dumped California wants a lawsuit brought by franchisors challenging its landmark worker classification law thrown out without leave to amend, telling a federal court recently that the statute doesn't conflict with federal law and the lawsuit's preemption argument “presents a false choice,” reported Law360. While franchisors say they're stuck between a rock and a hard place with federal franchise rules and California's broad definition of who constitutes an employee, California said “there is no conflict” between the two. “e franchise rule is intended to protect franchisees from franchisor abuses,” the state said. “It is not intended to protect franchisors from continued next page

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Legislative Update complying with state laws govTest “an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives erning minimum wages and maximum hours for workers. of Congress” isn't enough. e franchises would need to alPlaintiffs' claim of conflict preemption is meritless.” lege that it's “impossible to comply with both the ABC Test California's ABC Test presumes that a worker is an emand federal law,” which the state says they haven't done. ployee unless they are free from the parent company's control. Franchisee groups say this leaves franchisors in hot Congressional Democrats water when it comes to a Federal Trade Commission rule, Reintroduce $15 Minimum Wage Bill which mandates that franchisors keep control over franDemocrats in the House and Senate recently reintroduced a chisees' use of their trademarks. is means that the ABC bill to raise the U.S. minimum wage to $15 per hour, seeking test—which was laid out in a law known as AB 5—could confresh support for the policy during an economic crisis and with vert franchise owners from small business owners to employcontrol of Congress and the White House, reported CNBC. e ees of the company they're licensing from, according to the legislation would gradually hike the pay floor to $15 an hour franchisors’ lawsuit. nationwide by 2025, then tie future inBut California argues creases to median wage growth. e “CALIFORNIA'S ABC TEST PRESUMES THAT A that calling its ABC


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As most of you know by now, we had a major disaster in my home state of Texas recently when millions of people had to endure lengthy power outages, water shortages and freezing temperatures after our energy grid failed following a very rare snow storm. The grid controls all the power in the state. When a freak storm (possibly caused by global warming) pushed temperatures to well below zero, our power supply struggled to keep up, and millions of people faced disaster as our electrical power suppliers were brought to a halt. More than 15 million people were facing water disruption (half the state) and received notices to boil water before using. Once the power came back on we had rolling blackouts—4 hours on and 4 hours off for more than 36 hours. Governor Greg Abbott requested a major disaster declaration for all 254 counties in Texas and received aid from President Joe Biden for 77. The military delivered food and water by aircraft, while utilities in the state worked to restore power and water service. Texas has been warned about our vulnerable power grid, and the lack of insulation in our houses, but still, when the storm hit, few of our cities were prepared to handle the severe weather. No one expected such a storm, and we were not given much warning until the day of the storm, when power and water companies sent text and phone messages telling an already endangered population to take cover and make disaster arrangements. Most houses in Texas are centrally heated by electric heat. Our houses and our pipes are for the most part not insulated, JAY SINGH and we don’t stockpile CAN BE REACHED AT 702-249-3301 OR gas heaters. Once the JAYS@NCASEF.COM temperature came

down to a level where everything froze, pipes were bursting throughout the state, and our water also was turned off and people could not cook. Most supermarkets closed after the first day. For the most part, only stores that had power stayed open, and they were cleaned out. Customers were flocking to our stores in dismay, looking for staples like water, milk, eggs and bread. At one of my stores all 20 propane tanks sold out in a few hours. Road conditions worsened because they became icy, and local municipal-

water, and bread were the first to go. Some franchisees who had power made crazy sales and were wiped out of merchandise in one day. Very few franchisees had employees, and everyone worked their butts off to stay in business and help their customers. What do you do when a guy comes in and wants four cases of water, but the ATM machine is not working because of the power and he has no money? I could not let his family go without water so I told him to take one case (because I needed to spread the water around to other customers) and pay me later. Soon after that a grandmother came in with several kids and was short $8, so I told her she could take the food she was buying and pay me later, because humanity comes first. In times of disaster, we must help each other out. So it went throughout the day. Gas was a major problem for many franchisees. Non-traditional gas stores that have branded gas with Exxon, Mobil, and Shell are not fully integrated into our sys-

ities had nothing to prepare the roads, like brine, salt, or gravel. Our employees did not come to work, and all of a sudden we were all caught up in the disaster. At one of my stores without power I sold continued on page 22 $3,200 of merchandise in five hours, “No one expected such a storm, and from noon to 5 pm, we were not given much warning without a register. At 5 pm I had to close until the day of the storm, when power the store because it and water companies sent text and was too dark and my supplies had already phone messages telling an already dwindled. All essenendangered population to take cover tial supplies were wiped out. Milk, and make disaster arrangements.” AVANTI J A N U A R Y | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1


A Lesson From Texas continued from page 21 tem; they have a different gas register. Without power you cannot do anything because the two systems talk to each other, and those systems failed. The power was going on and off so much that the Juniper router system got corrupted. For three to four days we could not take credit or debit cards. But the bigger problem was when the power came on—we could not reset our gas registers like we reset our sales registers. We had to call the outsourced service company to come look at our pumps and our registers because in most cases Exxon could not even dial in to our gas registers. The techs had many calls and could not come out, so the gas was in the ground and we could not sell it, even after the power came back on. Even our own help desk was powerless to assist us because the gas system was out of the scope of their responsibilities. Of course, the competition across the street had power, had gas and long lines, and we were missing out on the opportunity to sell and service our communities. I am convinced now that before making more acquisitions, the integration of branded gas should take place first. As it turns out, throughout the disaster 7-Eleven and our market managers tried their best, but were powerless to help us. McLane, our CDC, and our DSD manufacturers could not make deliveries because they were having their own problems. We didn’t get deliveries for three or four days, and we couldn’t refill our stores. In one of my stores, the security alarm went off every time the power was turned back on, and after showing up several times we had to give the police our phone number to call us and confirm there was not an emergency. Franchisees were scared

“As the weather gets worse, we all have to get ready and be prepared, because who does everyone look to for help in their neighborhood in times of disaster? Their local convenience store.”


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that if they left their stores, there would be break-ins. Even when the CDC truck showed up they didn’t have anything on the truck, even after four days. No doubt the cleanup will be even worse. I’m currently looking at five days of cash reports and deliveries to straighten out, and we have accounting errors in invoices where we did not receive the merchandise, but we are billed on DMR. In the end, the hardest part of the entire disaster was looking at the faces of our frightened and desperate customers. I wanted to go home and cook a pot of rice and beans and hand it out for free, but there was no place to cook. The biggest thing I learned from all this is that we have to be as prepared as possible for disastrous events. Although it is impossible to be 100 percent prepared, we could at least have some sort of a plan to deal with whatever calamity may come our way. On the day of the storm, when we really didn’t know the scope of the outage, I took my wool hat and a blanket to my store and I was lucky I did, since it turned out to be 5 degrees F that day. Even Inside the building I could feel the same cold as outside, and for the first time in my life I learned what real cold is. As the weather gets worse, we all have to get ready and be prepared, because who does everyone look to for help in their neighborhood in times of disaster? Their local the convenience store. Why? Because that’s what we do. Perhaps its time SEI considers equipping stores with power generators. That would be a good place to start.

“Customers were flocking to our stores in dismay, looking for staples like water, milk, eggs and bread.”

Customer Count Struggles Related To Coffee Were Foreshadowed BY MICHAEL JORGENSEN, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN, NCASEF

7-Eleven franchisees have essentially two ways to grow sales—increase foot traffic or increase average sales per customer. Unfortunately, we have been on a downward trend with customer counts. During an NBLC meeting in 2019, one SEI senior executive shared that customer counts declines had been accelerating in the previous four years. As far back as March 2018, NBLC members were presented results from the beverage wall test that showed very promising results to help reverse our drop in foot traffic. The plan was to increase the test to 100 more stores in Texas and the Liberty Zone. In the meantime, as franchisees await this much needed program and customer counts continue to decline, SEI has opted for coffee and proprietary beverage discounts to retain our customer base. We were recently told that coffee sales increased when the $1 coffee promo was running, but did not sustain after the promo period. This strategy is proving to be wholly inadequate without the coffee products the customers want and it certainly doesn’t help that the beverage offering is inconsistent in our stores. In a 2019 NBLC meeting, one SEI senior executive noted that 50 percent of the customer count drop came from proprietary beverages, the bulk of that from coffee. He added that 7-Eleven had to start diversifying its coffee selection to meet customer expectations. The solution came in the form of the WIN Coffee Program, which features bean-



“We were recently told that coffee sales increased when the $1 coffee promo was running, but did not sustain after the promo period.”

to-cup fresh coffee, a soft heat coffee system that delivers an improved drip coffee experience, a tap system with nitro cold brew and teas, specialty coffee equipment which makes espresso, and ovens to implement bake-in-store, among other things. Sounds great! Customers these days prefer espresso and other specialty coffees, and the WIN program will certainly meet their needs and help us bring new customers

to our stores and keep existing customers returning. However, many franchisees are still waiting. So far, about 1,000 stores have the program up and running and plans for 2021 include adding another 1,500 stores. Which brings us to the coffee discounts. SEI conducted a survey of 755 respondents and asked them, “What should 7Eleven do to motivate them to buy their coffee more often?” Thirty percent said offer better coffee, 27 percent said offer a better coffee selection (i.e., add more blends and flavors), 19 percent said improve the store (i.e., better cups, cleaner equipment, and better atmosphere). Eleven percent said to lower the price of coffee and give more coffee rewards points (of that 11 percent, six percent said lower the price and five percent said give more coffee reward points). Nine percent said friendlier employees and 8 percent said more convenient locations. Now, the WIN program addresses the needs of over 70 percent of the respondents—coffee, better selection, and better and cleaner store equipment and atmosphere. But while the program is rolling out, SEI decided to go with lowing the price and expanding the store base with a solution requested by only 19 percent of the respondents (11 percent Price/Value and 8 percent More Convenient Location). Although we’re being competitive with continued on page 24

“This strategy is proving to be wholly inadequate without the coffee products the customers want and it certainly doesn’t help that the beverage offering is inconsistent in our stores.” AVANTI J A N U A R Y | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1


Customer Count Struggles continued from page 23 the coffee discount because that’s what many of our “Customers these days prefer espresso and other competitors are other specialty coffees, and the WIN program doing—especially during will certainly meet their needs and help us the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc bring new customers to our stores while on dispensed beverages— retaining our current ones.” having the new equipment and specialty coffee offerings would allow espresso machines in Long Island stores us to maintain our current pricing and way back in 2009, even before the beverage offer value, thus driving more customers wall test, so they knew this was coming. into our stores and increasing sales and Now we not only have to compete with dollars. In the meantime, SEI should fully other c-stores in the coffee arena, but with fund the discount dispensed beverage pro- the likes of Starbucks, McDonald’s and motions so franchisees won’t have to take Dunkin’, all of which are offering a wide variety of specialty coffees. If we want to on the additional financial burden. The need for new equipment to meet keep up with these guys, all 7-Eleven stores customers’ demands isn’t a recent develop- need to have the WIN program up and ment. Reports by NACS and Convenience running ASAP, or at least components of Store News from as far back as 2014 have the program that will help us deliver the predicted the rise of specialty coffee and specialty coffees. Discount coffee alone won’t attract new the impact it will have on the c-store industry. In it’s 2015 State of the Industry report, customers. The truth of the matter is that NACS stated: “The proliferation of coffee Starbucks is not selling 79-cent or 99-cent houses has provided more variety and coffee, even though they have seen an immore specialized drinks that have not been pact due to the pandemic. If SEI provides historically found in convenience stores. franchisees with the equipment and prodThese options have developed consumer ucts that allows us to compete with Startastes and preferred flavor profiles. Accord- bucks, then we can realize a higher retail ing to the Specialty Coffee Association of price through the rest of our hot beverage America, the specialty coffee industry gen- offerings while still offering value. SEI is currently running another proerated $16.1 billion in sales in 2015, a third of the $48 billion ready-to-drink coffee in- motion on dispensed beverages. The real issue is that most of our stores don’t have dustry in total.” The demand for specialty coffee has the specialty coffee customers want. The been increasing over the last several years, WIN program will allow every customer to and SEI knows this. The company tested get a fresh cup of coffee every time they enter the store. Therefore, SEI should do two things: fully fund the new 79-cent coffee promotion and accelerate the implementation of the WIN program in all stores. The customer count decline is not only a franchisee problem, but we are experiencing the financial effects. SEI should bear the cost of the discounting as they promised when they rolled out 7-Rewards: that all 7-Rewards promotions would be funded, even proprietary beverages.

“In the meantime, SEI should fully fund the discount dispensed beverage promotions so franchisees won’t have to take on the additional financial burden.” 24

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ing recreational marijuana causes junk food sales to rise by about 6.3 percent. • Pizza chains just wrapped up one of their strongest years ever thanks to the pandemic, reported Bloomberg. Domino’s reported U.S. same-store sales growth of 17.5 percent last quarter, while Papa John’s sales soared 23.8 percent— well above pre-pandemic levels. • Kroger has been testing the new KroGO smart cart in a Cincinnati-area store since last fall, reported Winsight Grocery Business. The cart can weigh items, provide shopping suggestions, and scan and pay for orders without requiring shoppers to visit a traditional checkout lane. • Americans devoured a record 1.42 billion chicken wings while watching Super Bowl LV, up 2 percent from last year, according to the National Chicken Council’s annual Wing Report. • Massachusetts will ban the sale of new cars powered by gasoline and other fossil fuels by 2035, reported CNET.com. It’s the first state to follow California, which this past September rolled out its plan to stop the sale of any new car with an internal-combustion engine. • Retail sales of plantbased dairy and egg products will rise at an average annual rate of 6.0 percent, reaching $5.2 billion by 2024, according to market research firm Packaged Facts. This is up from $4.3 billion in estimated sales in 2020, which itself is up from $3.9 billion in sales during 2019. • PepsiCo Inc. has rebranded its Aunt Jemima pancake-and-syrup line as Pearl Milling Co., following through on a pledge to eliminate a brand linked to racial stereotypes, reported Bloomberg. Products with the new name—including pancake mixes, syrups, cornmeal and other goods—will begin appearing on shelves in June. • Uber recently announced that it is buying alcohol-delivery service Drizly for $1.1 billion in stock and cash. The company said continued on page 28


Mr. Shultz later served as an informal adviser to President George W. Bush and served on a number of high-level government and corporate boards. His varied and storied career, heavily dominated by public service, brought him into close contact with a wide array of corporate, political and foreign leaders. On the occasion of his hundredth birthday on December 13, 2020, he published a thoughtful essay in an attempt to distill the essential lessons he learned along the way. The title of the essay is “Trust is the Coin of the Realm” and you can read it for yourself at https://www.hoover.org/research/ trust-coin-realm. George Schultz summarizes his century long experience as follows: “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was—the family room, the schoolroom, the coach’s room, the office room, the government room, or the military room—good things happened. I TRUST 7-ELEVEN, INC. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.” What Mr. Schultz appears to be telling us is that there are three essential aspects of trust. First, it is essential in any relationship, necessarily including the one between a franchisor 7-ELEVEN, INC TRUSTS and its franchisees. Second, ITS FRANCHISEES trust is earned, and cannot be purchased, awarded or conferred. And third, it costs absolutely nothing. It is no secret that the current relationship between SEI and its franchise community is

As I write this, the country mourns the recent passing of George P. Schultz at the age of 100. A member of what has often been called the Greatest Generation, he served in combat as a United States Marine in the South Pacific during World War II, following which he earned a PhD in industrial economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later became Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and then served as Secretary of Labor, followed by a stint as the first Director of the Office of Management and Budget, both under President Richard Nixon. He then returned to the corporate world, rising to the presidency of Bechtel, the largest American engineering, procurement, construction, and project management company. Then, from 1982 to 1989 he was Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan.

“It is no secret that the current relationship between SEI and its franchise community is at its lowest ebb in decades.” at its lowest ebb in decades. In this column, I will not debate or assess responsibility for that circumstance. What is very clear is that this toxic relationship is marked by a conspicuous absence of trust on both sides. In a 2018 survey of franchisees conducted through SurveyMonkey, only 13 percent of franchisee respondents agreed with the statement, “7-Eleven has a positive relationship with its franchisees.” Seventy-six percent of franchisee respondents disagreed (54 percent strongly disagreed and 22 percent somewhat disagreed). The absence of trust was amply illustrated by the earlier comprehensive survey of franchisee opinion conducted by the National Coalition through Franchise Business Review, which we have previously written about in this space. Here are the salient findings from the survey: • Franchisee response to the statement “I trust 7-Eleven, Inc.” was that 61 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposition. Only 20 percent strongly agreed or agreed. • Franchisee response to the statement “7-Eleven trusts its franchisees” was that 75 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposition. Only 11 percent strongly agreed or agreed. The longer the franchisee was in the continued on page 28

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Trust Is The Coin Of The Realm continued from page 27

system and the older the franchisee was, the less favorably they assessed the trust between the parties. The more recent survey of franchisees conducted through SurveyMonkey served to confirm the earlier findings. More specifically, 76 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement “7Eleven trust its franchisees,” a virtually identical score to the 75 percent of respondents who disagreed with that statement three years earlier. Other questions in the 2018 survey involved franchisee reactions to other questions which were related to the issues of trust, honesty, ethical conduct and related matters. Here is a summary of those survey results, which provide further confirmation of the embedded and seemingly intractable franchise relationship problem in the system. By way of contrast, Franchise Business Review is a national franchise market research firm that performs independent

“In a 2018 survey of franchisees conducted through SurveyMonkey, only 13 percent of franchisee respondents agreed with the statement, ‘7-Eleven has a positive relationship with its franchisees.’” Statement

“When trust was in the room, whatever room that was—the family room, the schoolroom, the coach’s room, the office room, the government room, or the military room—good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”

surveys of fran—GEORGE SHULTZ, chisee satisfaction PRESIDENT, BECHTEL CORPORATION and franchise buyer experiences. It benchmarks each of its surveys against all Eleven system to internalize his core mesof the other surveys conducted each year. sage. George Shultz’s message should serve One of its 57 questions relates to how the as a simple but effective guide towards franchisees in a given franchise system rate righting the ship of the 7-Eleven system the trustworthiness of their franchisor. In and its relationship with its franchisees. stark contrast to the National Coalition Despite his passing, it is nowhere near too survey results, Franchise Business Review, late to do so. based on 29,416 survey responses, reported a highly favorable 81 percent score ERIC H. KARP on a national basis. This is essentially the flipside of the findings with respect to SEI. Mr. Shultz concludes his essay in part as follows: “’In God we trust.’ Yes, and when we are at our best, also in one another. Trust is fundamental, reciprocal, and pervasive. If it is present, anything is possible. If it is absent, nothing is possible.” It is my hope that the passing of this great American patriot and public servant will galvanize all stakeholders in the 7Disagree/ Agree/ Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree

7-Eleven collaborates with franchisees in their leadership to develop and grow their business.



7-Eleven executives are honest and ethical.



My decision to invest in a 7-Eleven was a good one.



If I had it to do all over again, I would choose to enter into a 7-Eleven system is a franchisee.



7-Eleven treats its franchisees better than America’s other leading franchise-based companies.



7-Eleven has the franchisee’s best interests at heart.



7-Eleven cares about its franchisees.



7-Eleven puts franchisees success first.



7-Eleven trusts its franchisees.



Average Score




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CAN BE REACHED AT 617-423-7250 or ekarp@wkwrlaw.com

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once the transaction has been completed Drizly’s marketplace will be integrated with the Uber Eats app, but the standalone Drizly app will remain, as well. • Walmart is testing a new technology that could make grocery delivery possible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reported Yahoo Finance. This spring, the big-box retailer will let customers in Bentonville, Arkansas receive grocery deliveries in a temperaturecontrolled HomeValet smart box located outside their homes, which communicates with the delivery associate’s device to provide secure access for delivery. • Unilever has promised that every worker who provides it with goods and services will earn a living wage by 2030 even if it costs the company more, reported CNN Business. The living wage initiative will extend to 65,000 continued on page 32

Vendor Guest Column

RISK MANAGEMENT AND WHY PEOPLE GET INJURED John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering Consultant, MSIG Insurance Group Risk management, what does it mean? We understand the term management because at its root it means “handling.” This equates to handling people, problems, finances, and the general business of running the store. Risk means uncertainty about whether a loss could occur. Businesses are willing to accept a certain amount of risk if they feel it can be managed. Risk can be managed by trying to prevent losses, trying to decrease the loss frequency or costs, or paying for those losses through insurance despite our best efforts. It’s important to remember that with insurance there are still indirect costs from disruption, downtime, or loss of an employee. Your role as the Risk Manager is to reduce the uncertainty by identifying risks, instituting procedures to manage the risks, and creating a culture of safety to control the chances of risk and losses. Why do people take chances or risks? For example, why would an experienced and trained employee leave the store to confront a suspected shoplifter and potentially get seriously injured? It is assumed that people assess risk in a rational manner, weighing information before making a decision. The more information the better the decision, right? We know from experience that posters, new employee orientation, and an occasional reminder is not solely effective in managing risky behav-

ior. People perceive risk differently, and or condition? without truly knowing your employees • Upturned edges on a and what influences their behavior floor mat. toward chance-taking, it cannot be • Unattended spill on managed. the floor. Employees take chances or are in• Standing on a milk crate. jured because of different reasons, • Blocked exit door. but here are seven preventable • Trying to lift two cases of water. causes: • Confronting a shoplifter outside. 1. Unfamiliar or did not recSometimes both a condiognize the hazard because tion and behavior are inof inadequate training or volved, but research shows reinforcement. almost 90 percent of em“Your role as the 2. Assumed expertise from Risk Manager is ployee work injuries are a prior job. A new worker rooted in unsafe or riskto reduce the with old skills may not taking behavior. Managuncertainty by know your operation. ing unsafe behavior is a 3. Fear of asking questions. identifying risks, challenge and requires Never assume the absence instituting procontinuing diligence. of questions means an emLet's look at assault incedures to manage ployee understands. juries and a common 4. Too comfortable with risk the risks, and cause of the injury from or it “won’t happen to me.” creating a culture the employee escalating This characteristic must be of safety to control the situation or leaving the recognized and addressed. register area. Considering the chances of 5. Personal issues or workthe high risk, what is the risk and losses.” life balance out of kilter. employee's perception Know your employees and that harm will occur? If it their outside life. is continually reinforced that shoplifting is 6. Working alone. Employees are more likely hurting the business, but training describes to take chances without supervision. Know they are not to leave the store, what priority that and instill the mindset of self-manage- will the employee take in this situation? ment of personal safety. If an employee shows a pattern of ag7. Poor or inconsistent safety messaging. gressiveness when dealing with shoplifters Verbal and non-verbal safety cues but there is no coaching or counseling, what are the odds they may one day escalate a sit“Risk can be managed by trying matter. There are many other reasons uation to a point of being seriously injured? to prevent losses, and by trying why employees take chances or act How do we recognize and correct an without regard for the rules. These unsafe condition? Hazard Identification! to decrease the loss frequency can be grouped into two basic root Walking the store and correcting condior costs, or paying for those causes: Unsafe Conditions and tions when seen. Checking housekeeping, losses through insurance Unsafe Behavior. Can you catego- equipment condition, things on the floor, despite our best efforts.” continued on page 32 rize these situations as a behavior AVANTI J A N U A R Y | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 1


Vendor Guest Column continued from page 31

condition of product in the “One of the most effective tools in vault. These are conditions controlling unsafe behaviors is ‘Take that can result in employee or customer injury and 2 seconds for safety,’ with a brief need immediate correction pause to think about the possibility or protection until it can be that an injury can be prevented.” addressed. 4. Ask your employees about their conSimple housekeeping is one of the most cerns, ideas, or better methods. They are effective tools in preventing unsafe condiconstantly interacting with equipment, tions. It’s easy to get used to looking at things as are when you are in the store every day. products, and customers, and know what Show your employees it matters and expect works and where risks exist. Empower your clean, orderly storage areas, coolers, register employees to ask questions and feel comfortable getting an honest response. areas, and especially the shopping floor. 5. Enforcement and discipline if necesHow do we recognize and correct risktaking characteristics or unsafe behavior? sary. Employees must know there are rules This is the most challenging of corrections and boundaries for unsafe behavior. With strong reinforcement of the rules, the embecause so many variables can be involved. First, know your employees and their ployee will recognize the true priority. This likelihood of risk-taking. Do they listen to also shows the other employees you want a instruction? How do they act with cus- well-run operation. 6. Praise and reward positive behavior. tomers that question an ID for alcohol, demands a warmer pizza, or are suspected of Everyone wants to be appreciated and acshoplifting? Are they short-tempered? Do knowledged for proper handling of a difficult they follow the rules, training, and advice? If situation or risky situation. Using the right you or the manager overlooks risky behavior step stool, proper handling of a suspected or chance-taking, you have subtly reinforced shoplifter, or asking for help are all behaviors that will foster a positive safety culture. that personal safety is not the priority. Positive, safe behavior is contagious! 7. Working alone is a comTips To Manage Or Minimize Unsafe Behavior mon scenario for unsafe behavior since no one is watching. The key 1. Training—This must be done thoris instilling in employees that bad oughly at hire and regularly after. Watching things can happen if personal a video or seeing a poster has a limited imsafety is not part of their conpact on behavior modification since adults tinuous self-risk manageretain very little about what they see. There ment. Employees need to is far greater retention through hearing and hear you want them to go doing and repeating the desired behavior. home every day the same way they arrived! And remember, a young adult needs to be 8. We all believe we have common trained differently than an older adult. Never sense; unfortunately, we don’t always use it. assume a new employee is an expert! Actually, common sense is an uncommon 2. Personal problems, troubles at home, trait, used uncommonly by uncommon or general health influences behavior at people in uncommon situations. Consider work. Communicate privately and create an this in your risk management! open atmosphere where the employee feels they can be honest and will be heard. Who’s Responsible And How 3. Provide on the spot correction of unsafe behavior. Explain in a positive tone the Do You Sell Safe Behavior? As the risk manager owner, you and right way to do the task or manage a cusyour managers set the culture of caring tomer situation. 32

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direct suppliers and several thousand agricultural businesses. • Dunkin’ offered its DD Perks rewards members a free medium hot coffee with any purchase every Monday in February. • Family Dollar has partnered with Instacart to bring same-day delivery from over 6,000 locations in as quick as an hour, reported RetailWire.com. The partnership marks the first by a national dollar store chain and a same-day delivery platform. • The economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, but the national unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent, which is 54 percent below the peak of 14.7 percent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by WalletHub. • A robot developed by Badger Technologies is using ultraviolet light to disinfect supermarkets and other retail and foodservice spaces, with initial tests indicating the macontinued on page 37

about safe conditions and safe behavior. Your verbal and non-verbal communication, and expectations for your managers and employees, will influence the likelihood of risk-taking. “Everyone lives by selling something.” —Robert Louis Stevenson In this case, it’s important to sell your employees on your product line of health, safety, profit, and wellbeing. These things have different meanings for different people, and this is where your sales skills should be used in understanding their needs and desires, including staying healthy. Close the sale and then keep selling. We’re here to help manage your risks. If you have any questions or need further advice contact SEI, your broker, or MSIG. JOHN HARP CAN BE REACHED AT

jharp@msigusa.com or 908-604-2951

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Legislative Update measure would also end pay below the minimum wage for tipped workers, along with certain teens and people with disabilities. e party has long pushed to raise the federal minimum wage, which has stalled at $7.25 an hour since 2009. However, even with all Democrats supporting the bill, the party would have to win over 10 skeptical Republicans to pass it in the Senate. It is unclear if Democrats could use budget reconciliation, a process that requires only a majority vote to pass bills but restricts what can go into the legislation, to approve a wage increase. Opponents of a $15 pay floor have long contended Congress should not set a national standard because costs of living vary across the country. During the COVID pandemic, small business groups have said the policy would hurt companies scraping by with public health restrictions in place.

loophole for e-cigarettes that exists by requiring that the age of the recipient be verified in-person at delivery, a requirement that exists for other age-restricted products sold online but not for vapor. e Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children also requires online sellers to collect and remit the appropriate state and local taxes. ese measures are already in place for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products purchased over the internet because of a bill that Congress passed in 2010, the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act. However, e-cigarettes were not prevalent in the marketplace when the law was passed.

L.A. County Considers $5 'Hero Pay' Bonus

Grocery and retail drugstore employees who work in unincorporated Los Angeles County could see a pay bump of $5 an New Federal Bill Stops hour if the county Board of Supervisors approves a “hero pay” Underage Vapor Sales ordinance, reported the Los Angeles Times. e measure was quickly opposed by grocery industry leaders, who said it could Congress recently passed legislation in the require stores to raise prices at a time when their customers are end-of-year omnibus spending packages to struggling to make ends meet. At the L.A. County Board of Sustop the online sales of e-cigarettes to minors, pervisors meeting on January 5, Supervisors Hilda Solis and reported NACS Online. e legislation, Holly Mitchell put forth the motion that would mandate the pay strongly supported by NACS, closes the online bump for publicly traded grocery store or re20 States Raise Their Minimum Wage tail drug companies, or companies that have Twenty states raised their minimum wage rates on January 1—some by at least 300 employees nationwide and have more than 10 employees per store site. If appennies, others by a dollar or more—as part of previously scheduled efforts to proved by the board, the ordinance would readjust for cost-of-living gains or to ratchet up toward goals like $15-an-hour main in effect for 120 days. minimum pay, reported CNN Business. In New Mexico, the minimum wage increased to $10.50, up $1.50 from the current $9 wage. In California, the rate Long Beach Mayor Signs for employers with 26 workers or more rose from $13 to $14 an hour, the ‘Hero Pay’ Ordinance highest state-wide baseline in the country. In Minnesota, the gain was just 8 e mayor of Long beach, California recently cents, to a $10.08 hourly rate for large employers. Here is the complete list of signed a “hero pay” increase for the city’s grostates that raised their minimum wages on January 1, 2021: cery store workers as the coronavirus continMinnesota—$10.08 (up 8¢) Alaska—$10.34 (up 15¢) ues to devastate communities across Southern Missouri—$10.30 (up 85¢) Arizona—$12.15 (up 15¢) California., reported KTLA 5 Los Angeles. e Montana—$8.75 (up 10¢) Arkansas—$11.00, (up $1.00) City Council unanimously voted for the ordiCalifornia—$14.00 (up $1.00) New Jersey—$12.00 (up $1.00) nance during a meeting on January 19. e law Colorado—$12.32 (up 32¢) New Mexico—$10.50 (up $1.50) requires estabFlorida—$8.65 (up 9¢) New York—$12.50 (up 70¢) lishments with ”CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS Ohio—$8.80 (up 10¢) Illinois—$11.00 (up $1.00) at least 300 South Dakota—$9.45 (up15¢) Maine—$12.15 (up 15¢) REINTRODUCED A BILL THAT employees naVermont—$11.75 (up 79¢) Maryland—$11.75 (up 75¢) tionwide or WOULD GRADUALLY HIKE THE Massachusetts—$13.50 (up 75¢) Washington—$13.69 (up 19¢) continued



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Legislative Update continued from previous page

or more employees and to stores larger than 10,000 square feet. It doesn’t apply to convenience stores or farmers markets. “Long Beach Many unions have been pressing for the raise, but California’s hero smaller stores are concerned about footing the bill. pay ordinance Many independent grocers are pushing back, sayrequires establishing the hazard pay will have a major impact on ments with at least their slim profit margins and that independent 300 employees grocers are being proactive in assisting employees. nationwide or more On the same day the new law went into efthan 15 employees fect, two Northwest grocery industry trade per grocery store groups—the Northwest Grocery Association and to pay workers the Washington Food Industry Association—filed Seattle Mandates Pandemic a lawsuit against the city, reported the Seattle an additional Raise For Grocery Workers Times. e lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in $4 per hour for at e Seattle City Council recently approved Seattle, alleges the city’s law interferes with the colleast 120 days.” legislation that provides $4 per hour hazard pay lective-bargaining process between grocery stores for grocery store workers during the COVID-19 and unions and also “picks winners and losers” by pandemic, reported KIRO 7 News. e temporary measure, singling out large grocery companies. which kicked in on February 3, applies to companies with 500 more than 15 employees per grocery store in Long Beach to pay workers an additional $4 per hour for at least 120 days. Officials in the city and county of Los Angeles were also working on similar pay raises for grocery store workers. e California Grocers Association, which represents more than 300 retailers, called the mandate “illegal.” e group said it has filed a lawsuit, asking a federal court in Los Angeles to invalidate the law. It’s also seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the city from implementing it.

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Join Your Local Franchise Owner’s Association Today! The best way to stay informed of the latest changes and challenges to our 7-Eleven system—and the convenience industry, in general—is to join your local Franchise Owner’s Association. FOAs help franchisees share ideas and concerns, and allow us to approach “None of us is as great our franchisor and vendor as all of us together.” partners with a unified voice. Becoming an FOA member also makes you a member of the National Coalition, which consists of all 41 FOAs nationwide. To join your local organization, contact the FOA president closest to you, or follow the instructions below to fill out an online membership form. If you cannot find the FOA closest to you, contact nationaloffice@ncasef.com for more information. We welcome your participation!

How do I join an FOA? 1. Log in to 7 Help using 7 Hub (secured) in-store or using this link https://7elevenna.service now.com/ from any external device. 2. In the search bar type “FOA.” 3. Select the popup suggestion “FOA/PAC: FRANCHISE OWNERS ASSOCIATION.” 4. Type “NONE” in the “Current FOA” box if you are joining an FOA for the first time or you are not a member of any other FOA. 5 Type in the full name of the FOA that you wish to join (No abbreviation) in the “Future FOA” box. 6. Type in the amount of monthly dues as instructed per local FOA. 7. Type “Please enroll (store number) as a member of (name of the local) FOA.” 8. Repeat Step 7. 9. Press the green submit icon.

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Legislative Update Latest Tobacco Legislation By State Convenience Store News recently published a list of tobacco legislation at the local, state and federal levels. Included here are only those states in which 7-Eleven operates. CALIFORNIA ● Manhattan Beach—e city's ban on the sale of tobacco products went into effect on January 1. e Manhattan City Council approved the ban in February 2020, but allowed a temporary reprieve for retailers who faced hardship because of the legislation. FLORIDA ● Stuart—Stuart city commissioners approved an ordinance raising the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. e new rule goes into effect immediately. Fines for businesses violating the Tobacco 21 law range from $250 for the first offense to 1,000 for the third offense. Martin County approved a Tobacco 21 rule in November, and it went into effect on February 1. MARYLAND ● Annapolis—State lawmakers introduced legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products in Maryland. e proposed legislation, House Bill 134 and Senate Bill 177, would include menthol. OREGON ● Salem—As of January 1, the state's cigarette excise levy increased from $1.33 a pack to $3.33 a pack, a $2 increase. Cigars are now taxed $1, and electronic cigarettes and vapor products are taxed at a rate of 65 percent on the wholesale purchase price. Also effective January 1, the state's definition of a cigarette changed to include little cigars.

Attorneys General Call For Menthol Cigarettes Ban Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and his Idaho counterpart Lawrence Wasden recently led a group of 23 attorneys general in calling for the FDA to ban menthol cigarettes, reported Patch.com. e group submitted a letter to the FDA indicating a ban would improve public health, decrease youth smoking and reduce the harm the product does to minority populations. In the letter, the attorneys general also said the ban on menthol cigarettes could save thousands of lives and should be implemented right away. e letter suggested menthol ciga-


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rettes continue to be a major barrier ATTORNEYS GENERAL to smoking cessation and their reHAS SUBMITTED A LETTER moval from the marketplace would TO THE FDA REQUESTING lead to a reduction of smoking-reA BAN ON MENTHOL lated health conditions. Although there has been a decline in non-menCIGARETTES.” thol smoking, according to the attorneys general, menthol smoking numbers have remained constant, and those products disproportionally impact youth and minority populations.

California’s Flavored Tobacco Ban Goes Up For Vote Californians will vote in 2022 on whether the state should ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including flavored vaping cartridges, reported the Associated Press. Lawmakers approved the ban in 2020, but a referendum qualified on January 22, meaning voters will have their say in November 2022. In the meanwhile, the law won’t take effect. Major tobacco companies backed the referendum in hopes of overturning the law. e flavored tobacco ban restricts sale of the products but does not criminalize possession. It also exempts loose-leaf tobacco, premium cigars and shisha tobacco used in hookah. It bars the sale of flavors including—but not limited to—“fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.” Violators who sell the products would be fined $250. A group backed by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA, called the California Coalition for Fairness, supported placing the referendum on the ballot.

Two California Cities Ban Tobacco Sales On January 1st, two cities in California removed tobacco products from stores, according to a press release issued by anti-tobacco organization Action on Smoking and “LAWMAKERS IN Health (ASH). Beverly Hills and CALIFORNIA, Manhattan Beach became the only CONNECTICUT, AND jurisdictions in the U.S. to eliminate MARYLAND ARE the sale of commercial tobacco, although other jurisdictions are seriWORKING TO BAN ously considering it. Both cities ALL FLAVORED included a phase-out period to allow TOBACCO PRODretailers to adjust and to help people


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who smoke to quit. e Beverly Hills City Council was the first to pass its ordinance, which was first proposed by then-Mayor, current Councilmember John Mirisch in 2017.

Connecticut Lawmakers Seek Ban On Flavored Tobacco Connecticut lawmakers recently introduced Senate Bill 326, which would prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarette and tobacco products — including menthol cigarettes, reported the Hartford Courant. e bill defines “flavor” as a “distinguishable taste or aroma,” including any type of “fruit, chocolate, menthol, mint, wintergreen, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice,” but does not include the taste or aroma of tobacco. If the bill passes through the General Assembly, Connecticut would join Massachusetts, which currently has a full tobacco flavor ban on all products. New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have banned all flavored e-cigarettes and are working this session to include menthol cigarettes, while Maine is also craing similar legislation.

Maryland House Bill Would Ban Flavored Tobacco Maryland lawmakers are considering a statewide ban on flavored tobacco products, from cigars to menthol cigarettes and vaping products, reported WBAL TV. Supporters of House Bill 134 contend the measure is designed to protect children. But members of the House Economic Matters and Health and Government Operations committees, which held a hearing for the legislation, questioned whether it goes too far. Committee members took issue with including cigars in the ban, asking whether the bill could be amended to allow adults to continue vaping. One member suggested increasing fines for selling to minors rather than going forward with a total ban. According to the article, the House bill is expected to be amended. e Maryland Senate is considering legislation that would only take menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping products out of convenience stores.

Washington, D.C. Styrofoam Ban Kicks In As of January 1, District of Columbia convenience stores and food retailers can no longer sell food or merchandise in foam containers or use foam packing materials, reported NACS Online. e D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) began inspecting businesses for compliance in January, and fines of up to $800 will be issued for violations starting July 1. e new regulations are an amendment to the District’s existing Foam Ban of 2016, which prohibited restaurants and other food-serving institutions from using disposable foam food ware. e DOEE said extending the foam ban to retail sales is expected to further reduce the availability and consumption of foam in the District, leading to waterways that are cleaner, safer and healthier for humans and wildlife.

chine can eliminate 99 percent of coronaviruses, E.coli, salmonella enterica and influenza A, reported Supermarket Perimeter. • Buy now, pay later plans are replacing credit card purchases for a growing number of consumers and their popularity surged with shoppers during the holidays, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The option to pay off purchases in installments has been around for a while as a low- or no-interest alternative to credit cards. • Circle K leads the way in Norway for EV charging, and has more charging stations and home and office charging solutions than any other fuel retailer in Norway, the company announced. Circle K said it is bringing that know-how to North America, and plans to be ready and waiting as more EV customers hit the roads. • Coca-Cola recently relaunched its Coke Insiders three-month subscription program, reported PYMNTS.com. For $45, subscribers receive one box containing three new or limited-edition products before they hit the shelves nationwide, fun swag and an exclusive virtual experience with a celebrity. • As the COVID-19 pandemic increased demand for packaged beer, it has also made it difficult for small breweries to get their hands on aluminum cans and their beers on store shelves, reported CBS Miami. Also contributing to the shortage was the move by many beverage companies from plastic to more environmentally friendly aluminum. • Mondelēz International recently announced it has acquired Hu Master Holdings, a snacking company offering high-quality snacks made from simple ingredients. Hu has become a category leader in premium chocolate, and one of the fastest-growing confectionery brands in the natural channel. • PepsiCo has teamed with Beyond Meat to develop and sell snacks and beverages made from plant-based protein, recontinued on page 40

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NCASEF In other systems, the franchisor operates under an open-door policy where franchisees and their independent associations can have a meaningful dialogue about substantive issues, marked by transparency and mutual respect. That is not how SEI works with the democratically elected leaders of the franchise community. It makes us wonder whether the company is at all interested in hearing from us or working amicably to find solutions to problems that plague us.

“In other systems, We pointed out to the FTC the franchisor operates that our declining merchanunder an open-door policy where dise gross profit margin is franchisees and their independent another area of deep conassociations can have a meaningful cern, not just for us, but dialogue about substantive issues, also for people who are marked by transparency and mutual considering buying a 7respect. That is not how SEI works Eleven store. Throughout with the democratically elected the pandemic, in-store sales leaders of its franchise volume has decreased and becommunity.” cause we split gross profits—in-

stead of paying a traditional royalty to our franchisor—the gross margin is what creates franchisee profitability. But, someone who is considering buying a 7-Eleven store does not get a clear picture from the FDD of how declining store-level gross margin will truly impact the profit he will earn from his business. Nor does the FDD clearly spell out how new programs such as 7NOW impact profitability. “You only have to look at gasoline profits to get a clear picture of the imbalance in the system,” said Michael Jorgensen, NCASEF Ex-

HIGHLIGHTS ecutive Vice Chairman. “Franchisees make only one-and-a-half cents on each gallon of gas sold, while we bear a number of significant expenses related to the gasoline operation. For the six months ended June 30, 2020, SEI’s retail fuel margin was 68 percent higher (21.07¢ cents versus 35.51¢) than it had been for the same period the prior year. How is that fair? With the $21 billion purchase of Speedway, SEI has made it clear it is doubling down on gasoline. We understand that SEI is in the business to make money, but so are we. We don’t support the unfair split in profits.” Today, SEI is selling more franchises and there are a growing number of stores available, which means more franchisees will be entering this system. That is why we can’t ignore the inequity in our franchise system. Although no major changes to the Franchise Rule have been made since 2007, we are hopeful the FTC will see and understand our plight and act accordingly to make the relationship more fair, balanced and equitable.

Sign Up For The Dispatch Newsletter! Sign up today to receive Dispatch, the NCASEF’s email newsletter that keeps you up to date on the latest 7-Eleven news and announcements from national leadership. With all the changes and challenges happening within our system, the Dispatch newsletter serves as a direct line of communication between the National Coalition and the franchisee community. Receive urgent information, alerts, and reports directly from national leadership as it happens. Head over to www.NCASEF.com and click on the “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” button on the upper right column of the homepage. Then fill out the form to be placed on the Dispatch email list.

Want to talk to other franchisees? To find the FOA closest to you. Visit www.NCASEF.com to contact any one of the 41 local Franchise Owner’s Associations nationwide. Want to talk to someone at the national level? Call the NCASEF Vice Chairman in your area: The National Coalition has Franchise Owner’s Association member organizations in all 33 states in which 7-Eleven operates. 38

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Paul Lobana, Vice Chairman, President, Southern California FOA

Rehan Hashmi, Vice Chairman, Vice President, Alliance Of 7-Eleven Franchisees

paullobana@aol.com 818.203.2527

rehan711@yahoo.com 847-845-8477

Ajinder Handa, Vice Chairman, President, Greater Seattle, FOA

National Office

425-438-8381 ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

nationaloffice@ncasef.com 210.971.9211

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fuel. Of the total 2,446-store decline, 1,986 did not sell fuel, compared to 460 that sold fuel. Despite the third straight yearly decline in stores, the overall convenience store count has increased 2.7 percent during the past decade. e last time the industry saw multi-year declines was 2009 and 2010, related to the economic fallout of the Great Recession. Among the states, Texas continues to have the most convenience stores (15,695 stores), or more than one in 10 stores in the country. e rest of the top 10 also remains the same from the year prior. California is second at 12,074 stores, followed by Florida (9,619), New York (8,096), Georgia (6,574), North Carolina (5,890), Ohio (5,564), Michigan (4,855), Pennsylvania (4,698) and Illinois (4,629).

C-Store Visits Rise As Lottery Jackpots Increase When the Mega Millions jackpot grew 38 percent to $865 million and the Powerball jackpot jumped 33 percent to $730 million during the week of January 11 to 18, convenience store sales for lottery tickets increased by 22 percent, according to a new report by Skupos. is shows that lottery prize drawings are a significant incremental revenue driver for convenience stores, Skupos stated. While lottery ticket sales certainly ramped up during the final days before the Mega Millions $1 billion and Powerball $731 million jackpots were won, they had been growing steadily for at least two weeks as the jackpots grew. In fact, from January 4 to 11, cstores saw a similar week-over-week growth rate to the week January 11 to 18 (23 percent versus 22 percent). Contrast

that with December 2020, when revenue from lottery tickets increased by an average of only 4 percent each week.

SEI Begins Converting Oklahoma Stores

crease than a decrease (59 percent vs. 30 percent, respectively), according to a new survey of U.S. convenience store owners by NACS Research. Convenience stores, which sell 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the country, experienced a decrease in fuel sales and commuter traffic throughout the pandemic. However, retailers adjusted their in-store offers to focus more on take-home meals and grab-and-go meal solutions: 49 percent put more emphasis on pre-packaged ready-to-eat meals, 41 percent focused more on prepared foodservice meals, and 24 percent focused more on ready-to-heat takehome meals.

At least 30 Oklahoma City metro 7Eleven stores, locally owned for 67 years until being sold in February 2020 to SEI, are undergoing a makeover that will be both cosmetic and will expand the stores’ offerings to customers, reported e Oklahoman. Some changes took place immediately upon the acquisition. SEI added lottery kiosks as the sale was completed in late February (the stores did “Retailers also added or extended not have lottery sales their offer around more in-demand under the prior owners). products: 39 percent focused more on Icy drinks, unique to the Oklahoma stores, were cleaning/toiletry items, and 34 perreplaced with Slurpees cent focused more on grocery items.” sold by SEI. e biggest change is the addition of Retailers also added or extended their Laredo Taco Company restaurants, a offer around more in-demand products: 39 chain purchased by 7-Eleven in 2018. percent focused more on cleaning/toiletry Customers also will see an influx of the 7 items, and 34 percent focused more on Select brand items that include juices, ice grocery items. And, because COVID-19 cream, electronics and wines. e chain restrictions limited on-premise consumpof more than 100 stores in the Oklahoma tion of alcohol at other establishments, City metro were started by William convenience stores focused more on takeBrown in 1953, with the blessing of his home alcohol offers. Overall, 39 percent of friend Joe C. ompson Jr., and it was the only time a separate 7-Eleven chain was stores put more emphasis on this category, allowed. Brown's son, Jim Brown, with 58 percent adding new items. sold the chain in February 2020. Retailers said they are more pessimistic (41 percent) than optimistic (24 percent) about shopper foot traffic for first-quarter 2021, but they are increasingly optimistic about sales in each ensuing quarter. By the fourth quarter, retailers said they are more optimistic (67 percent) than pessimistic (6 percent) about how Convenience retailers business will be performing, likely due to say that in-store sales an expectation that a larger proportion of grew in 2020, with Americans will have received a COVIDtwice as many report19 vaccination by the end of the year. ing an in-store sales in-

C-Store Sales Were Strong In 2020

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McLane #1 On CSNews’ Top Wholesalers List McLane Co. Inc., Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc. and Eby-Brown Co. once again grabbed the top three spots on Convenience Store News’ annual ranking of the largest wholesalers to the convenience channel, reported CSNews Online. Based on survey data collected by CSNews, independent data sources and CSNews estimates, the annual CSNews Top Wholesalers Report provides the industry’s only look at the performance of the leading wholesale distributors to the c-store industry. Rankings are based on sales for the last full fiscal year for each company. According to the article, the nation’s top wholesale distributors to the convenience store industry saw average sales increase a little more than 2 percent in 2020 despite the economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic. e biggest year-overyear percentage sales increase was posted

by Southco Distributing Co. in Goldsboro, N.C., with a 15.4-percent gain. McLane recorded the highest amount of sales per retail location served, followed by Team Sledd and Cooper-Booth Wholesale Co. of Mountville, Pa.

Smoking Is On The Upswing

e decades-long decline in U.S. cigarette sales halted last year as people in lockdown lit up more frequently and health concerns around e-cigarettes caused some vapers to switch back to cigarettes, reported e Wall Street Journal. Before the pandemic, U.S. cigarette unit sales had been falling at an accelerating rate, hitting 5.5 percent in 2019, as smokers quit or switched to alternatives like e-cigarettes. e pandemic put the brakes on that slide. In 2020, the U.S. cigarette industry’s unit sales were flat compared to the previous year, according to data re“e decades-long decline in U.S. cigarette leased by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. sales halted last year as people in lockPeople had more oppordown lit up more frequently and health tunities to smoke because concerns around e-cigarettes caused some they spent more time at home and had more

vapers to switch back to cigarettes.”

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Questions For The CEO? Got a question you want to ask the CEO of 7-Eleven? Submit it via email to nationalcoalition@NCASEF.com. Include the phrase, “Question for the CEO.” We’ll print your question here next issue. All questions are anonymous. The changing environment franchisees face over the next year is bound to raise many issues we have not faced before. We have all signed a new contract that we have yet to test in practice. So, got a question? Let us know: nationalcoaltion2@ncasef.com 40

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ported Reuters. The new partnership will give the plant-based meat maker access to PepsiCo’s distribution and marketing resources and allow it to expand into new product lines. • McDonald’s, Dollar General, Love’s Travel Stops, and German supermarket chain Aldi are among the companies paying their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to several news sources. Love’s Travel Stops is paying its employees $75 to voluntarily receive the COVID19 vaccination, while McDonald’s, Dollar General and Aldi are offering four hours of bonus pay. • A new international study reveals that drinking coffee may lower the risk for prostate cancer, reported the New York Times. Compared with people who drank the least coffee, those who consumed the most had a 9 percent lower risk for prostate cancer. • The U.S. lost more than $36 billion in unemployment benefits to improper payments—largely from fraud— since the CARES Act was passed in the spring, reported CNBC. Fraud has focused primarily on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the self-employed and gig workers. • Supermarket chain Giant Food has launched a new initiative to highlight minority-owned business providers in their stores, reported news station WDVM. Over 3,000 products in Giant stores will feature updated shelf labels representing businesses that are Women, Black, Asian-Indian, Hispanic, LGBT, Asian-Pacific, or Veteran owned. • About a quarter (27 percent) of the public remains hesitant about getting the COVID19 vaccine, saying they probably or definitely would not get vaccinated even if it were available for free and deemed safe by scientists, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. • Dunkin’ has recently expanded its plant-based lineup by teaming continued on page 43

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money to spend on cigarettes because they spent less on gas, travel and entertainment, Altria said. At the same time, some e-cigarette users turned back to combustible cigarettes because of increased e-cigarette taxes, bans on flavored vaping products and confusion about the health effects of vaping. U.S. cigarette sales were even stronger last year than they were in 2015, when gas prices dropped sharply, allowing consumers more discretionary spending.

Starbucks Helps Washington With COVID Vaccine Rollout Looking to boost the slow pace of administering COVID-19 vaccinations, Washington State has turned to Starbucks for help streamlining logistics and setting a new goal to dole out 45,000 doses a day, reported NBC News. Starbucks has assigned 11 employees with expertise in labor and deployment, operations, and research and development to work full time on vaccine distribution in its home state, the company said, adding that the number of employees could change. e Starbucks employees assigned to work on vaccine distribution will use the company's computer simulation modeling system to find ways to expedite inoculations, according to the state and the company. Starbucks and Washington hope the partnership will create an improved vaccine distribution network across the state's 39 counties and 29 tribal nations.

Average Gas Prices Fell To Multiyear Lows In 2020 U.S. regular retail gasoline prices averaged $2.17 per gallon (gal) in 2020, 44 cents/gal (17 percent) lower than in 2019 and the lowest annual average since 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information

Administration’s (EIA) Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update. Gasoline prices at the beginning of the year were more than $2.50/gal; however, responses to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread reductions in passenger travel and gasoline demand, contributing to lower gasoline prices across the United States. U.S. gasoline prices averaged $2.38/gal in mid-March, just before a national emergency was declared. Gasoline prices fell for several consecutive weeks, ultimately reaching $1.77/gal on April 27, the lowest average price since early 2016, Vehicle travel in April fell to its lowest monthly level on record, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics data series that dates back to 2000.

Gas Prices To Increase In 2021

● e national average is forecast to rise as much as $1 per gallon from a low in January to a possible peak in July, as the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting demand as Americans slowly return to pre-COVID behaviors. ● While much of the U.S. population will see prices remain in the $2 per gallon range, major cities in California and Hawaii will spend the entire year over $3, while others, including Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Seattle are also at risk of seeing average prices over $3 per gallon in 2021.

COVID Remains A Big Concern For C-store Retailers

Despite the arrival of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic still ranks high on the minds of convenience store retailers, GasBuddy recently predicted that 2021 with 47 percent expecting it to have the may feature a sharp rally in gas prices by biggest impact on their sales and profyear end, warning that the national average itability in 2021, reported Convenience could rise to as high as $3 per gallon should Store News. According to the results of the the nation broadly recover from the publication’s 2021 Forecast Study, more COVID-19 pandemic. While the risk exists than three-quarters of the retailers surfor some pain at the pumps during the year, veyed rank COVID among their top three GasBuddy expects the yearly average will issues for the coming year. e article jump a more modest 27 cents per gallon in states the pandemic exacerbated the al2021. Some highlights from GasBuddy’s ready-worrisome decline in foot traffic at 2021 Fuel Price Outlook include: brick-and-mortar stores. While a majority ● e nation’s yearly gasoline bill will rise of c-store retailers (55 percent) expect to nearly $326 billion dollars, an increase their in-store foot traffic to increase in of over $45 billion from last year as the av2021, this is a drop of 13 points compared erage household sees their annual gasoline to last year. One in three retailers (34 perspending rise to $1,670. cent) are expecting more of the same in 2021 in regard to foot-traffic levels. Another top issue retailers believe will have a significant impact on sales and profitabil“2021 may feature a sharp rally in ity in the coming months is gas prices by year end, warning labor turnover and hiring difficulties. It is the No. 2 ranked that the national average could issue behind COVID, with 13 rise to as high as $3 per gallon.” percent expecting labor chalcontinued on page 43

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up with veggie brand MorningStar Farms to launch the new Southwest Veggie Power Breakfast Sandwich, a meatless sandwich that doesn’t sacrifice on taste, the company announced. • America’s first 3D-printed house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage recently went on sale in Long Island, New York for $299,000—half the price of traditional new builds in the area, reported the Daily Mail. • Coca-Cola with Coffee, which was first piloted in Japan in 2018, made its official debut in the U.S. on January 25. In a press release, Coca-Cola said the beverage creates the new “refreshment coffee” category with a “pioneering proposition that sips like a Coke and finishes like a coffee.” • The latest State of Consumer Behavior Report from Raydiant shows 46 percent of people who responded still want to shop for groceries in person, despite the threat posed by the pandemic. • Electric cars made up 54.3 percent of all new cars sold in Norway in 2020, a global record, up from 42.4 percent in 2019 and from a mere 1 percent of the overall market a decade ago, reported Reuters. The sale of electric cars in the Nordic country overtook those powered by petrol, diesel and hybrid engines. • Burger King is embarking on its first total rebrand in over 20 years, including a return to the classic logo and an emphasis on the whopper, reported Business Insider. Burger King is also investing in its app and drive-thru tech to compete with other fast-food competitors. • Many companies plan to ask their employees to return to the office once a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available later this year, but according to a survey conducted by LiveCareer 29 percent of working professionals say they would quit their jobs if they couldn’t continue working remotely. • A lawsuit filed by continued on page 44

lenges to have the biggest impact on their business. irty-eight percent rank this among their top three issues.

Organized Retail Thefts Increased In 2020

“e digital purchasing options that have gained the most traction since the pandemic began and will likely continue to be popular in the future include the ability to purchase via mobile…”

Organized retail crime is continuing to grow, with the number of dollars lost topping a key threshold for the fih year in a row and three-quarters of retail companies that have been victims saying activity is up, according to the 16th annual ORC study released by the National Retail Federation. e survey found 75 percent of loss prevention executives at a cross-section of large and mid-sized retail companies said ORC activity had increased in the past year, up from 68 percent in 2019. Losses averaged $719,548 per $1 billion in sales, a 2 percent increase from 2019 and the fih year in a row that the figure topped the $700,000 mark. Close to two-thirds (61 percent) of retailers said their companies are prioritizing ORC more than they were five years ago, with 52 percent allocating more technology to reducing risks such as ORC-related thes and 36 percent increasing loss prevention budgets.

ordering food online. PYMNTS said it will therefore be critical for retailers to continue to provide digital shopping options and invest in digital innovations long aer the risk of contagion has passed. e digital purchasing options that have gained the most traction since the pandemic began and will likely continue to be popular in the future include the ability to purchase via mobile, mobile order-ahead capabilities and the option to order food via aggregator, according to the study. Forty-one percent of consumers say they are shopping more via mobile now than they did prior to March 2020. ere are also 39 percent who say they are using mobile order-ahead options to order food more and 29 percent who are ordering via aggregator more than they did before the pandemic began.

Most Consumers Will Continue Shopping Online

Flavored Tobacco Ban Would Hurt NY Small Businesses

New research by PYMNTS shows that 54 percent of consumers who have moved at least one of their routine activities online since the pandemic began are very or extremely interested in getting vaccinated, but also that roughly 75 percent of them still do not plan to go back to shopping in stores the way they did prior to March 2020. Instead, they intend to keep shopping, paying and

Outlawing the sale of flavored tobacco products for adults—such as cherry pipe tobacco and menthol cigarettes—would deepen New York State's budget hole, threaten the survival of thousands of mom-and-pop retailers, and place the jobs of frontline workers at these businesses at risk, according to an economic study performed by Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) for continued on page 46

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NCASEF Holds Second

VIRTUAL TRADE SHOW With the pandemic continuing to limit franchisee interaction with our valued vendor community, the NCASEF held a second Virtual Trade Show on February 9 and 10 to provide franchisees an opportunity to explore new products, find great deals and place orders. Just like the first Virtual Trade show in November, franchisee registration was free, and franchisees were able to explore all of the exhibitors’ booth, download product information, and live chat with vendors about their products and deals. NCASEF officers were also available for live chats through the trade show website. The online event also featured a raffle contest with a $5,000 grand prize to motivate franchisees to place orders. Each order earned entries into the raffle. There was also a second prize of $2,500 and third of $1,500. Extra chances at the raffle were given to those who registered early. The Board and officers of the NCASEF thank all franchisees for their participation and support of our vendors, and send a very special Thank You to all of our exhibitors for their support.

Each exhibitor had a virtual booth for customer video and audio chatting with franchisees (Anheuser Busch, above). Franchisees could also chat with NCASEF officers (left).


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two customers against Subway claims that the chain’s tuna salad sandwich contains no actual tuna, reported USA Today. According to the lawsuit, independent testing revealed “the filling in the Products has no scintilla of tuna at all. In fact, the Products entirely lack any trace of tuna as a component, let alone the main or predominant ingredient.” Subway has denied the allegation. • Starbucks now operates a store in Seattle where the menu is completely plant-based, reported Restaurant Business. The coffee giant has been adding more plant-based items to the menu and the Seattle cafe is often used as a testing ground for new products. • Walgreens will begin offering a credit card and a prepaid debit card tied to its new loyalty program later this year in partnership with Mastercard and Synchrony, reported CNBC. The move is part of Walgreens’ efforts to seek out new revenue streams in the face of changing consumer behaviors driven by the pandemic. • Walmart said it will triple its exports of Indiamade goods to $10 billion each year by 2027 in a move that will help expand the global reach of goods from the South Asian nation, reported Reuters. India is already among Walmart’s top sourcing markets for products such as jewelry and homeware, with annual exports of about $3 billion. • Target recently paid all hourly employees a $500 bonus and offered store directors and others in leadership roles between $1,000 and $2,000 in extra pay after a strong holiday season, reported CNBC. Target reported a 17.2 percent same-store sales increase for November and December. • Coca-Cola is to test a paper bottle as part of a longer-term bid to eliminate plastic from its packaging entirely, reported BBC continued on page 49

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the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS). REMI estimated the proposed action would cost the state $3.4 billion in tax revenue over the next decade, cost shop owners nearly $500 million annually in lost sales, and eliminate 1,200 jobs in retail and related industries. Legislation has been introduced in the state Senate and Assembly that would bar New York's 21,000 licensed tobacco outlets from selling flavored tobacco products to age-verified customers. A law that took effect July 1, 2020 already prohibits them from selling flavored vaping products. New York City additionally bans the sale of flavored non-cigarette tobacco products. e REMI report notes that aer Massachusetts enacted a tobacco flavor ban June 1, 2020, its tobacco tax revenues plummeted, while those of New Hampshire and Rhode Island skyrocketed as smokers simply crossed state borders to continue buying flavored product, thwarting the health policy objective.

Inspire Brands Inc.’s Dunkin’ Donuts—saw sales plunge 24 percent to $36 billion in the past 12 months predominantly due to COVID-19 disruptions. e industry will return to pre-pandemic sales by 2023, Allegra said, adding that 65 percent of surveyed U.S. industry leaders say trading conditions will improve during the next 12 months. e pandemic played havoc on U.S. coffee chains, with Allegra calling the period “the worst trading environment in living memory.” Operators reporting losses due to COVID-19 estimate the cost is approximately $32,500 per store per month, according to the Allegra report. Still, while top-paying operators in prime city locations and at transport hubs endured a “catastrophic drop” in 2020, some surburban and rural locations saw significant sales upswings as customers shopped locally.

Coffee Chains To Slowly Recover From COVID Sales Hit

More Between-Meal Snacking Occasions

U.S. coffee chains will take two years to fully recover from an $11.5-billion sales plunge that wiped out a quarter of their market in a year when COVID-19 kept customers from cafes, reported Bloomberg. According to market researcher Allegra Group, the U.S. branded coffee chain segment— which is dominated by Starbucks Corp. and

Over the past five years, Americans added 25 between-meal snacking occasions per capita, from 505 between-meal snacking occasions per capita in 2015 to 530 in 2020, and consumption of snack foods at meals increased from 21 percent of eatings in 2010 to 26 percent in 2020, according to e NPD Group’s “Eating Patterns in America” report. Snacking and snack food consumption follow a daily

Share Your Experience and Expertise Do you have a store experience, some operational expertise, or thoughts about the 7-Eleven system you would like to share with your fellow storeowners? Avanti Magazine welcomes articles from franchisees interested in communicating their ideas, knowledge, suggestions, opinions, etc. to the franchisee community at large. Please contact Sheldon Smith at sheldon.smith5@verizon.net or 215-750-0178 if you would like to contribute an article to Avanti.

rhythm in most U.S. households with better-for-you snack foods, like fruit or yogurt, being eaten in the morning; more savory snacks, like potato chips or tortilla chips, eaten at lunch; and more sweet snacks, like chocolate candy and cookies, in the evening. Taste, satiety, being a favorite, and easy to eat are table stakes throughout the day when it comes to consumers snacking and selecting snack foods, and health-driven motivations give way to satiety as the day progresses, the report reveals. Although snacking was already on the rise prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic did accelerate snacking and snack food consumption. Having sufficient snack foods on hand during the pandemic is important to 37 percent of consumers. ese consumers’ households are well-stocked on salty snacks and frozen sweets more than other items. Also, in many cases, the more snack food packages in the home, the more frequently the item is consumed, which tends to be especially true of certain types of snack foods. For example, consumers who have five or more packages of crackers or salty snacks consume those foods at higher rates than consumers with fewer packages in their home.

Wawa Opens First Drive-Thru Only Store Convenience retailer Wawa recently opened its first standalone drive-thru only store. e architectural design of the 1,800 sq. . store, located in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, is based on key Wawa brand elements such as the trademarked canopy, while the offer is focused on fresh food in a drive thru experience. With operating hours of 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily, the store can quickly serve 12 cars at a time for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the company said in a press release. e store employs approximately 30 associates, each continued on page 49


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only open to Dallas County, Texas residents, and limited to two people per night. To book one of the two available one-night stays on Friday, February 26, or Sunday, February 28, Dallas County natives were directed to https://airbnb.com/ h/gaming-paradise. Once a booking was approved, each stay cost just $11 and gave gamers all-night access to the highly coveted PlayStation5.

ORLANDO 7-ELEVENS GET NEW BEVERAGE BARS SEI recently announced that it has expanded and enhanced its hot and cold beverage menu at its Orlando stores as part of an extensive beverage bar renovation. The upgrades include pastries and cookies baked onsite in newly installed ovens. Touchscreen machines let coffee aficionados and amateurs alike brew custom hot coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots in just seconds. Hot coffee drinks are made bean to cup, meaning coffee beans are ground for every single serving. For those who prefer a cold cup of joe, self-serve taps dispense cold beverages like nitro cold brew, cold brew and tea. Coffee customer can also top off their drink of choice with flavored syrups, creamers, sweeteners and toppings at the expansive condiment station—all at no additional charge. The company said it plans to bring the new beverage bars to more stores around the country in 2021.


SUPER PIZZA DEAL FOR THE SUPER BIG GAME Each night, two gamers from the same household who booked the experience through Airbnb.com enjoyed a private gaming paradise in a completely decked out, neverbeen-shopped-in 7-Eleven Evolution Store. The store was completely transformed into a plush futuristic gaming palace, complete with a game pod featuring a big screen TV, luxury loungers and DualSense controllers, and access to 7-Eleven drinks and snacks, including a Slurpee drink station, Laredo Taco Company tacos and other favorites such as Red Bull, MTN DEW and Doritos



SEI recently offered video gamers an opportunity to book a private, once-in-a-lifetime stay at a brand-new luxury 7-Eleven Evolution Store before it opened to the public. The exclusive gaming experience with 7-Eleven, and virtually hosted by QB1 Dak Prescott, went live on Airbnb.com on February 1. This opportunity was

Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd, the parent company of Seven-Eleven Japan, recently unveiled plans to extend the expiration date of their onigiri rice balls by roughly twice the current length of time, reported Japan Today. Seven-Eleven onigiri

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presently have a shelf life of approximately 18 hours, a time which would be extended to approximately 1.5-2 days under the new target with plans for implementation in March 2021. Seven-Eleven locations in Japan sell an average of 200 onigiri per day, and the company believes this simple change would reduce the amount of wasted onigiri by 50 percent. As Seven-Eleven does not currently use preservatives in its onigiri and has no plans to moving forward, the chain is currently considering different ways to achieve this goal. The most likely option appears to be increasing the nitrogen within the sealed packaging to preserve the freshness, but it is also investigating other methods due to the different packaging styles used for various types of onigiri.

To make sure everyone could stay glued to their screens to watch the biggest football game of the year on Sunday, February 7, 7Eleven offered customers a large pizza pie— hot or ready to bake—for just $1 in the 7NOW delivery app. This delivery-only offer was automatically applied at checkout when placing an order in the app, and was valid on a large pepperoni pizza, extreme meat pizza, triple cheese pizza or take and bake pizza. 7Eleven also offered a 2 for $10 pizza deal for purchase in participating stores through the company's loyalty program, 7Rewards. continued next page

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News. The prototype is made by a Danish company from an extra-strong paper shell that still contains a thin plastic liner. The company will test the new bottle with its fruit drink Adez in Hungary this summer. • General Motors has announced that it would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035, a seismic shift by one of the world’s largest automakers that makes billions of dollars today from gas-guzzling pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, reported the New York Times. • Airport specialist retailer Hudson has signed an agreement to use Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in some of its travel convenience stores, with the first one set to open by March at Dallas Love Field Airport, reported Forbes. The test store, called Hudson Nonstop, is also a new concept for the Dufry-owned retailer. • Kroger Co. plans to close two Southern California supermarkets following passage of a local “hero pay” ordinance that requires grocery stores to raise their frontline workers’ hourly pay by $4 during the pandemic, reported Bloomberg. A Ralphs store and a Food 4 Less store in Long Beach, California, will close on April 17. Kroger said both stores had been struggling even before the hero pay mandate. • McDonald’s recently announced a new global sustainable packaging commitment, banning the class of toxic chemicals per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from guest packaging materials by 2025. • Starbucks recently announced it will invest $100 million to launch the Starbucks Community Resilience Fund focused on supporting small businesses and community development projects in Black, Indigenous and People of Color neighborhoods. • Coca-Cola trademark brands (Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Flavors) recently debuted a 13.2-oz. bottle made from 100 percent continued on page 52

receiving competitive pay, benefits and an opportunity to stock through the company’s ESOP (Employee-StockOwnership-Plan) aer completing one year of service, Wawa said.

New Las Vegas Law Allows Alcohol Deliveries From C-Stores Adults living in the Las Vegas city limits can now get alcohol delivered right to their front door from convenience stores and restaurants, reported 8 News Now. As of January 24, Las Vegas businesses that sell alcohol, as well as thirdparty delivery companies, are able to

deliver alcohol to city residents. e new law passed by the Las Vegas City Council hopes to give convenience stores and restaurants a needed boost aer months of restrictions, the article states. Before deliveries can begin, businesses will need a license to “sell alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption,” as well as an additional license unique to this law. Once approved, bottled liquor, beer and wine will be available for delivery to anywhere in the city, except on non-restricted gaming properties. is new law only applies to businesses and residents within the City of Las Vegas. Unincorporated Clark County, North Las Vegas and Henderson all have their own rules and regulations.

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NEW EXTREMELYLIMITED-EDITION 7-ELEVEN GAMER'S CUPS SEI recently introduced new extremely-limited-edition cups for each of its signature proprietary beverages: Slurpee, stainless steel, vacuum-insulated Tervis Big Gulp and coffee. Purchase includes a tumblers, each with a unique, vibrant deyear's worth of free beverages, redeemed sign celebrating gaming. Retail price is by scanning the 7Rewards barcode in the $139 per cup and includes 365 fill-ups for 7-Eleven app, and a chance to win a a year by scanning the 7Rewards barcode PlayStation5 console. Available exclusively in the 7-Eleven app. Only a total of 400 on the 7-Eleven.com website, were available for sale—140 the ultimate gamer's cups each of the coffee and Big went on sale February 9 Gulp cups, and 120 “This is the and were expected to Slurpee cups. This is the second time sell out quickly. second time 7-Eleven 7-Eleven has offered The 20-ounce has offered ultra-preultra-premium cups, coffee and Slurpee mium cups, which which proved to be cups and 30-ounce proved to be ultra-popBig Gulp cups are ular in 2019. ultra-popular in

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Team USA at the Olympic Games are back and so are Nabisco’s team-winning snacks. Nabisco is kicking off the festivities by passing a torch to ignite shopper demand—a fully funded P4 2 for $2.50 promotion on all King Size Nabisco Cookies. This game-changing promotion will grab shoppers’ eyes, and three new Olympicsthemed products are sure to win gold in their hearts. Stock up on triple-layer Oreo Team USA Cookies. With a supersatisfying popping candy in the cream, these cookies are like a firework display in your mouth. Keep the home team in the games like never before with Ritz Team USA. The irresistible flavor of Ritz Crackers now comes in a limited edition Team USA sleeve so customers can show off their team spirit at crunch time. New Chips Ahoy! Team USA Cookies give shoppers even more to munch and love. With red, white, and Nabisco is celebrating the Olympics and team USA blue candy chips, these cookies aren’t with a fully funded P4 just patriotic, they’re the perfect togeth2 for $2.50 promotion. erness treat. With new, delicious options for your customers, a mouthwatering promotion, and even more support from 7REWARDS and 7NOW, you definitely want to get on this team.

Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer Diageo has combined two of the most popular beverages into one brew that is poised to be a top seller: Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, leading the world. Nitro Cold Brew Coffee sales are up 60 percent versus a year ago and has had 3digit sales growth from 2017 to 2019. When it comes to beer, Guinness is growing faster (+15 percent) Guinness Nitro Cold than the top 5 selling import brands and Guinness Brew Coffee Beer presents a great Cans are up 24 percent, according to Nielsen. Guinsales opportunity. ness is also the #1 selling stout ($185MM), with sales 10 times larger than the #2 stout brand. Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer will start shipping to distributors on March 1.

Indulgent Hostess Pecan Spins An Easy Sell Hostess Pecan Spins (SLIN 173826) are bursting with real pecans Increase your breakfast and rich icing swirled throughout. packaged bakery sales with Hostess Pecan Spins. Pecan is a top 3 flavor in breakfast packaged bakery and current offerings are underwhelming and do not have real pecans. Hostess Pecan Spins will be included in all 2021 Hostess single serve promotions: • P2 7NOW Hostess Single Serve Buy 2, Save $1 • P4 Hostess Single Serve 2/$3.50 • P5 7NOW Hostess Single Serve Buy 2, Save $1 Consumers are snacking now more than ever, snacking 44 percent more during the pandemic. Hostess is a highly recognizable break with a loyal customer base, and Hostess Pecan Spins are the perfect, indulgent treat in a favorite brand making it an easy sell.

Hostess Mixed Berry Twinkie Mixed Berry Twinkie (SLIN 173997) is the signature golden, moist sponge cake with a bright pink crème filling, bursting with berry flavor and made with real fruit. It’s an easy on-the-go breakfast or afternoon indulgent snack. The original Hostess Twinkie is a top 10 item in the category, with an average basket size of $11.90 (Snack Cakes average basket size is $9.70). Sweet Baked Goods is a winning category—large, growing, and frequently purchased. Hostess is a category leader and is winning in the marketplace +5.4% percent versus the previous year. Mixed Berry Twinkie will be included in all 2021 Hostess single serve promotions: • 7REWARDS Twinkie Day (April 6, 2021) BPO (Buy Two Twinkies, Get 500 Bonus Points) • P2 7NOW Hostess Single Serve Buy 2, Save $1 • P4 Hostess Single Serve 2/$3.50 • P5 7NOW Hostess Single Serve Buy 2, Save $1 Mixed Berry Twinkie is the perfect on-the-go sweet treat.

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New products and services for 7-Eleven Franchisees

Nabisco’s Team USA Snacks

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Transform Floor Care With The MopIt 5

King Palm Real Leaf Rolls

It’s time to bring your floor care into the 21st century. The MopIt 5 will revolutionize your floor care in several ways. In one pass the MopIt puts down clean soapy water, scrubs the floor, and then vacuums up the dirt and germs into a separate tank. Once the floor has been cleaned, the dirty water easily drains into a mop sink. Plug the onboard charger into a standard outlet to charge the battery for the next crusade. The MopIt 5 reduces slip and fall accidents by leaving the floor dry. Got people tracking in salt, snow and mud into your store? Pick it up in seconds with the MopIt. The MopIt has the same footprint as the mop bucket, so storage and maneuverability are never a problem. To see the MopIt in action search “Will it MopIt” on Youtube. Get more info at www.mopit.com or call 1-800-290-2833 and ask about your special pricing and the month-to-month lease that includes Clean and dry your store’s floor quickly with the MopIt 5. soap, parts, and supplies.

Offer your customers a more natural selection of smoking wraps and increase your sales with King Palm, the best tobacco-free alternative King Palm Real Leaf Rolls for the modern consumer. This fan-fa- flavors will attract the attention of the everyday adult consumer. vorite palm leaf has zero glue, no additives, and is hand-rolled with a filter tip. King Palm is easy to use and eliminates the need to roll your own, allowing you to tap into a bigger audience. Finally, there is no more need to be an expert roller, all you have to do is Just Pack It—that is why every pouch comes with King Palm’s signature bamboo stick. King Palm offers different styles ranging from their natural 2 Mini for $1.99 to their 2 Mini Flavor rolls where you simply pop the cornhusk filter to activate the flavor. The Banana Cream is a dreamy dessert, Berry Terps is truly special, Magic Mint is beyond cool, and Watermelon Wave is sweet satisfaction. Each flavor was specifically designed to attract the attention of the everyday adult consumer. These five new offerings are five ways to add popular selling items to your cigar wraps section. Order these popular products ahead of your competition, and remember to make the natural choice with King Palm.

Advertiser’s Index

Yowie Surprise Rescue Series includes one of 26 collectible endangered species animals.


Anheuser Busch......................4-5


Aon Risk Services................14-15


Blue Bunny....................................9

MillerCoors .................................42

Cima Confections .....................19


Coca-Cola..........................cover 2


Danone ........................................20


Diageo Guinness ........................6

Sabra ............................................50

Hostess ........................................45

Sunny Delight ............................47

Kellogg's ........................................11

Swedish Match ..........................33

King Palm ..........................cover 3

Swisher.........................17, cover 4

Living Essentials .......................25

Tell Industries ............................30

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recycled PET (rPET) plastic in California, Florida and select states in the Northeast, with other sparkling beverage brands following this summer. • The North America non-alcoholic beer market is predicted to surpass USD $6.4 billion by 2026, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc. Global nonalcoholic beer market revenue is anticipated to cross USD $29 billion by 2026. • December has seen the biggest pump price jump of any month in 2020, ending with a national average 11 cents higher than it began, according to AAA. Despite low demand, pump prices are more expensive because crude oil has seen steady gains, the organization explained.

foa events FOA Of Chicagoland Virtual Trade Show

FOA Of Chicagoland Annual Picnic

May 10-14, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777

Cook County Forest Preserve South Barrington, Illinois August 21, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777 (*Pandemic restrictions permitting)

San Diego FOA Charity Golf Tournament Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego, California June 23, 2021 Phone: 619-713-2411

FOA Of Chicagoland Virtual Holiday Trade Show October 25-29, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777

FOA Of Chicagoland Charity Golf Outing Venue TBD July 22, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777 (*Pandemic restrictions permitting)

FOA Of Chicagoland Holiday Party Venue TBD October 28, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777 (*Pandemic restrictions permitting)

National Coalition 45th Annual Convention & Trade Show Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Kissimmee, Florida

August 1-4, 2021

FOA Board Meeting Dates FOA Of Chicagoland Please Note: All meetings will be virtual until further notice. Phone: 847-343-7777 March 25, 2021—Board Meeting April 22, 2021—Board Meeting & General Meeting June 24, 2021—Board Meeting July 22, 2021—Golf Outing & Board Meeting August 26, 2021—Board Meeting September 30, 2021—Board Meeting October 14, 2021—Board Meeting & General Meeting


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Board meetings National Coalition virtual Board meetings are being scheduled one per month. Vendors interested in sponsoring to appear virtually at these meetings should contact John Riggio, JR Planners, at 262-394-5518 or johnr@jrplanners.com.

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Hyatt Regency Long Island Hauppauge, New York May 18-20, 2021

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center Kissimmee, Florida July 31-August 1, 2021

National Coalition Affiliate Meeting Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii November 15, 2021

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii November 16-18, 2021

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