Avanti July/August 2020

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July/August 2020




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Recovering From COVID: Competition For Reliable Employees CARES And Competition For Labor All In On Gasoline– Chapter 2 Crime And Assault Prevention– An Update Transparency & Collaboration– A Greek Myth? Visit NCASEF.com and sign up for Dispatch! NCASEF 2020 CONVENTION Scheduled for August 10-13, 2020 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

Postpon ed



July/August 2020

Contents 27 CARES And Competition For Labor By Jay Singh, Chairman, NCASEF

pon ed PostNCASEF 2020 Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App

CONVENTION Originally Scheduled for August 10-13, 2020 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

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31 Transparency And Collaboration

National Harbor, MD

By Michael Jorgensen, Executive Vice Chairman


SAA Letter Of Thanks

35 All In On Gasoline-Chapter 2

Page 60

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

54 Considerations After The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation By Elizabeth Rice, Associate, Laner Muchin, Ltd.


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


Crime And Assault Prevention— An Update For 2020 DE


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

Bits & Pieces........................12

Join Your Local FOA..................20 Legislative Update..........................22 SEI News................................64

10 Franchisees Need More Transparency And Information About Scan And Go Program

42 7NOW Amendments Should

Dispatch at NCASEF.com Sign Up For The Dispatch Email Newsletter: PA G E 1 0

Raise A Red Flag For Franchisees

44 As 7-Eleven Fights AB-5, Franchisees Claim The Company Treats Them Like Store Managers, Not Owners

Vendor Focus......69 FOA Meetings Calendar....................73 Franchisee Calendar........................74

44 Don't Be Misled By SEI's So-Called Franchise Suspension

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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SEI Acquires 3,900 Speedway Stores SEI announced that it has recently entered into an agreement to acquire Speedway, a leading convenience store chain, from Marathon Petroleum Corp. As part of the agreement, 7 Eleven will acquire approximately 3,900 Speedway stores located in 35 states, for $21 billion in cash. e transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. is is the largest acquisition in sector history, and increases SEI’s store count to approximately 14,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada, supporting the company's growth strategy, SEI stated in a press release. e company also said that Speedway and 7 Eleven have complementary geographic footprints with little overlap. Following the transaction, 7 Eleven will have a presence in 47 of the top 50 most populated metro areas in the U.S.

Speedway, with annual pre-synergy run-rate EBITDA of approximately $1.5 billion prior to the acquisition, is an exceptional business with significant opportunities for future growth, SEI stated. 7 Eleven expects to achieve $475 million to $575 million of run-rate synergies through the third year following closing, while maintaining financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet. Upon closing, SEI said it will be even better positioned to continue to pursue profitable growth opportunities.


702-249-3301 • jays@ncasef.com


347-251-1828 • mcjorg@yahoo.com


818-203-2527 • paullobana@aol.com


847-845-8477 • rehan711@yahoo.com


425-438-8381 • ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

Seven-Eleven Japan Allowing Franchisees To Redesign Stores Seven-Eleven Japan has embarked on a major review of what a typical store looks like, replacing the “one-size-fitsall” model for the whole country and giving more autonomy to each store to redesign itself to cater to the local cliencontinued on page 12

“7-Eleven’s purchase of 3,900 Speedway stores from Marathon Oil is the largest acquisition ever in the c-store industry.”

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com


210-971-9211 • shawnh@ncasef.com


617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com


262-275-3086 • jrpinc@charter.net


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

Sheldon Smith P U BL IS HER & A DVE RTIS IN G SA LE S 2 15 7 5 0- 01 78 S H E LDO N. S M ITH 5 @VE RI ZO N.N E T

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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John Santiago A S S IS TA N T E DI TO R 2 1 5 7 50 - 017 8 AVA N TIM AG @V E RIZO N.N E T

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 July/August 2020 ©2020 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees Avanti Magazine is the registered trademark of The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees.



Your National Coalition is Committed to Franchisee Interests

Franchisees Need More Transparency And Information About Scan And Go Program 7-Eleven, Inc. (SEI) has been testing the cashier-less shopping app Scan and Go in a limited number of stores since late 2018. For today’s busy, on-thego customer, Scan and Go appears to be a great option, allowing them to scan items as they shop and skip the check out. But the Franchisor has been secretive about its market testing and seemingly unconcerned about the impact on hard-working franchisees. “7-Eleven is using the pandemic to push through a program that isn’t thoroughly tested or vetted,” said National Coalition Executive Vice-Chairman Michael Jorgensen. “Franchisees haven’t had the time to fully vet Scan and Go. We need to understand the short and long-term economic impact of this program.”

“Franchisees haven’t had the time to fully vet Scan and Go. We need to understand the short and longterm economic impact of this program.”

A large majority of the testing sites for Scan and Go were in some of the most affluent zip codes in the country—the Upper East Side of New York City and the financial district of lower Manhattan. Analysis of these tests were provided to the franchisor’s hand-picked advisory body, but did not include crucial information such as labor costs, shrinkage or even how consumers feel about the program. Those who are familiar with the app have already seen the potential pitfalls. The biggest problem is that Scan and Go eliminates the contact between customers and front-end workers. The customer connects the app to a credit card then scans the items he takes. Once done, the customer leaves. But the clerk may not be aware whether the customer actually paid for the merchandise. “Scan and Go opens franchisees up to enormous theft potential,” said NCASEF Vice-Chairman Rehan Hashmi. “How do you stand behind the register and know if customers are scanning or not scanning items? Scan and Go could create a situation where the continued on page 42

“The customer connects the app to a credit card then scans the items he takes. But the clerk may not be aware whether the customer actually paid for the merchandise.” 10

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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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tele, reported Nikkei Asian Review. It marks a big turning point for the Japanese convenience store, which had pursued the unified format—synonymous with efficient management—throughout the half-century since the opening of the first 7-Eleven store. While store owners have been given the green light to change store layouts, it is not an entirely free hand. SevenEleven headquarters has prepared multiple layouts suggestions, according to the location of the store. Franchisees can choose from these suggestions and make improvements at their discretion. Some stores have already begun to revamp the layout and the plan is to see more than 8,000 stores undergoing transformation this fiscal year ending February 2021, the article states. ere will also be change in the product line up. Traditionally, Tokyo headquarters took the lead in developing new products. Going forward, development teams in each region will lead product creation, and they will be encouraged to launch new products aimed at the local market. Currently, region-limited products make up 30 percent to 40 percent of the total line up, but this is expected to rise to 50 percent.

“According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Seven-Eleven is replacing the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model for the whole country and giving more autonomy to each store to redesign itself to cater to the local clientele.” 12

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7-Eleven Opens 71,100th Store SEI has announced that it recently hit a significant milestone: the 71,100th 7Eleven store in the world opened in Seoul, South Korea. Today, 7-Eleven is the world's largest convenience brand, and a 7-Eleven store opens somewhere in the world approximately every 3.5 hours, with each one carrying 7-Eleven brand favorites along with exclusive items created to appeal to local tastes, the company stated. With plans for master franchisees to open stores in India and Cambodia soon, SEI said 7-Eleven and its master franchisees and area licensees remain focused on their role as good corporate citizens as they grow, addressing social and environmental issues important to customers and the communities in which they live and work.

7-Eleven Takes Top Spot On CSNews List 7-Eleven is No.1 on the 2020 Convenience Store News Top 100 list, which ranks the largest convenience store chains by store count. 7-Eleven keeps its title as the largest U.S. chain—it was also No. 1 in 2019—with a total of 9,419 convenience stores across the nation, according to the data provided by Nielsen TDLinx. Alimentation Couche-Tard ranked No.2 with 6,924 stores, and Marathon Petroleum Corp. came in at No. 3 with 6,020 stores. continued on page 14

Amazon recently opened its second automated-checkout grocery store in Washington State and is hiring managers for a third store in Washington, D.C., reported the Seattle Times.The Go Grocery concept is a larger version of the Go convenience stores the commerce giant began testing publicly in late 2016. Amazon opened its first Go Grocery on Capitol Hill in Seattle, its latest move in an ongoing effort to capture more of consumers’ grocery budget. • 7-Eleven Hawaii has partnered with Vroom Delivery to offer home delivery for many of the items it stocks, reported Retail Touch Points. The service will cover prepared foods like Spam Musubi and pork hash, as well as grocery staples, snacks and beer. • The state governments of Utah and Wisconsin recently began distributing facemasks to convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other retail establishments to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, reported KUTV. The masks will be available to employees and customers. • Energy giant BP is planning to slash oil and gas production and pour billions of dollars into clean energy as part of a major strategic overhaul, reported CNN Business. The London-based company said that it plans a 10fold increase in annual low carbon investments to $5 billion by 2030 as it tries to deliver on its promise of net zero emissions by 2050. • Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in the U.S., is considering opening more grocery stores in its malls, reported CNBC. The move comes as consumer shopping habits change and more department stores, once the anchors for malls nationwide, go out of business. • Wawa Inc. announced the addition of Kids Meals at all 900 Wawa stores in the Mid-Atlantic and Florida regions and aims to offer mobile ordering and delivery service of Kids Meals in the near future. Kids Meals offer a choice of entrée, including junior hoagies with turkey, ham, roast beef or cheese; small mac and cheese; cheese quesadilla; chicken strips; small continued on page 16

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According to Convenience Store News, the percentage of the industry’s total stores operated by the top 100 increased by one point to 43 percent. e top 100 operate 63,843 stores, up from 63,258 in 2019. e percentage of stores operated by just the top 10 chains also grew year over year, rising by one point to 28 percent. e top 10 chains operate 42,698 stores, up from 41,804 the prior year.

7-Eleven #1 On CSP’s Top 202 C-Stores List 7-Eleven has taken the No.1 spot on CSP’s Top 202 Convenience Stores 2020 list, which ranks the largest chains in the


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“7-Eleven ranked #1 on both C-Store News’ and CSP’s largest c-store operator lists for 2020.” convenience-store industry by U.S. store count as of December 31, 2019. Cited as 9,364 stores, 7-Eleven beat No. 2-ranked Alimentation Couche-Tard, which has 5,933 Circle-K stores. Speedway ranked third, with 3,900 units. Of 7-Eleven, CSP writes: “Of all the channel’s consolidators, Seven & i, the parent of 7-Eleven in the United States, has the wherewithal to maintain the dominance of its brand, operating more than 69,000 stores in 18 markets globally.

7-Eleven Wins ‘Hot Beverages Innovator Of The Year’ 7-Eleven has been selected the 2020 Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year in Convenience Store News’ ninth-annual Foodservice Innovators Awards program, reported CSNews Online. Foodservice Innovators Awards winners are chosen by CSNews’ Foodservice Advisory Council, a panel of foodservice experts from the retailer, supplier, wholecontinued next page

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saler, research and consulting fields. Winners are recognized for raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in the critically important foodservice category in the convenience channel. 7-Eleven scored its second win as Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year, having first won this category in 2018. 7-Eleven also previously won Foodservice Innovators Awards in 2014 and 2019 for cold and frozen beverages, and in 2016 for Best LTO. Judges cited 7-Eleven’s beverage innovation, including new bean-to-cup equipment, new so-heat urn systems, the addition of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans, and nitro-infused dra cold-brew coffee and tea. “7-Eleven keeps improving its coffee program, technology,

new products and the customer experience,” one judge remarked.

“Seven & i is increasing technology investment by 15 percent to continue embracing digitization during the pandemic.”

Seven & i To Boost Tech Investment Despite uncertainties from COVID19, top Japanese corporations plan to invest 15.8 percent more in information technology in fiscal 2020 to keep up the wave of digitization across industries, reported Nikkei Asian Review. A total of 765 companies aim to spend 471.8 billion yen

($4.45 billion) on tech, and Seven & i Holdings plans a 19.9 percent increase in tech investment to 121.2 billion yen—the largest sum of anyone on the list. Seven & I also plans to introduce dynamic pricing for home deliveries and to reduce the burden on delivery staffers. Investment in technology is accelerating because businesses that have embraced digitization are the ones doing the best in this pandemic, the article states. continued on page 16

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National Coin Shortage Hits Retailers

NACS Calls For A ‘Coin Campaign’

e coronavirus crisis has sparked a nationwide coin shortage that has retailers pleading with customers for exact change, reported the New York Post. e Federal Reserve revealed in June that the pandemic had “significantly disrupted” the supply chain and circulation patterns for America’s metal money. e U.S. Mint has slowed production of coins because of measures meant to protect workers amid the crisis, while coin deposits from banks have also fallen in the past few months, the central bank said. With demand for coins rising as states began to reopen, the Fed on June 15 started limiting how many pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters it distributed to banks as part of its efforts to “mitigate the effects of low coin inventories.” Retailers have since started advising customers that coins are in short supply. Fed chairman Jerome Powell recently told lawmakers that the shortage was likely temporary.

NACS recently announced that it has joined a coalition of retail groups to urge the federal government to launch a public campaign to encourage consumers to use coins for purchases, redeem them for bills, or deposit them at their banks to help get more coins circulating in the U.S. economy to ease an ongoing coin shortage related to the pandemic. e groups sent a letter recently to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell highlighting the problems retailers are having securing enough coins to make change for cashpaying customers. e latest request follows a June 23 letter NACS spearheaded to Mnuchin and Powell asking them to address the coin shortage. While the U.S. Mint is ramping up production of coins, “we cannot mint our way out of this problem,” the NACS letter states, noting that the Mint supplies less than 20 percent of the coins retailers need, with the remaining supply coming from recirculated coins. e U.S. Federal Reserve warned about a coin shortage in June when Fed Chairman Powell said that coronavirusrelated shutdowns have raised concerns about the circulation of coins, which the Fed's 12 regional banks supply to commercial banks. On June 11, the Federal Reserve issued a rationing order, cutting down the amount of coins provided to the banks. e shortage is in part due to the U.S. mints closing temporarily because of coronavirus restrictions.

“e coin shortage is in part due to the U.S. Mint closing temporarily because of coronavirus restrictions.” 16

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meatballs or small chicken noodle soup. The meals are accompanied by one side of apple slices, yogurt, mozzarella string cheese, one-ounce chips or a chocolate chip cookie and a choice of beverage including water, milk or chocolate milk. • As the coronavirus continues to surge, Walmart, Target, Kroger, Kohl’s Starbucks, CVS, Walgreens, and Best Buy are among the large retailers now requiring customers to wear masks in all of their U.S. stores, according to various news reports. • Circle-K parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard recently made a strategic investment in Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., a leading Canadian independent cannabis retailer, as it accelerates its move into Canada’s flourishing cannabis sector, reported the Global Legal Chronicle. Couche-Tard’s initial $25.9-million investment gave it rights to 9.9 percent of Fire & Flower’s equity and the potential to increase its stake to 50.1 percent. • In its fiscal third quarter report, Starbucks estimated that it missed out on more than $3 billion in sales thanks to the pandemic’s cutting down on store traffic and other impacts, and said it plans to offer curbside pickups in more of its stores. • The unprecedented growth of curbside pickup spurred by the pandemic has made the parking lots of many grocery stores a key new point of purchase, forcing many retailers to focus on the first impression their lots are making on customers, reported Progressive Grocer. In addition to appearance, grocers are also innovating by trying different types of directional signs and better methods to blend foot and vehicle traffic safely. • Dollar General recently opened three new DG Fresh cold storage facilities in Bowling Green, Kentucky; Ardmore, Oklahoma and West Sacramento, California as part of its plan to shift to self-distribution of frozen and refrigerated products, reported Progressive Grocer. • Dunkin’ said it may permanently close 800 locations in the U.S. by the end of 2020, reported USA Today.The total includes the previously announced 450 locations in Speedway gas station convenience stores. The chain said the 800 locations slated for closure represent approximately 8 continued on page 36

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Amazon’s Dash Carts Let Shoppers Skip The Checkout Lines

essary. As shoppers add and remove items, a display on the front of the cart adjusts the total price. When they’re ready to leave, shoppers exit via the store’s Dash Cart lane. e company charges the credit card linked to their Amazon account and emails a copy of the receipt.

Amazon is launching shopping carts that track items as shoppers add them, then automatically charges them when they remove the grocery bags, allowing them to skip the checkout line, reported CNBC. e Dash Carts will roll out at Amazon’s new Los Angeles-area groDoorDash recently launched a new cery store, which digital convenience store is slated to open channel, its latest bid to grow “Amazon’ s dash this year. Dash market share in the hotly Carts build on the contested battle over on-decarts identify items “Just Walk Out” mand delivery, reported placed inside the cashierless techCNBC. e new service, cart, and a display nology first deDashMart, debuted in early on the front of the ployed at Amazon August on the company’s Go convenience platform for customers in cart shows the stores. Shoppers eight cities: Chicago; Mintotal price charged must have an neapolis; Dallas; Salt Lake to the customer’s Amazon account City; the greater Phoenix credit card.” and a smartphone area; Redwood City, Califorto use a Dash nia; and Cincinnati and Cart. Aer enterColumbus, Ohio. e chaning the store, users scan a QR code lonel marks the first time the delivery servcated in the Amazon app that signs ice company is expanding its them into the cart and loads Alexa infrastructure to include distribution censhopping lists. ters, which will carry household essenEach cart is equipped with cameras tials, ready-made meals, and restaurant that use computer vision to identify items retail items like specialty spices or sauces. as they’re placed in bags inside the cart, Each DashMart location will carry and a built-in scale to weigh them if necroughly 2,000 items.

DoorDash Unveils New Digital C-Store Channel

Dash’s sales surged aer COVID-19 lockdown orders swept the country in mid-March. And in recent months, DoorDash has extended its market share lead over UberEats and Grubhub, capturing 45 percent of U.S. consumers’ meal delivery sales in June, according to analytics firm Second Measure.

Minimum $15 Per Hour For Grocery Workers e United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) wants frontline workers in the food-retailing, food-processing, meatpacking and healthcare industries to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour in light of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, reported Grocery Dive. e union also wants grocers and other employers that have ended “hazard pay” programs to restore the extra compensation, and is calling for the establishment of a national, publicly accessible registry to record COVID-19 cases in frontline workers. e UFCW further wants all state and local authorities to require people to wear face coverings in public places, and to compel employers to enforce those mandates. Across all the industries where the UFCW represents frontline employees, 238 workers have died from COVID-19 and nearly 29,000 have been exposed to or sickened by the virus, the union said.

e move comes as the coronavirus continued on page 20 pandemic has crippled the food service indus- “e United Food and Commercial Workers try, including restauUnion (UFCW) is calling for a nationwide rants—many of which minimum wage of $15 per hour for frontline have turned to online delivery to stay afloat. workers in the food-retailing, food-processData from Edison ing, meatpacking and healthcare industries.” Trends shows DoorAVA N TI J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


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Assaulting Workers Enforcing Pandemic Rules Now A Felony Anyone who assaults an employee enforcing the use of masks or social distancing can now be charged with aggravated battery in Illinois, reported CNN. Governor J.B. Pritzker passed the law in early August, and it went into effect immediately. In Illinois, aggravated battery is usually a felony. “is provision sends the message that it's vitally important for workers to be both respected and protected while serving on the front lines,” the governor's office said in a statement on the new law. e state also debuted some punishments against businesses who fail to follow the mask mandate—

under the Illinois Department of Public Health's new emergency rules businesses that repeatedly refuse to comply with mask requirements could incur a fine anywhere between $75 and $2,500.

C-Stores Poised To Be Leader For Baking Staples With the country in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, the convenience channel is poised to be even more dominant as stay-at-home restrictions are lied, reported Food Business News. Baking staples like eggs and butter, for example, aren’t common on the shelves at most convenience stores, but sales of the category have been on an upward trend across the United States since the week of March 14, 2020, as consumers settled into re-

stricted living conditions. As consumers begin to evolve into their new normal, convenience stores can put themselves into the consideration set for these new need states, according to the article. Last November, Nielsen forecasted that the US convenience channel would grow faster than all other offline channels over the next five years. Consumers also don’t typically think of convenience stores as a good source for things like eggs and butter. ese staples, however, are genercontinued on page 48

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!


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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.

Legislative Update COVID-19 Liability Protection Legislation Introduced In Senate Senate Republicans recently unveiled legislation marking their wish list for a fourth COVID-19 stimulus package, which includes legislation that would provide liability protections from COVID-19 exposure claims, reported NACS Daily News. e SAFE TO WORK Act would protect businesses, schools, universities and nonprofits from legal claims provided they took responsible measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. e legislation will: ● Create a federal cause of action “THE SAFE TO WORK for coronavirus exposure claims ACT WOULD PROTECT and set the statute of limitations for BUSINESSES, pursuing such claims to one year. SCHOOLS, UNIVERSI● Provide a safe harbor to busiTIES AND NONPROFITS nesses from claims related to COVID-19 exposure so long as FROM LEGAL CLAIMS those businesses made reasonable PROVIDED THEY TOOK efforts to comply with mandatory RESPONSIBLE standards or public health guideMEASURES TO MITIGATE lines. However, it will not provide a THE SPREAD OF THE safe harbor for bad actors and busiCORONAVIRUS.” nesses where there has been gross negligence or willful misconduct. ● Preempt all state laws. It imposes a floor on liability protection, and states are free to further limit liability for coronavirus exposure but not to have laws that increase liability. ● Allow businesses who receive meritless demand letters related to the virus the ability to bring a suit against the plaintiff to recoup the business’ legal fees. ● Protect businesses from Americans with Disabilities Act or labor law claims challenging the COVID-related health measures the businesses put in place while attempting to follow relevant guidance and regulations. ● Cover the time period of Decem-

ber 2019 through October 2024, or the end of the national public emergency, whichever is longer.

Proposed Senate Bill Would Benefit C-Store Employees Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) recently introduced the FRNT LINE Act (S. 4213), which seeks to exempt wages earned by frontline workers in essential industries, including convenience stores, from federal income tax from April 1, 2020 until the end of the year, reported NACS Daily News. e legislation further exempts wages for those same workers who make less than “NACS reports that the average $50,000 annually c-store manager made from federal payroll taxes. Ernst’s legisla$47,429 in 2019, and the tion comes on the average full time associate heels of similar legiswage was $11.75 an hour.” lation introduced by a bipartisan pair of House members from Pennsylvania in May. Representatives G.T. ompson (R-PA) and Dwight Evans (D-PA) introduced the AG CHAIN Act, which has garnered additional bipartisan co-sponsors. e average salary of a c-store manager last year was $47,429, according to the NACS State of the Industry Compensation Report of 2019 Data. e average full-time associate wage was $11.75 an hour, the 2019 report indicates.

Tobacco Legislative Update is tobacco legislation roundup from Convenience Store News highlights the latest proposals and approved changes happening across the United States. • El Monte, CA—e El Monte City Council took a step toward banning the sale of flavored tobacco products when it passed an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco and nicotine products, including menthol, on first reading. • Denver, CO—State lawmakers in both legislative houses approved a bid to place a tobacco tax increase on the ballot in November. Under the proposal, all tobacco products will be subject to a progressively increasing tax. e cigarette tax rate of 84 cents per pack would increase to $1.94 as of Janucontinued next page


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Legislative Update bacco products, as well as posary 1, 2021, to $2.24 per pack in 2024, and $2.64 in 2027. e proposal would also set a $7 sessing tobacco products. minimum price per pack, which would increase to $7.50 on • Wichita, KS—e Wichita City Council voted to up the legal July 1, 2024, and impose an inventory tax that corresponds minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. e vote brings to each tax increase beginning on Jan. 1, 2022. Premium cithe city rule into line with the new federal age. gars' tax rate of 40 percent of the wholesale price would in• Lansing, MI—e Michigan Senate approved legislation to crease to 50 percent on Jan. 1, 2021, to 56 percent in on Jan. control the sale of electronic cigarettes across the state and in1, 2024, and 62 percent on Jan. 1, 2027. crease the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products from e proposal would also establish a tax on non-tobacco 18 to 21. In addition to the Tobacco 21 measure, other bills nicotine products, including as electronic cigarettes and vapor would regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products, tax vapor products. e Colorado House of Representatives passed the products at 18 percent of the wholesale price, establish a state proposal on June 11, and the state Senate followed on June 15. license for all businesses and sales staff selling vapor products, Governor Jared Polis needs to sign the bill. establish advertising restrictions for the sale of vapor prod• Palatine, IL—e Village Council approved a Tobacco 21 oructs, and require electronic age verification for the sale of dinance. e measvapor products. e Michigan House of Represenure prohibits tatives will now consider the bill. “THE STATE OF VIRGINIA IS IMPLEMENTING anyone under 21 • Richmond, VA—Several new tobacco taxes went A 6.6 CENTS PER MILLILITER TAX ON THE from buying tocontinued on page 24


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Legislative Update into effect across the state on July 1. With the change, the state excise tax increased from 30 cents to 60 cents on a pack of cigarettes. In addition, the state is implementing a 6.6 cents per milliliter tax on the sale of liquid nicotine products.

and an injunction prohibiting the City of Philadelphia from enforcing the ordinance.

Federal Bill To Stop E-Cig Sales To Minors

e U.S. Senate passed the Preventing Online Sales of ECigarettes to Children Act (S.1253) by unanimous consent on July 1, reported NACS Daily News. e legislation seeks to e National Association of Tobacco Outlet (NATO), the close the online loophole of e-cigarette sales to minors by apAsian American Licensed Beverage Association of Philadelplying the same measures that are required when traditional phia and R.J. Reynolds cigarettes are purchased onVapor Co. recently filed a line. e House passed its “THE PREVENTING ONLINE SALES OF E-CIGARETTES TO lawsuit in the Philadelphia version of the bill last year. CHILDREN ACT (S.1253) SEEKS TO CLOSE THE ONLINE Court of Common Pleas NACS said it strongly LOOPHOLE OF E-CIGARETTE SALES TO MINORS BY APPLYING against the City of Philadelsupports S. 1253, which enTHE SAME MEASURES THAT ARE REQUIRED WHEN phia, seeking declaratory sures responsible retailing TRADITIONAL CIGARETTES ARE PURCHASED ONLINE.” and injunctive relief against of e-cigarettes and age verithe Philadelphia ordinance fication across all channels. restricting the sales of flavored vapor products, reported CSP e legislation would require online sellers of e-cigarettes to Daily News. Philadelphia officials claimed the ordinance was ensure the delivery carrier verifies the age of the recipient based solely on preventing the sale of electronic smoking deupon delivery. It would also require online sellers to collect vices to minors. Violations of the ordinance are crimes, and and remit the appropriate state and local taxes. each day a violation occurs is deemed a separate crime. Chicago Flavored Tobacco Ban Stalls e ordinance established three restrictions applicable to all retailers that are not licensed as “Adult-Only EstablishA proposal to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in ment(s)”, retailers that do not permit persons from entering Chicago stalled in a City Council committee aer running who are under the legal age of purchase: prohibiting the sale of into an avalanche of opposition, reported the Chicago Sun electronic smoking devices with any taste or aroma other than Times. Owners of gas stations, convenience stores and tobacco tobacco; prohibiting the sale of electronic smoking devices stores—and trade groups representing them—showed up in containing nicotine salts with more than 20 mg/ml of nicoforce at the virtual meeting to accuse the City Council’s Comtine; and allowing sales of only those electronic smoking demittee on Health and Human Relations of “kicking them vices that have been approved by the Philadelphia Department when they’re down.” ey argued small businesses are fighting of Public Health. for survival aer a double-whammy: first, the coronavirus e lawsuit filed against the city has two main claims, pandemic; then, damage during civil unrest, which came with one preemption claim under the Pennsylvania Fiswhen many were “woefully under-insured.” e last thing cal Code and a separate preemption claim under the they need, they said, is this ordinance. ey called it “legPennsylvania Local Government Code. islative over-reach” that would cost them even more e retail groups are asking the Court business, they said, noting that tobacco products acof Common Pleas to issue a ruling count for 40 percent of revenue for a typical Chicago that includes a declaration that the gas station—and that 52 percent of that tobacco Philadelphia ordinance is prerevenue comes from flavored tobacco products. empted and therefore null and void, continued on page 62

Retail Groups Sue Philadelphia Flavored Vapor Ordinance


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CARES And Competition For Labor BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF, PRESIDENT, SAN ANTONIO FOA Franchisees enduring the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are under great pressure these days by the labor market. Unemployment claims have increased so much that we have permanent help wanted signs in our windows and we still can’t find people to work our stores. I personally just worked four hours of the morning shift in one of my stores, and then later went back to work the graveyard shift in another store. Never in my 23 years in this business have I seen a labor market so tight and so lacking in people wanting to work. Part of this is due to the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in March 2020 in response to the economic fallout of COVID-19. In light of the reduction in economic activity due to the pandemic, CARES provided needed relief to many sectors, including supporting funds for healthcare providers, manufacturers and distributors; economic stabilization funds for businesses, states, and municipalities; the small business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); and Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans to cover nonprofit and faith-based organizations. CARES relief to individuals included tax rebates, credits and deductions, namely $2,400 to each married couple filing jointly or $1,200 to each individual and $500 for each dependent under the age of 17. Yet by far, the most critical factor directly affecting our labor needs was the Federal Pandemic Unemployment JAY SINGH C omp e ns at i on CAN BE REACHED AT 702-249-3301 OR (FPUC), which JAYS@NCASEF.COM was an additional

“The most critical factor affecting our labor needs was the FPUC, an additional $600 per week for all individuals receiving unemployment benefits, and the PEUC, which extended unemployment benefits for 13 weeks for all those who would have otherwise exhausted their unemployment payments.”

$600 per week for all individuals receiving unemployment benefits (for 15 weeks), and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extended unemployment benefits for 13 weeks for all those who would have otherwise exhausted their unemployment payments. We would by no means begrudge any of these benefits to individuals qualified to receive them, but this is one of the largest contributing factors to folks not looking for work in our stores. Why work 30 or 40 or more hours, when you can

“We by no means begrudge any of these benefits to individuals qualified to receive them, but this is one of the largest contributing factors to folks not looking for work in our stores.”

stay home and get paid more for not working at all? A typical worker making $11-12 per hour might make $380 to $480 per week, and receive half that on unemployment, yet when we add the $600 FPUC payment, they definitely make more than when they were working. We also can add in the $1,200 to each individual. This is compounded by the fact that all an employee has to do to be put on unemployment is cite “fear” of infection as the factor why he or she cannot be at work. Under this system, all our employees could potentially qualify for unemployment benefits. Even before the pandemic hiring store associates was competitive, not just for the best employees, but for any qualified employee. In January 2020, Walmart raised their minimum wage from $11 to $12, and since the pandemic Walmart and Target have both raised their minimum wage to $15. Amazon drivers make $15 an hour and more. continued on page 29 AVA N TI J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


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On 7-hub there is a site set up by 7Eleven, Inc. called Hire Right, which can help franchisees and corporate stores get staff from within 4-5 miles of their store. There are some other sites we can use, as well. Due to the pandemic, and fear of infection on the part of potential candidates, these resources are not bringing appropriate help to our stores, and it is getting worse day-by-day. Thus far, partisans in the House and the Senate have stalled an additional stimulus package, but they are definitely thinking about another one. It is an election year, and both political parties are counting on more support from

“Even before the pandemic, hiring store associates was competitive, not just for the best employees, but for any qualified employee.”

“Even when my FC urges me to try names from the corporate employment data, most of the potential candidates when contacted do not answer, and when they do get back to us, fear is cited as the major factor to not wanting to work in our stores.” workers and positioning themselves as big-time help for the middle class. Unemployment claims are skyrocketing. Even when my FC urges me to try names from the corporate employment data, most of the potential candidates when contacted do not answer, and when they do get back to us, fear is cited as the major factor to not wanting to work in our

stores. So incentives and easy unemployment claims during COVID-19 have robbed us of any chance to quick and easy hiring. I’m not saying to take away the incentives, because we want our average customer to have success in their life and money in their pocket to spend, but I am saying, “That’s just the way it is.” Franchisees clearly need relief and more help from corporate the longer the pandemic continues. Perhaps Congress should consider a resolution to pay incentives to people who do work at least 30 hours a week. I am confident that if we are patient through these tough times, eventually things will improve. Stay well, and stay safe everyone.

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Transparency And Collaboration— A Greek Myth? BY MICHAEL JORGENSEN, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN, NCASEF How can 7-Eleven, one of the world’s oldest and largest franchisors, continue to have a such an avaricious and contentious relationship with it’s franchisees? We form the backbone on which this company was built, and we have a common goal: to make our businesses, and the 7-Eleven brand, a success. We work at this every day, yet we struggle to achieve a transparent, collaborative relationship with our franchisor. To really get the most out of this business partnership, including with the elected officials of the national and local franchisee organizations, SEI has to be willing to work with the folks who are most committed to the brand: franchisees. SEI needs to let franchisees know about the future of our brand, where the business is going, and how some factors, like digitization and delivery, are going to impact us. We need transparency, but more importantly, we need a seat at the table to help shape the decisions being made by corporate. Currently, franchisees feel underappreciated and left in the dark, causing bitterness and lack of trust. Good communication demands that we have messages and directives coming down from the decision makers at SEI, but also radiating back from the franchisees, thereby adding to the decision making process. Feedback from the front lines of the company has to be made an invaluable part of this process. This is all in SEI’s hands to change, yet they do not, which leads us to question whether they still value a peaceful, harmonious relationship with their franchisees. It’s the only answer for their lack of transparency in spite of all the negative press, infighting with franchisees, and legal action on the part of their franchisee customers.

“SEI has to be willing to work with the folks who are most committed to the brand: franchisees.”

“We work every day at making 7-Eleven a success, yet we struggle to achieve a transparent, collaborative relationship with our franchisor.” What types of things are we talking about? Billbacks and scanbacks, to start with. The accounting system, how ad money is being spent, vendor negotiations, and now especially, digitization projects like 7Rewards, 7NOW, and Scan

to allocate our additional profits to labor? Instead of fixing the franchisees’ compensation to move the needle and hope that happens, they try their incentives, which don’t last long and don’t necessarily move the brand forward. Everything takes a leap of faith. The company has to do a better job of trusting franchisees so we can move the business forward in other ways to make money. If we had transparency, we wouldn’t be infighting about these things because we would all know what we are getting. For instance, rumor has it that SEI will be building fulfillment centers to respond to 7NOW delivery requests. The 2019 contract says, 1) that 7-Eleven can establish convenience or “other” stores, at any site other than your store location; 2) that 7-Eleven can grant others the right to sell any 7-Eleven products, including via the internet or similar electronic mediums; and 3) that they may require franchisees to “arrange for adequate delivery serv-

“If we had transparency surrounding things like 7Rewards, 7NOW, and Scan and Go, we wouldn’t be infighting, because we would all know what we are getting.” And Go. We should be involved in all of these decisions and developments. Why put everyone through all this? Why not give up the secrecy and control, rather than have the brand be put through this public fight with franchisees? The answer lies in what happens if we do get transparency. The company would have to share fairly with franchisees. If franchisees had more money, and knew clearly where the business was going, we would continue to invest in 7-Eleven, and the company would benefit. Doesn’t SEI trust us

ice,” that “we may determine and modify in our sole discretion.” It goes on to say, “You acknowledge and agree that your delivery area is not exclusive and that we and other franchisees may deliver within your delivery area.” What stops 7-Eleven from now creating their own delivery system at their own store that doesn’t have to share 50 percent of sales with anybody? 7-Eleven gets digital customers from our stores. They built an app, and approached vencontinued on page 32 AVA N TI J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


Transparency And Collaboration dors to put fully funded deals on the app. Franchisees pushed the app and got their customers to join, but they are still our customers! What did we buy when we bought our stores? We didn’t buy equipment. We looked for sales, gross profit, and daily customer count. Are we now giving our customers right back to the company? 7-Eleven could never have developed an app with 35 million customers without the help of franchisees, yet we are left with the feeling that they rolled a Trojan horse right into our stores. Look at this beautiful gift, an app. Franchisees want transparency as business partners, we want to be told the direction of the company, and we want to be active participants in our future. We don’t want to make less money than the year before. So transparency could go a long way in helping fran-

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chisees buy into digitization and be committed to fully helping the company move forward. For franchisees, this playing field feels fraught with danger, akin to the Volcano God, who needs his sacrifice, which is okay, until he comes for you. Even if you have a $3 million store, they will come for you. So franchisees need to reject certain things until we have a better understanding of how these things affect us. 7NOW is the line in the sand. It is the Trojan horse. Nine hundred stores are capable right now, and another 900 will go live within weeks. Deliveries are now through a third party, and we lack transparency on who gets the order. When a customer comes to my store every day and then signs up for 7“7-Eleven could never have developed an app with rewards, whose customer is he? 35 million customers without the help of franchisees, yet we are left with the feeling that they One day he places a mobile rolled a Trojan horse right into our stores.” order and


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“When we bought our stores we looked for sales, gross profit, and daily customer count. Are we now giving our customers right back to the company?” where does it go? I have a corporate store onehalf mile from me, and this gives the company the ability to pick winners and losers. Franchisees need assurance that our customers are OUR customers. 7-Eleven has proven in Japan that they can take over every single product in the store with private brands, so already we know we don’t have control. With the transformation to digital, we give up everything. Franchisees and vendors are funding the transformation to digital, so we need to make sure we are getting something in return. We need to make sure we can trade in that Trojan horse for a real horse that we can ride into the sunset.




The announcement by SEI’s parent company of its $21 billion acquisition of Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Speedway business created quite a stir when it was publicly announced on August 3, 2020. I have written many times in this space of the impact on franchisees of SEI’s multi-year and multibillion-dollar expansion of its wholesale and retail gasoline business, but this acquisition takes those concerns to a new level. Here are some takeaways based on publicly available information regarding the transaction.

franchisor, its parent company, as well as the financial community. Franchisees are indeed stakeholders, as they invest their financial and human capital in their franchise locations, and they should be treated and recognized as such. • As was the case with the Sunoco stores purchased by SEI, Speedway stores sell more gasoline on average than do existing 7-Eleven stores. According to Goldman Sachs, gasoline sales account for 77 percent of Speedway’s total sales, compared with 20 percent for SEI. • The Sunoco purchase materially changed the profile of the system, and the Speedway

“I have written many times in this space of the impact on franchisees of SEI’s multi-year and multibillion-dollar expansion of its wholesale and retail gasoline business, but this acquisition takes those concerns to a new level.” • We have reviewed the parent company announcement of the transaction, as well as research reports written by some of the largest brokerage houses, including J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Seven & i Holdings told its shareholders that it strives to deliver best value to all stakeholders, including shareholders and customers. The brokerage houses engage in detailed analyses of the impact of this transaction on both the seller and the buyer. But what is conspicuously missing is any mention of how this acquisition strategy will affect the profitability and the value of existing franchise businesses in the United States. According to Goldman Sachs, SEI plans to progressively convert Speedway stores to franchise stores after strengthening merchandising and boosting daily sales. This is the only reference to franchisees that we find in these research reports. It is deeply disappointing that franchisees are effectively invisible to your

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

purchase, which involves nearly four times as many locations, will do the same but in an even more pronounced fashion. The number of 7-Eleven locations in the United States with gasoline will rise to nearly 8,300, increasing from about 46 percent of the total to just over 57 percent of the total. It will also increase a trend that began with the Sunoco transaction of at least temporarily reducing the percentage of the locations in the system that are franchised to an historical low of approximately 50 percent, down from 75 percent as of March 31, 2020.

“The Sunoco purchase materially changed the profile of the system, and the Speedway purchase, which involves nearly four times as many locations, will do the same, but in an even more pronounced fashion.”

“According to Goldman Sachs, gasoline sales account for 77 percent of Speedway’s total sales, compared with 20 percent for SEI.” • This transaction implements the parent company’s strategy of market concentration, which may be helpful for franchisees in terms of brand penetration and recognition, but can also produce serious anti-competitive effects as SEI acquires market power. When the transaction closes in the first quarter of next year, SEI will have approximately 14,000 stores and an estimated market share of 8.5 percent in a fragmented market. • The financial community characterizes the transaction as part of a strategy to invest in growth businesses, noting that SEI’s operating profits have tripled over the last decade, driven in part by economies of scale driven by merger and acquisition. J.P. Morgan describes management’s expectations that this acquisition will more than double SEI’s operating profit and support a compound annual growth rate of better than 15 percent. • The parent company’s overall strategy reflects its belief that its long-term growth and shareholder value are tied to the expansion of its North American convenience store portfolio. This may be a signal that further acquisitions will be in the making. • In my most recent column, I noted the following: “In fiscal 2020, SEI’s operating income measured in yen increased by 10.5 percent, compared to an 8.8 percent increase for 7Eleven Japan. And looking even deeper, in the same fiscal year, SEI accounted for 14.6 percent of sales to customers in the entire enterprise but it contributed fully 24 percent of the operating income for the year. The importance of this outsized influence that SEI yields continued on page 36

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All In On Gasoline—Chapter 2 continued from page 35

tail margin measured as cents per gallon rose from 19.5 cents to 29.13 cents. “The number of 7-Eleven locations in the This continues a trend we’ve seen United States with gasoline will rise to nearly over the last several years. For example, SEI’s average retail cents per gallon 8,300, increasing from about 46 percent of the total to just over 57 percent of the total.” in 2015 was 19.8, in 2017 it was 22.62, and in 2019 it was 23.95. The parent of in the business of its parent cannot be under- SEI touted to investors that these pricing poliestimated.” This confirms what franchisees cies created an increase in gasoline gross profit have feared all along, which is that because SEI of $60 million for the first quarter of calendar produces enormous cash flow for its parent year 2020, compared to the first calendar quarcompany, it is willing to spend billions of dol- ter of 2019. During that quarter, gasoline sales lars on acquisitions, but is not prepared to volume was down 9.9 percent, but cents per comparably invest in upgrades and renova- gallon were up 4.9 percent. According to a tions to existing stores, which have been briefing held by Seven & i, SEI’s gasoline gross starved of capital investment over many years. profits for April through June 2020 increased • The entire transaction will be funded by by 30 percent year-over-year. The artificially debt, which will at least temporarily increase high gasoline prices not only hurt consumers the debt to equity ratio of the company. This but also franchisees, because high prices at the could put some pressure on the company to pump translate to less foot traffic in the store increase cash flow, which may come at the ex- and thus lower merchandise sales. pense of franchisees. • Goldman Sachs opines SEI will likely be • As you know from prior columns in this able to maintain margins given what it charspace, SEI has created a built-in conflict of in- acterizes as the low market penetration of terest because gasoline is consigned to its electric vehicles, citing the U.S. Energy Adfranchisees who receive a fixed commis- “SEI has created a built-in conflict of interest sion based on the because gasoline is consigned to its number of gallons pumped, rather than, franchisees who receive a fixed commission as was the case histori- based on the number of gallons pumped, cally, a percentage of rather than a percentage of the gross profit.” the gross profit. Over the last several years, SEI has continued a ministration forecast that electric vehicles massive run-up in gasoline profits. Even be- sales, currently at 1.8 percent, will rise to just fore this acquisition, nearly 46 percent of all 11.2 percent in 2050. the convenience stores operated by SEI or its It has been crystal clear for many years franchisees in the United States had gasoline. that both the short-term and long-term interFranchisees are legitimately concerned that ests of franchisees are of little concern to this acquisition is all about amassing even management in both Dallas and Tokyo, and more market power so as to be able to set re- invisible to the financial services industry. For tail gasoline prices with impunity. many concerned franchisees, this latest and • Examples of this trend can be found in massive acquisition only confirms these impublic disclosures of SEI’s parent. It reported pressions. It is for this reason that now, perthat for the three months ended March 31, haps more so than at any time in the history 2020, revenue from gasoline sales compared to of this franchise system, franchisees need a the same period in the previous year were strong, united and determined representative down, the number of gallons pumped were and advocate in the form of the National down, crude oil prices were down, but SEI Coalition, the only franchisee body in the sysmaintained the same average retail price per tem whose leaders are democratically elected gallon ($2.45) year-over-year. As a result, its re- by their peers. 36

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percent of its total restaurant footprint in the U.S. and about 2 percent of U.S. sales in 2019. • Wawa recently closed its flagship store in Center City Philadelphia, reported WPVI-TV Action News. The company said between the pandemic and their long-term plans, the store—which opened in 2015 and has struggled in recent months—is no longer viable. • Kwik Trip, Inc. recently announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Stop-N-Go Convenience Centers, which operates 36 convenience stores in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Trip said it plans to continue to operate many of the stores under the existing StopN-Go banner. Some of the larger stores will be remodeled and rebranded as “Kwik Trip.” • McLane Company, Inc. announced that Grady Rosier recently retired as president and CEO, and Tony Frankenberger has assumed leadership of McLane as president and CEO, while maintaining his responsibilities as president of McLane Grocery. Rosier has worked for McLane for more than 36 years and has held the title of president and CEO for the last 25 years of that time. • White Castle recently announced that its retail division saw a 24.7 percent increase in net sales ($96.9 million) during the first six periods of 2020 over the same time last year. The company said its retail division is on track to eclipse $200 million in net sales for the year, which would be an all-time high for the division, and growth of its White Castle Sliders outpaced its category competitors by 24 percent. • As the devastating effects of systemic racism and social injustice recently erupted throughout the country, Swisher International announced that it has launched a new Inclusion, Diversity & Transformation Initiative to strengthen the company’s social responsibility and to redefine the work it does in three core areas: business, education, and civic participation. • Kwik Trip held its third-ever companywide Open Interview Day on August 12 as it sought to hire over 3,000 full and part time employees. An expansion of their fresh food options along with the acquisition of the Stop-N-Go chain of stores are two of the reasons for the new hires. • The continued on page 40

Vendor Guest Column

CRIME AND ASSAULT PREVENTION— AN UPDATE FOR 2020 John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering Consultant, MSIG Insurance Group Retail crime—including theft, robbery, and assaults—are a real danger in these times of increased unemployment, racial tension, and stress from the pandemic. According to a large study by Chain Store Age, shoplifting and dishonest employees continue making theft a serious problem for retailers. This crime study found that the reasons for increasing crime are more organized retail crime activity, legislation raising the felony threshold levels, police more selective in crimes they pursue, less staff on the sales floor, and thieves viewing shoplifting as a high reward, low-risk effort.

“Today, tempers can flare over a mask, demand for cigarettes, or questioning a customer’s ID. As patience is lower, effective de-escalation can be the difference between life or death.”

2018, and in 2020 violent crime is surging. Shootings and homicides, which dipped during the initial lockdown phase of the pandemic, are now rising at alarmingly high rates. MSIG provides the workers' compenBACKGROUND sation insurance for almost 4,000 U.S. The FBI reports that violent crime in- franchised 7-Eleven stores. Since 2016, creased for the second consecutive year in there have been 288 assault-type claims for a current cost of $10,246,566. As seen in the accompanying chart, the number of assaults is increasing with costs varied depending on the severity of the assault. The number of claims so far in 2020 has declined because of the The ratio of assault claims has now risen to 19.4 percent of all pandemic slow injury claims, further driving up costs. The cost of assault claims down and many has nearly quadrupled from 2019. stores closing late at night. UnfortuKey Questions nately, the number 4. Did you know studies show 1. Is your store prepared for free standing stores are more crime and assault prevention of assaults is now vulnerable than strip mall lothrough physical controls like increasing and cations, and more common improved surveillance, signs, severity is up, as near busy highways for a and general appearance? more effective escape? confirmed by FBI 2. Are your inside and outside 5. Are your employees trained, lights bright enough to create statistics. a safe space? 3. Did you know assaults or robberies do not alwaysxoccur after midnight?

tested and ready if a shoplifting event escalates or someone enters the store demanding money or cigarettes?


● Employee asked the customer to leave, the situation escalated, and the employee was stabbed in the neck resulting in lost wages and medical costs at $3.4 million. ● Employee followed customer outside to retrieve stolen goods. The customer hit the employee with his car resulting in injury costs at $46,940. ● Assailant stole five packs of cigarettes and then stabbed the employee. Current costs are $379,552. ● Employee said a customer was stealing items and would not let them leave the store. Assailant then started hitting and biting the employee. Current injury costs are $190,559. The most serious injuries occur from two basic causes—the employee is unable to, or ineffectively, de-escalates the situation; and leaving the counter or store to chase. Nothing good ever happens if an employee leaves the store.

DE-ESCALATION TIPS (IN THESE TENSE PANDEMIC TIMES) Tempers can flare over a mask, demand for cigarettes, or questioning a customer’s ID. As patience is lower, effective de-escalation can be the difference between life or death. A few tips for your employees: ● Listen—Let the person vent their frustration by actively listening. ● Do What They Say—Sometimes this is the best and only option. continued on page 40

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Vendor Guest Column continued from page 39

“Audit your store and procedures, and refresh training related to crime prevention.” ● Remain Calm—But refrain from telling the customer to remain calm (this makes most people madder). ● Control Your Body Language—Show your concern and do not reach for anything. ● Find A Solution—Talk about how to fix the situation with facts. ● Keep Yourself and Others Safe—Do not leave the store or register area.


6. Cigarettes are a valuable target item. Limit these and other target items in the register area of the store. Secure them in a cage in the backroom and minimize inventory. 7. Keep the office door closed or locked to limit the temptation from a would-be criminal seeing cigarettes or cash.

“It may seem like a losing

Audit your store and proproposition, but enthusiasm and cedures, and refresh training diligence in safety and security, related to crime prevention. Ask an expert for their advice! with best practices and training, 1. Employee training, includcan reduce the risks.” ing Operation Alert. Follow up with frequent reminders, 8. Encourage the police to stop in for cofespecially for new employees. fee or beverages and park in your lot 2. Limit outside activities after dark. Emafter hours. Now more than ever, work ployees should not take out the trash with law enforcement to understand after midnight. criminal or gang activity in your neigh3. Make sure employees know how and borhood. when to use the panic alarm. 4. Inside and outside lighting should be SUMMARY bright and cover the store parking lot The pandemic has changed the retail and sides. A poorly lit store increases world as customers seek stores that feel the risk. Make sure windows are not obsafe, clean, and help support their comstructed at the register area. munity. This is an ideal time to build on 5. Cash limit in registers should be strongly enforced. If a robber succeeds the loyalty of your employees and the inin getting excess cash, you are a likely creasing loyalty of your customers. Look at the physical safety and appearance of target again. your store, and continue to enhance the employees' skill at managing tough sitAfter A Robbery Or Assault uations and making the 1. Lock the doors—call 911. right decisions. 2. Find any witnesses and get their information. The convenience store 3. Call the SEI Hotline! But remember, they canindustry is subject to not process a worker's compensation claim! shoplifting, employee as4. Preserve any evidence of the crime, including saults, and other crime video—take pictures. that impacts profitability, 5. Contact MSIG or your workers' compensation the workers' compensation or liability insurance company. insurance program, and 40

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global Frozen Food Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.6 percent from 2020-2026 to reach US$ 320.06 billion by 2026, according to a new report by UnivDatos Market Insights. The major factors influencing the market include the introduction of longer shelf-life products, an increase in the working population worldwide, and rising demand from various endusers such as hotels, restaurants, and fast-food chains. • As beer and soda consumption shifts from restaurants to homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, aluminum cans are in very tight supply, reported USA Today. The raw material for aluminum can production is not in short supply, according to the article. It’s the capacity to produce the cans that’s lacking. Can manufacturers have announced plans to build at least three factories within the next 18 months, but that won’t solve the immediate supply issues. • In order to meet consumer needs during the coronavirus pandemic, the Coca-Cola Company recently updated its Freestyle beverage fountains to allow for contactless, mobile pouring from a smartphone. With the new contactless solution, consumers can choose and pour drinks from their phones in just a few seconds by using a QR code that brings continued on page 51

most importantly, the well-being of employees and their families. It may seem like a losing proposition, but enthusiasm and diligence in safety and security, with best practices and training, can reduce the risks. Perform a security/violence prevention audit using the information from OSHA at the link https://www.osha.gov/ Publications/osha3153.pdf, or request a Safety-Security Store audit from MSIG or your insurance company. MSIG, your insurance company, or your broker can help you develop practical and effective strategies to protect your employees from violent crime. JOHN HARP CAN BE REACHED AT

jharp@msigusa.com or 908-604-2951

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NCASEF franchisee is accused of profiling customers.” What’s more, the app relies on the customer knowing how to scan items that are on special—like those where you buy one and get one free (BOGO). “During the pandemic, we heard that with some promotions like Red Bull BOGOs, many customers aren’t scanning the second drink,” said Jorgensen. “There’s no interaction with the staff, so the customer doesn’t know they’re supposed to scan both. The store is eating that loss as shrinkage, where the manufacturer was supposed to pay for the free item. The customer really isn’t knowingly stealing from us, but the bottom line is they might as well be.” A survey of 2,634 people cited in the March 2018 edition of The Atlantic showed that 20 percent of them admitted to having stolen at self-checkout in the past. In 2015, criminologists at the University of Leicester conducted a study of 1 million self-checkout transactions and found $850,000 in shoplifted goods out of $21 million in sales. They believe the ease of theft coupled with the fact that shoppers don’t have to interact with a clerk inspires people who might not normally steal to do so.

“If there’s a dispute over a Scan and Go transaction, we fear SEI will side with the customer over the franchisee, potentially leaving us on the losing end.”

It is the opinion of the NCASEF Board that Scan and Go exposes franchisees to all the liability, while leaving 7-Eleven with absolutely none. If there’s a dispute over a Scan and Go transaction, we fear SEI will side with the customer over the franchisee, potentially leaving us on the losing end.

“The problems 7-Eleven doesn’t have solutions for are endless,” said Hashmi. “They have yet to address many problems including ‘ticket switching’ where a shopper covers the barcode of an expensive item with the barcode of a less expensive item.” A former Walmart executive was quoted on businessinsider.com as stating that shopper theft was a major reason the big-box retailer abandoned scan and go technology. “Unlike Walmart, the 7-Eleven system forces franchisees to bear the cost of theft. If SEI is willing to share in those losses,

HIGHLIGHTS we will stand behind this program,” said Jorgensen. “This technology will resonate with our customers, but SEI needs to be transparent about franchisee costs and stop making these kinds of topdown, do this now-or else mandates and start treating franchisees like independent contractors and not like glorified store managers.” The National Coalition has released a new survey for franchisees to evaluate the Scan and Go program. Please take the time to fill this out and voice any concerns you have. NCASEF believes a more rigorous, transparent and representative market test of Scan and Go be conducted—and that full results are shared with all franchisees—so we can collaborate on a working plan going forward to ensure the program is beneficial for both sides and not just SEI.

7NOW Amendments Should Raise A Red Flag For Franchisees Delivery apps have grown in usage and popularity over the last few years, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever before are relying on them. In theory, they should be a win-win for both the business and the customer, but changes to 7-Eleven’s 7NOW program have the potential to create many losses for franchisees. “The broad outlines of loyalty programs such as the 7NOW are in the 2019 Franchise Agreement,” said NCASEF Executive Vice-Chairman Michael Jorgensen, but the details are left to SEI’s future discretion. This means there are no set limits to what loyalty program redemptions could cost a franchisee. It’s like writing SEI a blank check from our store proceeds. “In typical SEI fashion, they keep changing the rules of how the program works, like they’re moving the goal posts to take advantage in a football game.” SEI’s treatment of the 7NOW program is just the latest example of its increasingly pervasive control over every aspect of the day-to-day operation of franchised stores. Without input from any franchisee organization or any explanation, SEI has once again “WITHOUT INPUT FROM ANY released new amendments FRANCHISEE ORGANIZATION to the 7NOW program. This OR ANY EXPLANATION, SEI marks the fifth version of the HAS ONCE AGAIN RELEASED agreement governing the program since it was first inNEW AMENDMENTS TO THE troduced, and the third


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NCASEF “In theory, delivery apps should be a win-win for both the business and the customer, but changes to 7-Eleven’s 7NOW program have the potential to create many losses for franchisees.”

which contains significant changes. In typical fashion, SEI has elected not to redline or highlight any of the changes in the new version—as if they are trying to sneak the changes by us. Do we need to question why there is no summary of changes included? Credit cards for 7NOW purchases may be processed through a different company than credit card purchases for transactions taking place in our stores. While we share the fees for both types of transactions, there are no assurances that fees for app purchases won’t climb—in fact, the 7NOW amendment specifically notes that the fees for these transactions may be higher.

HIGHLIGHTS There are many examples where third-party delivery systems are eating away at the already thin margins that restaurants and businesses earn. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has mandated that delivery apps tell the customer how much of their bill is going to the business or restaurant and how much is going to the delivery service. New York City and Portland, Oregon have capped the amount delivery services can charge. Other cities are sure to follow suit.

“There are many examples where third-party delivery systems are eating away at the already thin margins that restaurants and businesses earn.”

The amendment states, “All orders will be directed to a participating 7-Eleven store we determine for assembly at The list of issues goes on and on. the store and preparation for delivery to the customer.” So, Refunds, either partial or full, are at SEI has claimed the unregulated power to reward stores Afrom the store’s actual retail price; with 7NOW orders as they see fit. That means when one of special packaging that is required for 7NOW orders is an your loyal customers places an order added and unnecessary expense for franchisees. through 7NOW, she may not be sup“SEI porting the franchisee she knows The net result is that SEI has forced franchisees to achas claimed the unfrom her neighborhood. cept all of the additional costs, expenses and risks of the 7NOW program while retaining the lion’s share regulated power to reward “What would happen if SEI of the benefits for itself and its shareholders. decided to one day open fulfillstores with 7NOW orders as they

ment centers for 7NOW or“There is no transparency in terms of the acsee fit. That means when one of ders,” asks NCASEF Vicecounting with third party delivery services,” said your loyal customers places an Chairman Rehan Hashmi. “Take Jorgensen. “These are realistic concerns that we order through 7NOW, she may not a look at the 7-Eleven website. have. 7-Eleven is clearly looking out for their inbe supporting the franchisee The number one thing they’re terests, protecting themselves and including sole promoting is the 7NOW app. discretion to back out of the program in the event she knows from her Should SEI ever open a fulfillment they determine the program is not profitable, but neighborhood.” center, it might try to force franchisees what about the protections franchisees deserve? These out into the cold.” 7NOW amendments are a one-way street. Franchisees risk being in the position of having to run a program that is The 2019 Franchisee Agreement states that franeroding their profits, yet they cannot elect to discontinue it. chisees are solely responsible for the cost of whatever delivery Sadly, that should come as no surprise to any of us.” programs are mandated by SEI. This could mean the hiring of additional employees as well as providing and insuring vehicles for deliveries. Shouldering these costs would be a tremendous burden on franchisees. Franchisees are not assured they would receive a greater portion of delivery fees charged to the customer even if we are the ones actually making the delivery while bearing this additional expense.

As 7-Eleven Fights AB-5, Franchisees Claim The Company Treats Them Like Store Managers, Not Owners continued on page 44

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NCASEF Having falsely claimed that a law intended to protect workers who have been misclassified as independent contractors—like those who drive for Uber—will make “franchising’s future uncertain in California,” the International Franchise Association and 7-Eleven, Inc. (SEI) are pressing to have franchised businesses exempt from the law known as AB-5. Unlike franchise owners in other well-known brands like McDonald’s and Planet Fitness, 7-Eleven operators are not actually independent contractors because 7-Eleven runs the stores; the franchisees own none of their own fixtures or “UNLIKE FRANCHISE equipment; they are not party OWNERS IN OTHER to the lease for their location; and they must deposit all sales WELL-KNOWN BRANDS receipts into SEI’s business LIKE MCDONALD’S AND bank account. PLANET FITNESS, 7“They treat us like glorified ELEVEN OPERATORS ARE store managers,” said Jaspreet Dhillon, a Los Angeles area 7- NOT ACTUALLY INDEEleven franchisee and Treas- PENDENT CONTRACTORS urer of the National Coalition of BECAUSE 7-ELEVEN Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), the inde- RUNS THE STORES.” pendently elected body representing the interests of more than 4,000 U.S. franchises. “AB-5 represents a chance for 7Eleven to change its system so that California’s hundreds of 7-Eleven franchisees could really be running their own businesses, but that is not what SEI wants.” Dhillon said. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sued the ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft, saying their drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors and should be employees of the company. 7Eleven claims that its

“AB-5 represents a chance for 7-Eleven to change its system so that California’s hundreds of 7-Eleven franchisees could really be running their own businesses.” 44

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HIGHLIGHTS franchisees should not be covered by AB-5 and is attempting to persuade state legislators to grant a carve-out for franchising in the AB-5 law. A similar effort by 7-Eleven to obtain a carve-out in Massachusetts failed. On its website, the IFA says, “For franchisees, remaining in control of your own business is of paramount concern and could be jeopardized by AB-5.” 7-Eleven franchisees yearn to be in control over their businesses, but are not able given the oppressive nature of SEI’s franchise agreement, which, among other things, dictates that payroll and tax obligations be funneled through SEI. In fact, franchisees are not even allowed to control the thermostats in their stores. In an email to all California franchisees, SEI’s Chief Franchising Officer Greg Franks wrote, “We are pursuing legislative changes to make clear that AB-5 does not apply to franchising.” The National Coalition opposes SEI’s effort. Eric H. Karp, General Counsel for the National Coalition, called SEI’s campaign “a crass political attempt” to protect 7-Eleven from a major lawsuit that franchisees have brought challenging the company’s detailed and pervasive control over store operations. “The solution is not to change the law, but change the way SEI treats its franchisees,” he said.

Don't Be Misled By SEI's So-Called Franchise Suspension Eric Karp, General Counsel, National Coalition The June 29, 2020 e-mail to all California franchisees is a cynical and transparent attempt to interfere in the affairs of the National Coalition and California-based FOAs, all of which are independent franchisee associations, by undermining franchisee support for those organizations in general and the misclassification cases pending in California, Illinois and Massachusetts, in particular. SEI has issued a public announcement stating that they’re no longer going to franchise corporate stores in California. This was followed up by a video featuring Greg Franks. Both communications contain seriously misleading and inaccurate statements. This is a political boycott, not a legal necessity. It is similar to the time in the early 1990s when Iowa enacted a very strong franchise relationship law. The International Franchise Association, the lobbying group that represents francontinued on page 46

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chisors and with whom SEI is allied in this lobbying initiative, stated that its members would no longer sell franchises in Iowa. But what really happened was that the number of franchise outlets in Iowa actually went up in the years after the law was passed.

“SEI has issued a public announcement stating that they’re no longer going to franchise corporate stores in California. This was followed up by a video featuring Greg Franks. Both communications contain seriously misleading and inaccurate statements.”

This boycott is also hypocritical. SEI says that it will not franchise corporate stores, but it will permit franchisee-to-franchisee transfers. Because the buyer of a franchise store must sign a new franchise agreement, that transaction is also the sale of franchise under California and federal law. So SEI is really not suspending franchising. Mr. Franks claims that both franchisors and franchisees are facing serious challenges from AB-5. This misses the point entirely. The solution is not to change the law, but change the way SEI treats its franchisees.

He also claims that one aspect of the independent contractor status of franchisees is they set their own hours. This is categorically false based on the franchise agreement and the written communications issued by SEI itself during the pandemic, indicating that franchisees who wanted to close between midnight and 6 AM needed SEI’s approval on a case-by-case basis.

Mr. Frank’s statement that AB-5 contains a new definition of independent contractor status is also inaccurate because that same standard exists in many other states and franchising has not come to an end in any of those states.

“MR. FRANKS CLAIMS THAT BOTH FRANCHISORS AND FRANCHISEES ARE FACING SERIOUS CHALLENGES FROM AB-5. THE SOLUTION IS NOT TO CHANGE THE LAW, BUT CHANGE THE WAY SEI TREATS ITS FRANCHISEES.” elements of the definition of a franchise. But SEI turns that definition upside down and suggests that because it’s a franchisor, it must exercise that control. That is simply nonsense. SEI lumps 7-Eleven in with other mainstream franchisors like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts, but this system, which SEI alone chose to design and perpetuate, is very differently structured. In those systems, the franchisees actually own the furniture, fixtures and equipment, they deposit their sales proceeds in their own bank accounts, they process their payroll independent of franchisor oversight, and they control the temperatures in their stores. Comparing SEI to these mainstream franchise systems is like comparing apples to oranges. This so-called franchise suspension is an effort to manufacture a crisis that does not exist. If SEI loses the misclassification cases, they stand to be liable for damages which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

“If SEI loses the misclassification cases, they stand to be liable for damages which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The solution is not to change the law, but to radically change the day-to-day relationship between SEI and its franchisees, the written agreement which governs their relationship and the culture of the franchise system, and by doing so convert SEI franchisees from glorified store managers into the independent contractors and business owners they yearn to be.

Mr. Franks goes on to state that franchisees have to be able to answer each of the three questions in the three prongs in the affirmative. This is wrong, because it is SEI’s burden to demonstrate that its franchisees actually are independent contracSign up today to receive Dispatch, the NCASEF’s email newsletter that keeps you up to date on tors based on the franchise agreement that it the latest 7-Eleven news and announcements from national leadership. With all the changes and created unilaterally without input from any inchallenges happening within our system, the Dispatch newsletter serves as a direct line of communidependent franchisee organization.

Sign Up For The Dispatch Newsletter!

It also claims that California franchise law requires franchisors to exercise some control over their franchisees’ operations. This is also false. Exercising control over franchisees is one of the


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cation 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.

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ating stronger sales as consumers spend more time at home.

C-store Retailers Scale Back Employee Travel A new poll conducted by Convenience Store News reveals that convenience store retailers have dramatically scaled back employee travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. e trade publication reported that nearly nine out of 10 c-store retailers instituted travel restrictions on their employees due to the pandemic, with most of the restrictions starting in February/March 2020. Of those that instituted restrictions, 40 percent banned all business travel, while a third of respondents banned just air travel. e poll also found that most retailers (80 percent) have not announced when their travel restrictions will be lied. Of those that have, half said August/September 2020 is the timeline they’re targeting. However,

25 percent of respondents expect their travel restrictions will remain in place until 2021.

Pandemic Affecting Morning & Lunchtime Dayparts e pandemic has changed commuters’ everyday routines, and convenience retailers and quick-service restaurants alike are battling for a shrinking share of trips, reported NACS Daily News. e weekday morning daypart remains stalled at 85 percent of year-ago trips for convenience stores, while lunchtime trips also show signs of slipping, according to the biweekly report from PDI and NACS. For the two-week period ended July

“Forty percent of c-store companies have banned all business travel, and 25 percent expect travel restrictions will remain in place until 2021.”

26, overall trips declined. During the 11 a.m. to 2:59 p.m. daypart, trips fell to 88 percent of year-ago trips from 90 percent for the prior two-week period ended July 12. Many former commuters are still working from home amid continued concerns about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Returning restrictions in some areas of the country are playing their part, and summer vacation travel impact is likely mixed as some consumers are curtailing their usual summer road travel, while others choose to drive instead of fly. Although consumers still aren’t visiting c-stores as oen as they did before the pandemic, the good news is that they continue to spend more per trip, the latest consumer behavior insights from PDI and NACS show. Basket spend continues to be about 20 percent higher than the prior year. Dollar spend in the two weeks ended July 26 inched higher compared with the prior two-week period—up 21.5 percent vs. a 19.2 percent increase. Year-over-year continued on page 51

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. 48

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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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the Coca-Cola Freestyle user interface to their phones. • Uber recently introduced grocery delivery in the U.S. through its main app and Uber Eats, reported Grocery Dive. The rollout began in Dallas and Miami, where the company soft launched with partner Cornershop, and will expand to other cities. • Target and Walmart have announced they are closing their stores on Thanksgiving Day, ending a decadelong tradition of jump-starting Black Friday door buster sales, reported the Associated Press. Stores are rethinking this year’s Black Friday shopping bonanza weekend—along with other key retail days during the holiday season—as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic. • Ascena—the parent company of clothing retailers including Justice, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Catherine’s—recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will shut down around half of its 2,800 stores, reported Patch.com. Disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said the last few months negatively impacted “meaningful progress” which was being made to get the company back on track financially. • Canned food sales are booming across the world in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including sales of meat and poultry products, which have been declining for decades, reported Meat+Poultry.com. U.S. sales of canned meat during the 15-week period ended June 13, 2020, were up more than 70 percent. • Walgreens is testing a small-format pharmacy in upwards of 30 locations, with plans to expand the concept if it proves successful, reported CNBC. The stores feature a streamlined merchandise selection and will focus on forging relationships between customers and pharmacists. • A coalition of retailers that includes Kroger, Walgreens, CVS Health, Walmart and Target is working to find and test viable alternatives to the single-use plastic bag, reported Fox Business. The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners has earmarked more than $15 million to launch its “Beyond the Bag” program, and is soliciting design ideas from around the globe. • Working from home and online shopping have become the new normal and that will reduce driving in continued on page 52

dollars continue to weaken, however, primarily because trips are declining. Cigarettes and packaged beverages, which are the two largest c-store categories on a per-dollar basis, contracted during the two-week period (+3.4 percent and +7.4 percent, respectively, vs. +5.3 percent and +10.5 percent, respectively, for the two weeks ended July 12).

C-Stores Add More Safety Protocols & New Shopping Options Convenience retailers say that are continuing to enhance store operations to address new consumer preferences related to safety protocols and convenient shopping options that have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a national survey of U.S. convenience store owners conducted by NACS. Nine in 10 stores (89 percent) have installed plexiglass barriers at checkout, and 87 percent provide hand sanitizer inside the store. Convenience stores sell an estimated 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the country, and 24 percent of stores are offering hand sanitizer at the fuel island. Many retailers also say they are driving forward new convenience offers that respond to customer demands, such as new payment options that have accelerated within the industry: 40 percent say they have introduced or increased contactless payment options inside stores, and 62 percent say fewer customers are paying by cash, reflecting a broader retail trend. In

terms of product pickup, 33 percent of stores have introduced or expanded curbside pickup, 29 percent have increased a drive-thru element to their operations and 21 percent increased delivery.

Consumers Want Contactless Services To Continue As the nationwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic reached a fever pitch across the U.S. in March, local businesses that could remain open had to quickly adopt new ways of serving customers, like more convenient communications, curbside pickups, local delivery and contactless payments. New research from Podium shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans have both used these services (84 percent) and expect local businesses to continue offering them (86 percent). Other findings from the report include: • Nearly 3 in 5 Americans (57 percent) said a local business' pandemic-friendly services (including curbside pickup, local food and grocery delivery and contactless payments) led them to purchase continued on page 52

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“Nearly 3 in 5 Americans (57 percent) said a local business' pandemic-friendly services led them to purchase goods or services from a local business for the first time.” goods or services from a local business for the first time. • Over 2 in 5 (43 percent) Americans said a local business' failure to offer pandemicfriendly services led them to seek out and work with or purchase from a competitor, or discontinue patronage altogether. • Americans would like local businesses to continue offering pandemic-friendly solutions aer COVID-19 restrictions li: curbside pickup options—80 percent; food and grocery delivery options—79 percent; and contactless payment options—78 percent.

shoppers’ reluctance to stand in line, reported Bloomberg. e convenience store chain, owned by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., said it would deploy a cashierless checkout system at a store in the Phoenix area in early 2021. e technology is supplied by Standard Cognition Corp., which pledges to retrofit existing retail locations quickly. e first Circle K locations with automated checkout will still employ human cashiers for shoppers who prefer paying the old-fashioned way, and to handle more complicated transactions at locations that also sell fuel. ose who want to check out automatically will need to download a Standard Cognition smartphone app and have a credit card on file.

Kroger Web Marketplace Offers 50,000 Products

Circle K To Test Cashierless Checkout Circle K plans to roll out automated checkout at select stores in the U.S. next year, becoming the latest retailer to bet on

Kroger is launching an e-commerce marketplace to rival giants like Amazon, reported Fox Business. e supermarket chain has partnered with French e-commerce company Mirakl and plans to offer continued on page 54

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 52

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the U.S. by up to 270 billion miles a year, reported Bloomberg. According to new study KPMG International, there could be as much as a 10 percent permanent reduction of the almost 3 trillion miles typically traveled every year, and vehicle ownership could decline to slightly less than two cars per household. • The U.S. is moving closer to creating a digital dollar, reported Forbes. On June 30, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on the future of the digital currency. The pressures to create a digital USD are mounting as China recently began testing its own digital currency—the DCEP. Of particular concern is widespread adoption of a digital yuan in emerging markets and in international trade. • Walmart and Yahoo Mail have partnered for an online grocery program that will allow customers to fill their Walmart shopping cart directly from their email, reported Market Watch. “Groceries from Walmart” is available now on the Yahoo Mail iOS app and website, and will be available on Android later this year. • ALDI has expanded its curbside grocery pickup after a successful pilot program in select markets, reported Tulsa World. Curbside grocery pickup is now available in nearly 600 ALDI stores across the country. • Restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese parent CEC Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy recently, making it the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic that has crushed entertainment and leisure industries globally, reported Reuters. • Clorox wipes are expected to remain in short supply well into 2021 as a result of a “very complex” supply chain that shares a raw material used for personal protective equipment, reported Business Insider. The company is struggling to keep up with high demand for disinfectants, which has increased at rates of up to 500 percent in some categories. • As more people shift towards online banking, Google has partnered with half a dozen banks to offer Google Pay users in the U.S. access to mobile checking accounts as early as 2021, reported USA Today. • Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers continued on page 57

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As of July 31, 2020, individuals collecting unemployment benefits no longer receive an extra $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Without this extra benefit, most individuals will receive less than half their former weekly income in unemployment benefits (47 percent in Illinois). With FPUC expiring, employees who initially refused a recall offer or an offer of employment to continue collecting extra unemployment benefits may consider returning to work. Employers should prepare for job status inquiries from furloughed or laid off employees who initially refused a recall offer or an offer of reemployment. It is important to ask these employees why they refused to return to work and why they want to return to work now. Employees who refused to return to work because they wanted to continue to collect federal and state unemployment benefits may be ineligible for these benefits under both federal and state law. Although these employees’ reasons for refusing to return to work may disqualify them from unemployment benefits, they may have had additional legitimate reasons to stay away from work. If your furloughed or laid off employee(s) have refused a recall offer and/or an offer of reemployment, your State agency administering unemployment benefits may have reporting procedures or a process for handling employee refusals to return to work. This may not be the end for additional federal unemployCONTACT ment benefits due to COVID-19. While competing bills were Rob Bernstein pending in Congress, each including some form of additional 515 North State Street Suite 2800 unemployment benefit assistance, on August 8, 2020, President Chicago, IL 60654 Trump issued a number of Executive Orders and memoranda, 312.467.9800 rbernstein@lanermuchin.com one of which provides $400 weekly unemployment benefits. Questions have been raised regarding the President’s authority PRACTICE AREAS Labor Management Relations to issue such Orders and it remains unclear how such benefits Private & Public Sector Employment Litigation will be administered.

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.

thousands of products from third-party retailers. Kroger Ship, the company's digital delivery service that launched in 2018, will now offer shoppers an additional 50,000 products across categories like international food, specialty items, housewares and toys. In July, Kroger reportedly built out a 350,000-square-foot distribution center in Frederick, Md., for its grocery delivery expansion. Kroger also teamed up with automated warehouse tech company Ocado Solutions for online order fulfillment that will supply communities in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., since it does not have brick-and-mortar retail locations in those areas.

Trade Groups Call For National Standard On Mask Mandates Chief executives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers and others teamed up recently to call for a national standard for states on requiring mask wearing, reported e Hill. e group, which also included the Business Roundtable CEO and the American Council of Life Insurers CEO, wrote a letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to request that the White House coronavirus task force and the National Governors Association (NGA) work together. Hogan is the chairperson of the NGA and Cuomo is the vice chairperson. e CEOs stressed that state and local officials should be who mandates mask wearing, but voiced their concern over the public confusion and low levels of consumer confidence, as well as confrontations continued on page 57


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have complained to the Federal Trade Commission in record numbers about problems related to online shopping, according to the Consumer Protection Data Spotlight. The report shows that in April and May, the FTC received more than 34,000 complaints from consumers related to online shopping. • Hostess Brands recently opened a new Innovation Lab in Lenexa, Kansas, to develop and test new products, reported FoodBev.com. The lab incorporates sensory booth, lab and focus group areas. The company said the data collected will enable it to quickly and efficiently bring to market “inventive, high-quality products that perform well on store shelves.” • McDonald’s is partnering with the Mayo Clinic as it tries to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, reported CNBC. The medical center will offer McDonald’s advice on best practices to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and review the company’s environmental health and safety precautions and some of its global standards. McDonald’s and some of its franchisees face lawsuits from employees related to its response to the pandemic. •In late July, Papa John’s announced plans to hire another 10,000 workers around the country, saying the additional employees were needed to meet higher demand for delivered pizza, reported Restaurant Business. The bigger hiring push came on top of the 20,000 workers the pizza chain had hired since late March. Papa John’s said its North America same-store sales popped 33.5 percent in May, continuing a surge that began in late March when consumers began quarantining at home. • A growing number of merchants are embracing QR code technology as a simple, low cost, contactless alternativefor payments as demand grows for a safe and cost-efficient payments solution during the pandemic, reported Mobile Payments Today. • Fresh convenience market chain QuickChek recently announced that it has partnered with DoorDash to deliver its complete food service menu. The company has also introduced in-store self-checkout counters, mobile ordering, and curbside pickup options. • Amazon continued on page 58

between customers and employees trying to enforce a policy, due to the variation in current mandatory mask requirements. ey requested the task force and NGA establish guidance on the appropriate metrics for imposing location-based mandatory mask requirements in public spaces. ey also asked that the task force and NGA develop model mandatory mask policies that are simple and don’t place the enforcement burden on companies. In addition, the CEOs asked for clarity that businesses and nonprofits will not be held liable for refusing entry or services to an individual who does not comply with face covering requirements.

July 4th Spending Gives C-Store Sales A Boost On-the-go Americans helped boost convenience store sales during the Independence Day holiday, but the momentum wasn’t enough to pull trips out of the pandemic-related doldrums during the first two weeks of July, reported NACS Daily News. For the two-week period ended July 12, year-over-year dollars were +6.7 percent, compared with +6.4 percent for the two weeks ended June 28, but were short of gains in May and June, according to the biweekly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is impacting consumer behavior. Basket spend continues to outpace the year-ago period, up about 20 percent, helped by a 26.5 percent one-day increase on July 4. Trips, however, still lag the yearearlier period by about 10 percent, holding

back dollar sales growth, and the critical morning day-part remains stuck at about 85 percent of year-ago trips. Other insights for the period ended July 12, 2020: • Packaged beverages’ trips increased year over year (+1.8 percent vs. -0.3 percent for the two weeks ended June 28). • Foodservice trips remain in the red year over year, but are improving (-22.6 percent vs. -25.2 percent for the two weeks ended June 28). • Beer trips contracted slightly year over year (+2.2 percent vs. +2.9 percent for the two weeks ended June 28).

Shoppers Plan To Keep Buying More Groceries COVID-19 and the recession are driving changes in shopper behavior that could be beneficial for grocers long-term, reported Grocery Dive. A survey by PwC found that 42 percent of consumers say they won't stop loading their pantries until COVID-19 is fully resolved, and that 64 percent will continue to maintain their current rate of pantry loading for the foreseeable future. Fiy-one percent of those surveyed reported a “significant increase” in cooking at home, and 69 percent said this activity has added to their quality of life during the pandemic. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed reported eating out less. e survey also shows that customers are experimenting with new brands when grocers are out of stock of their preferred brands. is is especially true for non-food consumables, non-perishable food and perishable items. When it comes to beverages and fresh prepared meals, shoppers continued on page 58

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“CVS has boosted profits by administering some 2 million COVID-19 tests at drive-through locations by July 31 through appointments made on their mobile app.” say they're willing to try new brands even when their preferred brand is in stock.

CVS Gained New Customers With COVID-19 Testing

into the store. Other parts of CVS's business fared much better: the profits of its health benefits management business soared as people put off elective procedures and other medical care because of the pandemic. CVS expects flu shots to be big business, and the company said it would play a leading role in administering COVID-19 vaccines once they are ready.

Wawa To Open First Drive-Thru Only Location Wawa plans to build a 1,840square-foot drive-thru only location in Falls Township, Pennsylvania, the first in the c-store chain’s business, reported LevittownNow.com. e company began construction in August and expects the store to be open in December. Wawa said they plan to spend more than $2 million to develop the first-of-its-kind store. While Wawa recently announced a drive-thru window will be added to an existing store in Westhampton, Burlington County, New Jersey, the Falls Township concept makes the new location only accessible to the public via the drive-thru window. Customers will order their items and staff will bring it to the window. Wawa officials said the new location will also offer curbside pickup.

CVS Health has gained new customers and boosted its profit guidance amid the pandemic, in part by offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing at about 1,800 stores and launching a business-to-business testing service, reported Fortune. e retailer had given about 2 million tests by July 31, 40 percent of them to first-time customers, and most of whom made appointments via the CVS website or mobile app. So far, CVS has lined up 40 clients for its B2B offering and says it sees potential to grow that number to 1,000 or more. e opportunity to bring in new customers through its testing programs is an continued on page 60 important one for CVS—the company reported a 4.6 percent “Wawa said they plan to spend decline in sales of nonprescription drugs online and in-store more than $2 million to develop during its most recent quarter. a drive-thru location in Falls e numbers suggest that CVS Township, Pennsylvania, a customers continue to prefer using the drive-thru to pick up first-of-its-kind store.” prescriptions rather than go 58

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is in discussions with mall-owner Simon Property Group about using some closed J.C. Penney and Sears stores for Amazon fulfillment centers, reported CNBC. Having fulfillment center space closer to customers may help speed up the time it takes to get an order delivered from Amazon. • Budweiser recently unveiled its first zero alcohol brew, Budweiser Zero. Developed and co-founded in partnership with recently retired NBA star Dwyane Wade, this zero-sugar, 50 calorie beverage has the same full-flavored taste customers can expect from Budweiser with zero percent ABV, the company said. • Coca-Cola plans to debut a new Coke with coffee drink in U.S. stores in January to broaden its beverage lineup, reported CNN Business. “Coca-Cola With Coffee” will combine regular Coke with Brazilian coffee and come in three different flavors—Dark Blend, Vanilla and Caramel. • Diageo recently announced that it has created the world’s first ever 100 percent plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky in early 2021. • Kroger’s Quality Food Centers banner is testing mobile contactless payment methods that would allow shoppers to check out using Google Pay, Apple Pay and other banking or payment apps, reported PYMNTS.com. The near-field communication program is being piloted at 61 Kroger stores in Portland, Ore., and in Washington’s Puget Sound area, and could add to the grocer’s current Kroger Pay and Scan, Bag, Go contactless payment options. • San Francisco-based jeans maker Levi’s said it will cut 700 office jobs—or about 15 percent of its worldwide corporate workforce—as it deals with a sharp drop in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic, reported the Associated Press. The company said its second quarter revenue sank 62 percent to $497.5 million. • With more restaurants stepping into the take-out and delivery space during the coronavirus pandemic, restaurant operators are paying more and waiting longer to source continued on page 60

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About 25 workers, including four full-time staff, will man the drive-thru location.

C-Store Industry Honors Hometown Heroes e convenience store industry united to honor local heroes across the country on 24/7 Day, NACS announced in a released statement. Held every July 24, 24/7 Day recognizes first responders, medical personnel and American Red Cross volunteers who work around the clock, 24/7, serving communities to ensure people don’t face emergencies alone. e annual

Dear Friends,

event, hosted by the NACS Foundation, helps raise awareness and donations for the urgent humanitarian needs of the Red Cross and spotlights the convenience store industry’s important role in supporting local heroes in the communities they serve. More than 30,000 convenience and fuel retailer locations participated in the celebration, NACS said. Each participating retailer supported 24/7 Day in its own unique way, including with free instore offers for first responders, medical personnel and Red Cross volunteers on July 24 to thank them for their work in our communities. continued next page

Letter Of Thanks From SAA

We celebrated a milestone at the February vendor meeting. NCASEF and its partners have raised $750,000 for Swim Across America that has funded cancer research. Because of your donations, scientists have developed new cures such as immunotherapy and gene therapy. These cures have given hope and the most precious gift of time to those fighting cancer. While we aren’t able to gather this year, we so appreciate you. Thank you! These times are testing for so many. We believe in the good of humanity. Humanity shines and humanity wins when we go through uncertain times, and we help our neighbors and others. Thank you for believing in our cause. Thank you for supporting us. #MakingWavesToFightCancer,

Rob Butcher, President | CEO Swim Across America 60

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the packaging they need to fulfill food orders, reported Restaurant Hospitality. • Sales of Durex condoms are slumping during the coronavirus pandemic as “intimate occasions” disappear, reported Business Insider. The pandemic has created new barriers around sexual relationships, as people shelter in place and avoid human interaction. • Albertsons, Kroger and Walmart are among the major grocers that have started bottling milk in their own plants, taking advantage of a shopper tendency to buy lowerpriced store brands when choosing many dairy products, reported the Wall Street Journal. Milk is also a draw for supermarkets since many consumers stay to purchase other items. • Wawa recently rolled out plant-based Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches in its stores nationwide, reported Fox News. The Sizzli Breakfast Sandwich features Beyond breakfast sausage, egg and cheese on a bagel. Eaters can also customize orders with Beyond breakfast sausage like breakfast bowls, burritos or bagel sandwiches. • The FTC recently announced it has sent letters warning 30 more marketers nationwide to stop making unsubstantiated claims that their products and therapies can treat or prevent COVID-19. Most of the letters target “treatments” the FTC has warned companies about previously, including intravenous (IV) Vitamin C and D infusions, supposed stem cell therapy, vitamin injections, essential oils, and CBD products. • General Motors Co. is working to install 2,700 electric-vehicle chargers in the U.S., in an effort to boost demand for battery-powered cars and catch up with Tesla Inc.’s commanding lead in the plug-in market, reported the Wall Street Journal. • In Japan, the FamilyMart chain of convenience stores is replacing some of its in-store assistants with robots to stack shelves, reported Digital Trends. The social distancing robots are made by the Japanese robotics company Telexistence. • White Castle plans to test a cooking robot named Flippy in the kitchen of at least one of its restaurants this fall, reported Business Insider. Flippy is built by continued on page 72

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C-Store Sales Stuck In ‘Idle Mode’ Weekly trips and basket spend at U.S. convenience stores held relatively steady during the first two weeks of August, compared with the last two weeks of July as COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily routines in communities across the U.S., reveals the biweekly report from PDI and NACS. For the two-week period ended August 9, there was a marginal decline in dollars, primarily because year-over-year spend edged lower, the report indicates. Trips overall remained steady—down 13.4 percent year-over-year versus down 13.2 percent for the two weeks ended July 26. Weekly basket spend (dollars per transaction) dipped slightly on a year-over-year basis, compared with the prior two-week period (+20.9 percent vs. +21.5 percent for the two weeks ended July 26) aer climbing during the two weeks ended July 12. ere was little shi in trips or spend across the top five c-store categories—cigarettes, packaged beverages, lottery/gaming, beer and other tobacco products (OTP). Beer (+0.9 percent) is the only category among the top five that was in the black during the two-week period. Other categories with positive weekly spend year-over-year include wine (+12.5 percent), liquor (+12.2 percent), general merchandise (+8.7 percent), other dairy/deli products (+0.8 percent) and packaged ice cream/novelties (+0.8 percent).

Coronavirus Leads To Contactless Payments With consumers worried about touching surfaces during the coronavirus pandemic, the use of mobile payments and contactless credit or debit cards has significantly increased in the past few months, according to research by the National Retail

Federation and Forrester. e State of Retail Payments study found 67 percent of retailers surveyed now accept some form of no-touch payment. at includes 58 percent that accept contactless cards that can be waved past a card reader or tapped on the reader, up from 40 percent last year, and 56 percent that take digital wallet payments on mobile phones, up from 44 percent. Many retailers also allow customers to pay online or over the phone and then pick up merchandise in-store or at curbside, avoiding the need to touch card readers, sign for transactions, or enter a PIN. Since January, no-touch payments have increased for 69 percent of retailers surveyed. Among retailers that had implemented contactless payments, 94 percent expect the increase to continue over the next 18 months. As of the time of the survey, 19 percent said no-touch accounted for more than half of their in-store transactions, while 30 percent said it was 10 percent or less.

Pandemic Shortages Drive Shoppers To Other Brands Consumers recently have become more loyal to the brands that are readily available, reported Marketing Dive. When COVID-19 made its way to the U.S., many consumers strayed from normal shopping patterns and began stockpiling products. In time, many retailers—from Walmart to Amazon—had to inform customers that certain household staples were out of stock. But those out-of-stocks may be driving consumers to seek alternative brands, the article states. A McKinsey report found that more than 75 percent of consumers have tried new brands, places to shop or methods of

shopping so far during the pandemic. Product availability was the number one reason consumers sought out new retailers or products in the past couple months, followed by better prices and promotions.

Pandemic Turbocharges Online Sales U.S. e-commerce sales grew more than 30 percent between the first and second quarter of 2020, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, illustrating that the pandemic has pushed more spending online, reported CNBC. Consumers spent $211.5 billion online during the second quarter, up 31.8% percent from the previous quarter. at’s a significant step up from the first quarter, which saw U.S. ecommerce sales of $160.3 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019. E-commerce now accounts for 16.1 percent of all U.S. sales, up from 11.8 percent in the first quarter. e July Census data shows that online shopping has continued to grow among consumers even as many businesses have reopened their doors. Total retail sales continued to decline in the second quarter, shrinking 3.9 percent from the first quarter of 2020, when total retail sales decelerated 1.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data from the Census Bureau. continued on page 67

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Legislative Update CA Retail Groups Rally Against Flavored Tobacco Ban e California Fuels & Convenience Alliance (CFCA), American Petroleum and Convenience Association (APCA), and Neighborhood Market Association who represent the 20,000+ convenience stores statewide recently called upon Governor Newsom, Assembly Speaker Rendon, and the state legislature to table SB 793, the proposed ban on flavored tobacco including menthol cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other products. In a released statement, the group said that at a time when Californians and the state’s economy are reeling from the devastation of COVID-19, “the legislature is still advancing an illconceived policy that will cost the state nearly $1.8 billion in tax revenue over the next “SIMPLY PUT, OUR STATE CANNOT four years while AFFORD TO LOSE BILLIONS MORE, WHILE slashing revTEACHERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS FACE enues at conPAY CUTS AND FURLOUGHS.” venience stores, gas stations, and other essential small businesses that have continued to serve their communities during this turbulent time. Simply put, our state cannot afford to lose billions more, while teach-

ers and first responders face pay cuts and furloughs.” e group added that banning menthol cigarettes—used legally by adults but not preferred by the youth—will not generate any meaningful health outcomes, but will be a disaster for their communities.

Cumberland Farms Drops MA Ballot Question e proposed ballot question to allow more Massachusetts stores to sell beer and wine will not appear on the ballot this fall and its backers will instead work to put the question before voters in 2022, reported WBUR. Cumberland Farms, the convenience store chain that was leading the ballot initiative campaign, said it dropped its effort due to the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on the retail sector and the company's corresponding need to focus more on the health and safety of its workers and customers. e proposed question would have allowed more food stores—like Cumberland Farms, Targets or Walmarts that sell groceries and other similar stores—to sell beer and wine. It also would have required alcohol retailers to adopt specific age-verification measures, and proposed changes related to staffing and funding at the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

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delivery footprint to ensure more customers can access the convenience of delivery and pickup.


stores and within existing stores that can accommodate the equipment, the company said. New menu items that are part of the initiative include lemon poppy seed muffins, chocolate croissants, Halloween cut-out cookies, chocolate bretzels and salted caramel cookies. 7-Eleven said the fresh baked foods will be available for delivery through the 7NOW app.

SEI is offering customers in Utah a contact- 7NOW ALLOWS less way to shop in stores. Accessible through ORDERING AHEAD the 7-Eleven app, Mobile Checkout enables cusAs the world continues to reconfigure tomers to skip the checkout line by shopping everyday life in response to the pandemic, SEI and paying for items using their mobile phones. announced that its proprietary 7NOW delivery SEI said it is using its innovative digiapp has expanded to offer customers tal technology solutions to prothe option to order and pay for vide a safer shopping items ahead of time, offering “Besides Utah, environment for Americans added convenience and minMobile Checkout adapting to a new way of imized time spent in stores. is available in life. Customers can shop, With instant access to participating Dallas, scan and pay with their thousands of items through Manhattan and Long smartphones, facilitating sothe 7NOW app, customers can Island stores.” cial distancing and minimizing place a pickup order on the app time in stores. at a participating neighborhood 7The frictionless shopping experience Eleven store, walk in, bypass the line, and is integrated with the company's award winning retrieve their order during the “order ready” time national 7Rewards loyalty program, where the specified on the app. They can order groceries, program’s 33 million members can earn and re- hot and cold foods, household items, pantry deem points on product purchases and receive needs, over-the-counter medicines, Slurpee and coupons and promotions. Mobile Checkout is Big Gulp drinks, too. SEI said it not only added also available in participating Dallas, Manhattan the new pickup feature, but it is also doubling its and Long Island stores.

FRESH BAKERY PROGRAM SEI plans to roll out a new fresh bakery program in “key markets” that will include new equipment and a new line of fresh baked foods, reported Food Business News. The pilot program is scheduled to begin in parts of Long Island, NY, Florida and Texas. If successful, the program will be featured in all future newly-constructed 64

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SEI DONATES GO!SMART JUICE TO FEEDING AMERICA SEI recently announced its donation of more than $1.2 million in 7-Select Go!Smart Or- “Feeding Amerganic Cold-Pressed Juices ica distributed to Feeding America this approximately summer. That's nearly one 46,000 cases million 11.2-ounce bottles of 7-Select of USDA-certified organic, Go!Smart non-GMO juice, including Organic Coldrefreshing flavors like Pressed juice Blackberry, Melon, and to 21 member Pink Pomegranate. food banks in Part of 7-Eleven’s 13 states.” private brand line of premium better-for-you beverage options, these juices are rich in vitamins and nutrients, have no added sugar, and are not made from concentrate. Feeding America is the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the country. In collaboration with 7Eleven, Feeding America distributed approximately 46,000 cases of 7-Select Go!Smart Organic ColdPressed juice to 21 member food banks in 13 states. This contribution joins SEI's recent gift to Feeding America this summer of one million meals in honor of its 93rd birthday on July 11, 2020.

“Customers can place a pickup order on the app at a participating neighborhood 7-Eleven store, walk in, bypass the line, and retrieve their order during the ‘order ready’ time specified on the app.”

LAREDO TACO COMPANY ADDED TO OKLAHOMA 7-ELEVEN STORES SEI announced that it is opening Laredo Taco continued next page

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Company restaurants in more than 10 of its stores in the Oklahoma City metro area. All restaurants are anticipated to be open by early 2021. Laredo Taco Company is famous for its authentic tacos served on handmade flour tortillas that are made from scratch in on-site kitchens every day. Tacos and meals include specialties not always seen in Mexican fast-food chains, such as authentic barbacoa, chorizo, carne asada, carnitas, breakfast tacos made with freshly cracked eggs, and the newest item on the menu, proteinpacked bowls. Each restaurant also has a salsa bar with a wide selection of freshly prepared salsas and pico de gallo where customers can spice up their meal. Every item on the Laredo Taco Company menu is available in stores or via contactless delivery through Postmates.


tomers can now drop off and pick-up their dry cleaning and laundry anytime—at their convenience. A free personal customer service laundry bag is returned with the first order. To signup for this service, local residents and visitors need only download the Hakuyosha app, or visit the hakuyosha.com website, or simply call (808) 955.6116.

the funds on June 20, reported the Manila Standard. According to the contract addendum for the PSP, it was designed so that franchisees would not be out of pocket on a monthly basis, allowing them to draw down on the program’s credit line as needed. If and when the franchisee’s situation improves, he or she commits to paying down the credit line monthly, at zero interest. Should he or she choose to no longer continue as a franchisee, all outstanding balances from the PSP will be forgiven.

SEI MANAGER HONORED SEI Senior Product Manager of 7NOW Digital Operations Michael Maggiacomo has been honored by Convenience Store News as a one of 20 Future Leaders in Convenience (FLIC), the publication announced. Now in its third year, the goal of the FLIC awards program is to celebrate and help develop the next generation of convenience store industry leaders by recognizing the achievements of a select few emerging leaders, while providing a forum for talented young businesspeople to hone their leadership skills. FLIC award recipients are young convenience retail leaders (aged 35 and under) who are poised to be at the forefront of the industry’s future, and are chosen based on nominations that highlighted their accomplishments and achievements over the past 12 months.

7-Eleven Hawaii recently announced it has partnered with Hakuyosha CLEAN LIVING 7-ELEVEN PHILIPPINES (Hakuyosha International, Inc.) to offer special, SUPPORTS FRANCHISEES 24/7, contact-free dry cleaning and Philippine Seven Corporalaundry services at select 7tion, the exclusive licensor of 7“Busy Eleven Hawaii locations. This Eleven in the Philippines, customers can new service was first introrecently announced their now drop off and duced at two stores, with P711-million Pandemic pick-up their dry cleanplans to expand. Support Program during ing and laundry anytime The company said the first online Franchise via at new, safe and with this new, safe and seTown Hall Meeting in early secure locker cure locker service, busy cusJune, and began disbursing


COCONUT COFFEE RETURNS 7-Eleven customers were able to take their taste buds on a tropical adventure this summer with the return of coconut coffee. Back by popular demand, limited-edition coconut coffee is a sweet, creamy coconutty concoction made with 100 percent Arabica beans. Customers who hadn’t already redeemed their seven free cups were able to try the tropical delight gratis through August 9. Participating 7-Eleven stores were offering seven free any size hot beverages and/or free any size fountain drinks per 7Rewards loyalty member through its 7-Eleven mobile app this summer.

KOREAN 7-ELEVENS USE TECHNOLOGY TO FIGHT COVID-19 Korea Seven, which owns the country's No. 3 convenience store brand 7-Eleven, recently launched a new “signature” concept store with no sales clerks in downtown Seoul in order to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued on page 66

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reported UPI. Customers do self-checkout, scanning item bar codes and paying via credit card. Entrances and exits are checked through MY/MO MOCHI ICE CREAM closed circuit TV and personal data. BALLS COME TO 7-Eleven tried out automated self-service stores in 2017 for the first time 7-ELEVEN in Korea and is now expanding “Korea Just in time for National Seven launched Ice Cream Day on July 19, SEI them amid the pandemic. a new ‘signature’ introduced a delicious new “Based on our 'signature concept store with no way to celebrate a day demodels,' we will offer 24/7 sales clerks in downtown voted to all things ice services. The new stores Seoul in order to meet cream—My/Mo Mochi Ice also will be able to create a the challenges of the Cream balls. A new twonew shopping culture in tanCOVID-19 pack, designed especially for dem with the non-face-to-face pandemic.” the grab-and-go market, consales trend,” Korea Seven CEO tains two individual My/Mo Mochi Choi Kyung-ho said in a statement. premium ice cream balls in fan-favorite flavors, Ripe Strawberry and Sweet Mango, wrapped $1 HOT DOGS ON in sweet, pillowy mochi dough. Suggested retail price is $2.99 per two-pack at participating NATIONAL HOT DOG DAY 7-Eleven stores nationwide. 7-Eleven stores celebrated National Hot Dog Day on July 22, 2020 by offering Quarter Pound Big Bite hot dogs for just $1 through the 7Rewards loyalty program in the 7-Eleven app. The $1 Quarter Pound Big Bite hot dog was available all day and customers were able to create the dog of their dreams with hot chili, melted cheese, onions, sweet relish, diced tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise, sauerkraut, jalapeños, salsa, Mochi first appeared in gourmet grocery pico de gallo, ketchup, and of course, mustard. stores as frozen colorful balls enticing curious National Hot Dog Day dates back to 1991 customers to free-standing mini-freezers in the when the National Hot Dog Day and Sausage grab-and-go area. Today, the mochi ice cream phenomenon is exploding in the U.S. NaCouncil established the event to coincide tional Ice Cream Day has been with a hot dog lunch on Capitol Hill around since 1984, when President that occurs every year on a Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation Wednesday in July. naming July as National Ice Cream Though 7-Eleven has Month and the third Sunday in July as been serving on the go “7-Eleven National Ice Cream Day. July is the hot dogs since the early has been serv- busiest production month of the year 1970s, the Quarter Pound Big ing hot dogs since for ice cream-makers, and Americans Bite hot dog—with its exclusive the early 1970s, love their frozen treats. According to to 7-Eleven all beef recipe— and the Quarter the International Dairy Foods Associjoined the pack in 1988. Pound Big Bite ation, the average American consince 1988.” sumes more than 23 pounds of ice

cream a year.

FOREVER 21’S 7-ELEVEN CLOTHING COLLECTION SEI recently announced that it has teamed with trendy fashion retailer Forever 21 on a limited-time collection that represents “everyone's favorite c-store and its super-chill summer sips—Slurpee and Big Gulp drinks.” After teasing the exclusive 7-Eleven merchandise on social media July 11, or 7-Eleven Day, Forever 21 debuted the #F21X7ELEVEN collection on the Forever 21 app and at forever21.com. SEI said the colorful 16-piece capsule includes multiple ways to make a “Big Gulp” statement with cropped and regular Tees and hoodies, and fleece for fall. The collection features nostalgic renditions of the 7Eleven's most iconic logos on backgrounds of tie-dyed colors, pastels, brights, and whites. Retail prices range from $15 to $35.

SEI & TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL FOUNDATION PROVIDE FREE MEALS SEI recently sponsored the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation's to-go lunch distributions by providing 2,400 bottles of 7-Select water and a $20,000 cash donation to provide food insecurity relief to the Dallas community, reported local news station NBC DFW. The Foundation distributed 200-250 meals each day on Tuesdays and Fridays through September 4. The lunchtime pickup events were held at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy in Dallas. On Tuesdays, the Foundation provided three to four days' worth continued next page


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C-Store Visits Modestly Impacted By New Coronavirus Cases e resilient nature of convenience stores continues to hold true, as consumers turn to the channel time and time again, finds a new report by Koupon. e study finds that the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases has only had a small impact on c-store trips. In the four weeks beginning in midMarch, in-store trips dropped a doubledigit percentage basis. is was a result of a few specific hot spots that emerged in the U.S., and because consumers lacked clear understanding of the disease, they began to severely limit their movement. Trips began growing again in mid-April, while there were only a few thousand cases nationally. For the next 90 days, cases grew steadily while trip growth stayed within a narrow range of 0 percent to 4 percent. Consumers returned to c-stores, settling into new patterns. From late June to late July, COVID-19 cases grew more than 100 percent and retailers saw a net 4 per-

cent decline in in-store trips, demonstrating a modest inverse correlation. e report states that, while COVID-19 certainly was a shock to c-store purchase behavior early in the crisis, the recent dramatic rise in new cases has had an unexceptional impact on trips.

In-Store Merchandise Sales Strong In June NACS CSX data for the month of June extended the upward sales trend throughout the U.S. convenience retail channel, including some of the more non-traditional in-store categories that continue to attract consumers throughout the pandemic and economic downturn, reported NACS Daily News. Merchandise sales performed extremely well in June: per store/per month in-store merchandise sales (excluding cigarettes) increased 13.4 percent, compared with June 2019, while cigarette sales grew 7.4 percent, and beer sales increased 37.1 percent. Ice cream/frozen novelties continued to enjoy a significant sales increase, up

37.8 percent in June compared with June 2019. e following categories also saw a strong year-over-year increase: alternative snacks +57.3 percent; non-edible grocery +48.4 percent; packaged sweet snacks +39.4 percent; and perishable grocery +23.1 percent. Foodservice began showing positive sales growth in June for the first time since February, per CSX data, increasing 2.4 percent in June 2020 compared with June 2019, while commissary continued to be a bright spot for c-store foodservice, up 19.3 percent. Hot dispensed beverage sales and cold and frozen dispensed beverages continued to lag, an indicator of some state and local restrictions on self-serve. Although per store/per month fuel sales were down in June compared with June 2019 (-29.8 percent), gross profit dollars increased 31 percent. is is a stark contrast to per store/per month fuel sales in April, which hit rock bottom at -55.3 percent compared with April 2019.

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of non-perishable food for families to take home. On Fridays, hot meals were served.

'SIPS & SNACKS' ARE BACK SEI announced that it has recently launched Sips & Snacks 2.0—a sequel of its 2019 in-store test which includes a new wave of food and beverages—and Californians get to be first to try them. The company said this year's Sips & Snacks program will stock 200 7-Eleven stores in both the Los Angeles and San Diego metro areas with 84 exclusive items from a list of 25 hand-picked brands.

This special product assortment includes options for power-snackers, restricted diet-followers and anyone looking for ways to incorporate more functional, better-for-you sips and snacks to keep them fueled while onthe-go. The products will be available for purchase on the 7NOW delivery app for customers located in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Customers can also earn and redeem points on their purchase in-store via the 7Rewards loyalty program. The 2020 Sips & Snacks lineup can be found on the 7-Eleven website.

The product selection was curated from hundreds of breakthrough brands hoping to get a foot in the door with the world's largest convenience retailer. More than 750 companies applied to be invited to present their brand at the company's second annual emerging brands showcase last fall, and only 65 were invited to participate in the two-day “show and taste” expo. Held at company headquarters, the sampling event was attended by about 1,000 7Eleven employees and Dallas-area franchisees, who made their way through the “speed-dating” taste test, writing reviews and voting for their favorites.

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Stock Rogue today and get your share of the sales and profits in the rapidly growing modern oral nicotine category.

Monster Energy introduces three new items that will help pump your energy drink sales. Reign Liliko’i Lychee—Introducing Liliko’i Lychee, the newest addition to the Reign Total Body Fuel family. Just one sip will transport you to a tropical island: the perfect medley of sweet and tart, mixed with aromatic floral flavors that will fuel your senses. Packed with 300 mg of natural caffeine, BCAAs, and electrolytes, Liliko’i Lychee provides all you need to focus, boost, hydrate, and recover. Juice Monster Khaotic and Papillon—Monster Energy brings consumers the latest from Juice Monster: Papillon and Khaotic. These two new flavors are bound to be a hit with loyal and emerging Energy consumers. PapilBoost energy drink lon brings a smooth peach-nectarine ofsales with new Reign fering to the Juice Monster family, while Liliko’i Lychee and Juice Monster Khaotic Khaotic is the newest evolution of Juice's and Papillon. electric orange flavor.”

Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls

Tobacco-Leaf Free Rogue Nicotine On Demand

New Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls are refreshing fruit and almond milk smoothies topped with creamy almond butter and crunchy granola. Kind Frozen healthy and delicious Smoothie Bowls have healthy fats from almonds, 9-10 grams of protein, and only 5 grams of added sugar in every bowl. The #1 ingredient in every bowl is a blend of fruits, and they are ready straight from the freezer—just grab a spoon and enjoy. Life moves fast, and so do your customers. Whether its 8 am or 3 pm, it can be hard to find something quick, healthy and substantial enough to fuel them through to the next meal or their day. Stock up Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls are available in three healthy and delicious flavors. and order all three flavors: Almond + Mango Pineapple Passion Fruit; Almond + Triple Berry Açaí; and Almond + Chocolate Banana. Ready to enjoy straight from the freezer.

InComm Delivers Innovative Wireless Payment Solutions InComm is a global leader in payment technologies, creating seamless and valuable commerce experiences wherever payments happen—in store, online or via mobile. Through their robust and long-standing partnerships with over 1,000 popular brands, they give retailers access to the largest and best assortment of gift cards in the industry, including dining, shopping, entertainment and wireless. InComm has been especially innovative in the prepaid wireless space, energizing sales opportunities with new customer-centric payment products. At the forefront is their Instant Top-up technology, which enables consumers to load funds directly to their wireless account by simply providing their mobile number to the cashier. They also offer their PIN Top-up solution, which allows

Swisher International’s Rogue Nicotine on Demand is the only Modern Oral Nicotine (MON) brand to offer a full line-up of tobacco-leaf free and sugar free products to satisfy adult consumers anywhere, anytime. With the demand of tobacco leaf-free products on the rise, Rogue has risen to the challenge, delivering nicotine in forms that are free of smoke, liquid and vapor, that are perfect for travel, offer high quality nicotine satisfaction, and are ideal for professional situations. Satisfy your customers with slow-release lozenges, quick-dissolve tablets, long-lasting gums, and in-demand pouches. All Rogue products are made right here in the USA, providing discreet and readyto-use nicotine products availRogue Nicotine on Demand offers a full line-up of tobacco-leaf free and sugar free products. able when and where you want it.

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New products and services for 7-Eleven Franchisees

Monster Energy Profit-Boosting Products

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consumers to easily top up their devices at checkout with a PIN (Personal Identification Number) printed on the receipt, eliminating the need for a physical card. InComm is continually developing new ways to simplify InComm offers the largest selection of and enhance the payment gift cards and prepaid wireless solutions in the industry. process while helping their retail partners capture greater market share and drive sales. To learn more about InComm’s innovative payment technologies and industryleading product portfolio, visit InComm.com.

Drew Estate Factory Smokes Offer Premium Opportunity Drew Estate Factory Smokes, a Swisher International brand, is your everyday premium cigar, but far from the status quo. Factory Smokes are manufactured at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua, by the same cigar rollers who produce Swisher’s world recognized cigar brands.

Offered in Red Habano and Creamy Smooth Connecticut Shade, these two purposeful blends appeal to cigar lovers from all walks of life. Both cigars come in stay-fresh packaging that does not require a humidor and join Swisher International’s growing offerings of well-known premium cigar brands. Factory Smokes are perfect for sharing with friends, mowing the lawn, or washing the car while being easy on the wallet and smooth on your palate. Since 1996 Drew Estate has been credited with leading dynamic industry-wide change, while creating unparalleled consumer experiences. Under its mantra “The Rebirth of Cigars”, Drew Estate has revolutionized the “boutique cigar” movement and pioneered new and innovative practices within Drew Estate Factory Smokes are premium, handmade, value priced cigars. the tobacco industry. Drew Estate’s unique tobaccos and blending styles have attracted both old and new cigar enthusiasts alike. Drew Estate Factory Smokes are available now. Order via your tobacco program or contact your Swisher representative at 1-800-874-9720. For more information, visit drewestate.com.


● Smirnoff Seltzer Variety 12 pack (SLIN 101211, UPC 82000781424) will have new packaging and great new flavors coming in October. The new Variety pack will have Lemon Lime, Berry Lemonade, Black Cherry, and Orange flavors.

Diageo has introduced two new Zero Sugar Smirnoff Seltzer 12-packs for the Fall:

● Smirnoff Seltzer Red, White & Berry Seasonal 12 pack (SLIN 106002, UPC 82000792574) will become a variety pack for the winter months with four delicious flavors—Peach, Cranberry Lime, Blackberry and Raspberry. The new packs will have 360 degree marketing support and all will have 90 calories and zero sugar. The new Smirnoff Seltzer Variety 12 pack and Smirnoff Seltzer Red, White & Berry Seasonal 12 pack will be available in the Fall.

Airheads Xtremes Belts & Bites ‘Bluest Raspberry’ Building on the long-term success of Airheads Xtremes belts and bites and Airheads Blue Raspberry bars, Perfetti Van Melle put them together to introduce a blast of tangy, sweetly sour flavor in Airheads Xtremes Bluest Raspberry Bites and Airheads Xtremes Bluest Raspberry Belts candies. Both Bluest continued on page 72


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Raspberry items—with a patriotic red, white and blue color combination— give consumers a little extra of what they love from Airheads to satisfy Airheads Xtremes Bluest Raspberry Bites and Airheads Xtremes Bluest Raspberry Belts candies. their sweet, and sour craving in a chewy, soft texture that’s just plain fun to eat anytime, anywhere. Airheads Xtremes Bluest Raspberry Bites and Belts are peanut and tree nut free and ready for any adventure in sharable 6 ounce peg bags (SRP: $2.09) and 2 ounce single serve packs (SRP: $1.09).

Sahale Snacks Sahale Snacks are made with whole ingredients in their natural form—such as cashews, almonds, pecans, and pistachios—and combined with dried fruits and fabulous ingredients like honey, lemongrass, cacao nibs, toasted coconut, or pure ground Madagascar vanilla beans. Sahale Snacks feature unusual, clever combinations of deliciously glazed nuts, fruits, seeds and seasonings, creating layers of flavor and texture like you’ve never experienced before. Whether you prefer a sweet, savory, salty or spicy snack mix, these options have you covered. Check out the sweet 4 ounce Maple Pecan Snack Mix (SLIN #301360) or the savory 4 ounce Pomegranate Flavored Pistachio Snack Sahale Snacks feature clever combinations of glazed nuts, fruits, seeds and seasonings. Mix (SLIN #305061).

New Sales-Enhancing Ritz Cheese Crispers New Ritz Cheese Crispers are delicious, cheesy, crispy, and available at 7-Eleven. These delightfully thin and crispy bites are oven-baked with real, rich cheese. Cheese, a mostcraved flavor with 49 percent of Americans (YPulse, 2019), makes Cheese Crispers a surefire hit with cheese fans. Your customers can try the incredible, 100 percent-cheese taste 100 percent free on September 14. As part of a fully funded P6 promo, shoppers can get 2-ounce Ritz Cheese Crispers bags 2 for $2.22 and get 100 bonus 7Rewards Points. Deliciously craveable Ritz Cheese Crispers are estimated to be about 50 percent incremental to the total cracker category (MDLZ customer Study Survey “Claimed” response Feb/Mar 2020). They’re destined to be the latest taste sensation from Ritz Crackers. With cheddar and four cheese & herb varieties, Ritz Cheese these 2 ounce packs are the road-tripping, afternoonCrispers are estimated to be snacking, salty, cheesy, goodness shoppers are going to about 50 percent incremental to the total cracker category. be looking for. Get them in your store. 72

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Miso Robotics, and can fry food, flip burgers, and more. The White Castle and Miso collaboration has been in the works for a year, but the pandemic sped up the fast-food chain’s push for automation due to delivery demand and a move toward contactless cooking. • The North American ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2 percent between 2020 and 2025, according to the “North America Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Coffee Market — Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020-2025)” report. With the increasing demand for RTD coffee, convenience stores are witnessing a fast growth in the sales of their market. • GasBuddy recently announced its “Pay with Gasbuddy” payments program has surpassed half a billion dollars in fuel transactions since the program started in August 2017. The company said its program has gained popularity over the years with a simple promise to consumers: never pay full price for gas. • CVS is teaming with PayPal and Venmo to add touchfree payments at its pharmacy checkouts, reported Engadget. Customers will scan a QR code in the PayPal or Venmo app and send the correct amount for the transaction, which the cashier will confirm, thus allowing shoppers to securely pay for their items without needing to touch a keypad or sign a receipt. • A collapse in demand for suits and other office attire has forced the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank to file for bankruptcy, reported NPR. Parent company Tailored Brands had been struggling with debt and flagging demand before the coronavirus pandemic, but the temporary store closures and collapse in apparel sales during the health crisis took their toll. • Shoppers’ use of plastic bags in England has continued to fall—by 59 percent in the last year alone—since the introduction of the 5-pence charge, reported The Guardian. Overall, sales of single-use plastic bags have dropped by more than 95 percent in England’s main supermarkets since the charge was introduced in October 2015, government data reveals.



Phone: 207-415-0924

Phone: 847-971-9457

November 10, 2020

October 22, 2020—General Meeting & Golf Social October 29, 2020—Board Meeting November 19, 2020—Board Meeting

COLUMBIA PACIFIC FOA Phone: 503-998-5941 September 17, 2020—General Members Meeting October 29, 2020—Board Meeting



September 17, 2020 October 22, 2020 November 19, 2020

Phone: 619-726-9016 September 15, 2020 October 20, 2020—Meeting & Mini Trade Show November 17, 2020

Phone: 619-713-2411

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOA Phone: 818-357-5985 September 16, 2020 November 18, 2020

SOUTH NEVADA/ LAS VEGAS FOA Phone: 702-561-0311 September 10, 2020—Board Meeting September 17, 2020—General Meeting October 8, 2020—Board Meeting November 12, 2020—Board Meeting November 19, 2020—General Meeting & Elections December 10, 2020—Board Meeting

South Texas FOA Phone: 702-249-3301 September 9, 2020—Board Meeting September 16, 2020—General Meeting October 7, 2020—Board Meeting November 11, 2020—Board Meeting November 18, 2020—General Meeting December 2, 2020—Board Meeting

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foa events Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Trade Show Rosemont Convention Center Rosemont, Illinois September 9, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

San Diego FOA 27th Annual Charity Golf Tournament Carlton Oaks Golf Club Santee, California September 9, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411

San Diego FOA Vendor Appreciation Day Alesmith Brewery San Diego, California October 7, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Golf Social Top Golf Chicago Naperville, Illinois October 8, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

(Venue TBD) December 6, 2020 Phone: 503-998-5941

Midwest FOA Michigan Holiday Party

South Nevada/Las Vegas FOA Table Top Trade Show

(Venue TBD) December 9, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Sierra Gold Las Vegas, Nevada October 15, 2020 Phone: 702-561-0311

Central Florida FOA Christmas Party

Chicagoland FOA Holiday Trade Show Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago North Shore Skokie, Illinois October 28, 2020 Phone: 847-343-7777

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Holiday Party Chicago O'Hare Marriott Chicago, Illinois December 2, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457


Columbia Pacific FOA Holiday Party

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(Venue TBD) December 12, 2020 Phones: 207-415-0924

San Diego FOA Holiday Party Hilton San Diego/Del Mar Del Mar, California December 12, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411


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 262-275-3086 or jrpinc@charter.net.

National Coalition Affiliate Meeting Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Hawaii November 2, 2020



National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Hawaii November 2-4, 2020



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