Avanti May/June 2021

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May/June 2021




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Post Pandemic: Are We Ready? Not All Stores Are Ready To Return To 24/7 Operations More Honey, Less Vinegar All In On Gasoline: Chapter 4 Why Do People Get Hurt? Join Us For The 45th NCASEF Convention & Trade Show! Talk With Other Franchisees On The Free Telegram App Page 12

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Kissimmee, Florida August 1-4, 2021



May/June 2021

Contents 25 Not All Stores Are Ready To Return To 24/7 Operations By Jay Singh, NCASEF Chairman

29 More Honey, Less Vinegar By Michael Jorgensen, NCASEF Executive Vice Chairman

Join Us For The 45th NCASEF Convention & Trade Show! Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Kissimmee, Florida August 1-4, 2021 Page 14

33 All In On Gasoline: Chapter 4 7-Eleven Closes The Speedway Deal


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

Page 20



39 Why Do People Get Hurt? TM

By John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering

Special Features 16 To All My Franchisee Friends: It’s Been Wild And Fun By Sheldon Smith, Avanti Editor and Publisher



Consultant, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group

Member News.........................10 Bits & Pieces.............................14 Legislative Update...............22 Join Your Local FOA.......47 SEI News.........54

Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App Page 12

Vendor Focus..................59 Franchisee Calendar....62

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 215 750-0178 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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Speedway Acquisition Completed Amid Controversy SEI recently announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Speedway, a leading convenience store chain, from Marathon Petroleum Corp. Speedway’s portfolio includes approximately 3,800 stores located in 36 states across the U.S. SEI said this acquisition accelerates its growth trajectory while also strengthening the company’s financial profile for continued success. e addition of Speedway brings 7-Eleven’s total North American portfolio to approximately 14,000 stores and diversifies 7-Eleven’s presence to 47 of the 50 most populated metro areas in the U.S., as well as expands its company-operated store footprint. e company said the acquisition “combines the best of 7Eleven’s premier convenience brand with Speedway’s convenience and fuel brands that will create innovative and world-class experiences for our customers.” Shortly aer SEI announced the closing of the deal, two members of the Federal Trade Commission issued a statement

saying they believe the transaction is “illegal under Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, raising significant competitive concerns in hundreds of local retail gasoline and diesel fuel markets across the country.” In response, SEI said it was disappointed by the statement and emphasized that it was allowed to close on the Speedway transaction. e company said it and the FTC staff “entered into a timing agreement permitting 7-Eleven to close on May 14th and a settlement agreement at the end of April that resolved all of the competitive concerns that the Commissioners reference in their statement by having 7-Eleven divest 293 fuel outlets.” SEI added that it has been operating under the terms of that settlement agreement since it was signed and continues to do so.


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

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com


210-971-9211 • shawnh@ncasef.com

SEI To Sell 293 Speedway & 7-Eleven Stores

Eric H. Karp, Esq.

SEI recently announced that it has signed definitive agreements to sell 293 Speedway and 7-Eleven stores to three separate buyers. is follows the completion of 7-Eleven's acquisition of Speedway from Marathon Petroleum Corp. on May 14, 2021. On March 15, 2021, the company signed a definitive agreement to sell 124 Speedway and 7-Eleven sites in the Midwest, Northeast, Florida and Utah to Anabi Oil, a family-owned and

John Riggio

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617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com


262-394-5518 • johnr@jrplanners.com


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


The National Coalition Office The strength of an independent trade association lies in its ability to promote, protect and advance the best interests of its members, something no single member or advisory group can achieve. The independent trade association can create a better understanding between its members and those with whom it deals. National Coalition offices are located in Universal City, Texas. 10

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

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

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“SEI has signed definitive agreements to sell 293 Speedway and 7-Eleven stores to three separate buyers.” operated business based in Upland, California. On March 17, 2021, SEI signed a definitive agreement to sell 63 Speedway sites in California, Arizona and Nevada to Jacksons Food Stores, a nationally recognized chain based in Meridian, Idaho. On April 28, 2021 SEI signed a definitive agreement to sell 106 Speedway and 7-Eleven sites located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to CrossAmerica Partners LP, a publicly traded limited partnership headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

SEI Launches New TV Campaign 7-Eleven Inc. is rolling out its biggest television advertising push in years as part of a marketing campaign to counter increasing competition from all sides and to gain a new look from shoppers, reported the Wall Street Journal. e company plans to spend more than $70 million this year on the campaign, more than doubling its marketing spending last year. e TV commercials, which were directed by “Spring Breakers” director Harmony Korine, depict its customers as an eclectic group, including a rollerskating performer who makes good use of the parking lot, lowrider bike enthusiasts who circle the gas pumps and a band that orders 7-Eleven food and drinks delivered 12

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to its garage. e campaign is themed “Take It To Eleven.”

Activist Investor Pushes Seven & I To Restructure Activist investor ValueAct Capital has amassed a $1.53 billion stake in Seven & i Holdings and is pushing the Japanese owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain to consider changes, including a potential break-up, reported Reuters. ValueAct told its investors recently in a letter seen by Reuters that it built a 4.4 percent stake in Seven & i and believes that the sum of its parts is worth much more than its current market value. e hedge fund said the 7-Eleven business could be worth more than double what its parent is currently valued at if the company restructures itself to focus on the convenience stores or if 7-Eleven is spun out. 7-Eleven’s convenience stores are a consistent, high-return business, while Seven & i’s other retail and financial assets, such as real estate have not been contributing to cash flow of late even though they are backed by valuable assets, the investment firm noted. Shares of Seven & i Holdings surged to a two-year high shortly aer Reuters reported ValueAct took a stake in the company. Seven & i shares gained as much as 7.4 percent before closing up 5.0 percent compared to the broader Nikkei stock average's 2.5 percent fall. Aer these gains, the company had a market value of about $39 billion, making ValueAct's stake worth about $1.7 billion.

In-Store Sales Grew During 2020 Total convenience store industry inside sales increased 1.5 percent to a record $255.6 billion in 2020

as customers frequented their local convenience stores to fulfill daily shopping needs, newly released NACS State of the Industry data indicate. While total transactions declined 13.9 percent for the year, continued on page 14

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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Join Us At The National Coalition’s 45th Annual Convention & Trade Show Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Kissimmee, Florida

| August 1-4, 2021

You are cordially invited to the NCASEF 45th Annual Convention and Trade Show! This year’s event will be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, located in Orlando, Florida— just minutes away from plenty of fun and entertaining places to make this the perfect family getaway. Among the exciting events planned are a car giveaway and a day trip and dinner to the Kennedy Space Center! Franchisee registration is now open at www.ncasef.com. Just click on the link in the left column “Franchisee Registration.” As in past years, the NCASEF will be subsidizing the franchisee hotel room rate. On the hotel site you will be quoted a $179 rate. The NCASEF will be paying $60 dollars per night for any of the four convention nights, to affectively bring your rate down to $119 per night (discount will be shown on final hotel bill). Register early as the rooming deadline is July 7. The NCASEF will make every effort to keep rooms available until that date, but as always they are on a first come first served basis. Franchisee convention registration deadline is July 14.

We look forward to seeing all of you in Orlando!

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percent of the in-store gross profit dollar sales mix in 2019 to 34.5 percent due to pandemic restrictions and protocol adjustments. Prepared food sales declined 7.4 percent in 2020, and as expected, the pandemic had a huge impact on self-serve beverages. Hot dispensed sales fell 33.4 percent, and cold dispensed beverages declined 7.9 percent, reflecting the drop in footfall amid stay-at-home orders and work-from-home schedules. Commissary, the only foodservice category that generated sales “Total convenience store industry growth during the second inside sales increased 1.5 percent to a quarter of 2020, ended the record $255.6 billion in 2020, NACS year with a 13.3 percent sales contribution. State of the Industry data indicate.”

basket sizes increased 18.4 percent compared with 2019. e average basket size was $7.34 in 2020 vs. $6.20 in 2019. Deep declines in transactions counts, particularly in April 2020, were mitigated with an upswing throughout the remainder of the year, particularly the fourth quarter when transaction counts approached those of previous years. e broad category of foodservice took a hit in 2020, however, dropping from 38.9

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The pandemic resulted in the permanent closure of roughly 800,000 U.S. businesses during the first year of the viral outbreak, reported the Wall Street Journal. In recent years, about 600,000 businesses have permanently closed per year, or about 8.5 percent, according to a study by economists at the Federal Reserve. • A Mega Millions jackpot winning ticket worth $516 million was sold by a 7Eleven store in Levittown, Pennsylvania, reported LevittownNow.com. The ticket was for the May 21 drawing and the winner has not come forward to claim the prize, which is either an annuity valued at $516 million or $349.3 million cash. The operators of the 7-Eleven will receive a $100,000 prize. • New York and Maryland recently announced lottery promotions tied to receiving COVID-19 vaccines, reported CBS News. New York rolled out the “Vax and Scratch” program, which awarded New York Lottery tickets with prizes of up to $5 million to those who got vaccinated May 24 to May 28. Maryland announced a “$2 million Vax Cash promotion” that lasted from May 25 through July 4. • Ohio recently saw an increase in the number of its residents getting vaccinated against COVID-19 after the state’s governor announced a $5 million vaccination lottery, reported NBC News. Under the program, Ohioans 18 and older who have already received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine could enter to win one of five $1 million prizes. • A recent poll by Survey Monkey found that 86 percent of adults in the U.S. want to buy groceries themselves at the store, reported Grocery Dive. Meanwhile, ecommerce split the remaining respondents, with 7 percent saying they prefer pickup, while the other 7 percent favor delivery for their groceries. • Amazon is expanding its Amazon One palm-scanning payment technology to Whole Foods, starting with a single store in Seattle, reported The Verge. The company has continued on page 26

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To All My Franchisee Friends: It’s Been Wild And Fun By Sheldon Smith, Avanti Editor and Publisher

to have a different job to do, and most After 25 years covering franchisee issues at the helm of filled those shoes with dignity and Avanti, I am retiring. At 67 my back is too old, my eyesight is waning, and I’m more interested in keeping up with my grand- aplomb. As with NCASEF Board members, daughter than with all the young professionals and the trickedfrom the beginning I alout social media that is marketing today. ways found franchisees I’ve attended 25 NCASEF conventions to be engaging, highly and trade shows, over 100 Board meetings, intelligent (it takes a lot and met probably several thousand franof moxy to run a store), chisees beginning in 1995, when one good Our biggest issue, a very hard workers, and store meant two family incomes or sup112-page behemouth for welcoming. It takes a ported a storeowner and a manager. Times 7-Eleven’s Anniversary special kind of person to have changed, and so has the c-store indusCelebration in 2002. deal with employees and try and 7-Eleven. It’s time for me to do somethe public (much less SEI) on such an intimate thing different. basis. It has been a pleasure to work with such a After a quarter century of working on begreat group of people for so long. I shall miss half of franchisees on Avanti, the website, and you all. the convention, I would like to turn Avanti Franchisees will always face an uphill battle over to someone on an upward career path, With my old buddy, Joe Saraceno, with 7-Eleven, as we have not seen a less reanxious to do the work, and who can continue former NCASEF Chairman, in 2002. strictive contract since the buyout of SEI by to support the National Coalition with social Seven-Eleven Japan in 1991. For this reason media, an electronic Avanti, and continued defranchisees need and deserve advocacy. The velopment of the National Coalition website. NCASEF leadership of today is representing Before setting off into the sunset, however, franchisees to the best of their ability, followI did want to say thank you and goodbye to all ing the direction of the Board. I encourage my friends and colleagues at the NCASEF. you all to support your franchisee leadership, Thank you for the business, thank you for aland wish you the best of luck. lowing me to be employed, thank you for Now I’m looking forward to stepping back and enjoying feeding my family, and thank you for giving me the memories and experiences that my family and some other interests. This will be my last issue. will stay with me for a lifetime. Most of all, I am working with Chairman Jay Singh and Executive Vice thanks for the friendship, the camaraderie, Chairman Michael Jorgensen to support the magazine through a transition process. and the opportunity to be of service. I hope everyone finds success in their businesses, and I worked for six chairmen starting if you have time, please keep in touch. I would be glad to in December, 1995—Ted Poggi, Tariq hear from you. Khan, Dennis Lane, Bruce Maples, Joe Galea, and Jay Singh—and I never en—Sheldon Smith countered a chairman who didn’t deAvanti Editor and Publisher, 1995-2021 My first issue, serve to be there, each elected as the sheldon.smith5@verizon.net January/February 1995. right man for the times. Each seemed 267-994-1781 (cell)

Retirement is “ never having to say ‘I need time off.’ ”


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Other in-store growth came from alcohol and tobacco product sales, which saw an uptick in April 2020 that continued throughout the year. Beer experienced unprecedented growth because of onpremise restrictions at bars and restaurants, limited personal travel and demand for larger pack sizes. e cigarette category saw a pandemic sales boost as consumers shied to a “stock-up” mentality, representing 27.8 percent of in-store sales in 2020, an increase of nearly 1 percentage point (0.93 pts) from 2019. Total industry fuel sales in 2020 declined 26.1 percent to $292.6 billion, compared with $395.9 billion in 2019. is decline was from both a 16.2 percent decrease in fuel prices (from $2.59 in 2019 to $2.17 in 2020) and a decrease


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in volumes. Per store/per month fuel gallons sold declined 12.4 percent to 161,807 gallons per store/month.

Employers Can Require COVID-19 Vaccination U.S. companies can mandate that employees in a workplace must be vaccinated against COVID-19, reported Reuters. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in a statement posted on its website explaining its updated guidance, said employees can be required to be vaccinated as long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws. In addi-

“Many employers now require that new hires be vaccinated against COVID-19.” tion, employers may offer incentives to workers to be vaccinated, as long as they are not coercive, it said. The vast majority of employers have been reluctant to require workers to be vaccinated, according to the article. A survey by management-side law firm Fisher Phillips earlier this year found that only 9 percent of the more than 700 employers surveyed said they were considering mandating vaccines. continued next page

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Sheetz Now Accepting Bitcoin Sheetz recently announced it will be enabling digital currency payments via Flexa, the leading pure-digital payments network, to provide customers with the ability to pay for items inside the store or fill up their cars at the pump using digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and more. Sheetz said it will begin accepting digital currencies at select stores later this summer with a planned roll out later in the year for acceptance at Sheetz's fuel pumps as well. Sheetz currently operates 622 stores in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. Sheetz

“Sheetz is the first convenience store chain to accept Bitcoin and other digital currencies in-store and at the pump.” customers will also have the option to link their My Sheetz Rewardz loyalty account when paying with Flexa-enabled apps. To seamlessly enable Flexa's instant, fraud-proof authorization process for digital currency payments, Sheetz said it turned to its relationship with NCR, its point-of-sale technology partner. e company added that this “groundbreaking partnership with NCR and Flexa marks the first time digital currencies

have been accepted for convenience purchases, and greatly expands the utility of digital currencies for everyday spending.

MPC Calls On Fed To Cut Debit Card Swipe Fee Rate e Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) recently called on the Federal Reserve to revise debit card swipe fee regulations adopted a decade ago, citing a new Fed report showing banks’ average cost of processing the transactions has fallen by half. e group represents retailers, supermarkets, convenience stores, gasoline stations, online merchants and others fighting for a more competitive and transparent card system. continued on page 20

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Debit reform law passed by Congress in 2010 directed the Fed to adopt regulations requiring that the swipe fees banks charge merchants to process debit card transactions be “reasonable” and also “proportional” to banks’ costs. e regulations, which took effect in 2011 allow fees up to 21 cents per transaction plus

an extra 1 cent for fraud prevention and 0.05 percent of the transaction amount for fraud loss recovery. A Fed survey found banks’ average cost of processing debit transactions was about 8 cents as of 2009, the MPC explained. e group stated that the cost


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“Two trade groups recently filed a lawsuit to get the Federal Reserve to lower its 10-year-old cap on debit card swipe fees.”


Your National Coalition is Committed to Franchisee Interests

Franchisees Press For PenaltyFree Relief From 24-hour Mandate

Franchise Owners Association, a longtime franchisees of significant shortages in member of the National Coalition. the supply chain it controls because many of its vendors are also facing a According to General Counsel Eric 7-Eleven franchise owners recently critical shortage of employees. SEI’s H. Karp, “In exchange for permade another public plea to SEI to reconparent company reported that mission to close overnight, the sider the mandate that all stores return to the merchandise gross margin company is requiring fran24-hour operations. In a press release of all U.S. stores in 2020 was chisees hand over a greater pordated May 3, 2021, the NCASEF cited a its lowest in at least 15 years, tion of their gross profits. What crippling labor shortage, higher meaning franchisees are re7-Eleven refers to as an ‘apoperating costs, lower gross ceiving a smaller and smaller propriate adjustment’ to the “Many margin and lower net piece of a shrinking pie, said Karp. gross profit split amounts franchisees are profit as reasons why to an improper penalty With the arrival of summer and fewer unable to fill open franchisees should be imposed on franchisees coronavirus mandates, more customers will shifts, forcing them to man granted a waiver from based on circumstances be coming into 7-Eleven stores and other the register overnight returning to overnight well beyond their conretailers. The National Coalition says its after managing the operations. trol.” franchisees always want to offer excellent business during The company has not service and keep up with the company’s Karp pointed out the the day.” responded to the National new initiatives, like fresh food, but are NCASEF has repeatedly atCoalition’s request that it recstruggling without reliable, trained associtempted to highlight SEI’s unfair ognize the extremely challenging ates in place. Franchisees face the prospect and opportunistic practices in press releases situation thousands of franchise owners of reducing their already shrinking profits and media reports. are facing. Many are unable to fill open to support higher labor costs—even as Across the service industry, shifts, forcing them to man the register their store-level operating exbusiness owners are finding overnight after managing the business penses are increasing. an historic shortage of “Franchisees during the day. “We hope the Federal employees. One of 7face the prospect of “The situation is not only unsafe, but Trade Commission is Eleven’s principal comreducing their already also unsustainable,” said NCASEF Executaking note of the petitors, Wawa, shrinking profits to support tive Vice Chairman Michael Jorgensen. heavy-handed way SEI recently announced it higher labor costs—even “At the same time, 7-Eleven is closing is handling this situaneeds to hire 5,000 as their store-level operatsome corporate stores between 5:00 p.m. tion with its franchise more employees. The ing expenses are inand 8:00 a.m. 7-Eleven is effectively sayowners as part of its recompany has quietly been creasing.” ing, ‘Do as we say, not as we do,’” said Bilal view of the Franchise limiting hours and closing Barqawi, president of the Delaware Valley Rule, ” Jorgensen said. stores. SEI has even notified


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has steadily fallen in new surveys conducted every two years since then and stood at 3.9 cents as of 2019, according to the latest survey. at means the 21-cent figure has doubled from about 2.6 times banks’ cost to 5.4 times the cost. Additionally, the Fed survey shows merchants are shouldering a greater portion of fraud, further evidence that the fraud adjustments are outdated and should be removed completely, the MPC said.

Trade Groups Sue Federal Reserve Over Swipe Fees Two trade groups representing businesses in North Dakota recently filed a lawsuit against the Federal Reserve, asking the agency to lower its 10-year-old cap on swipe fees banks charge to process debit card transactions, reported the Associated Press. e lawsuit, filed by the North Dakota Retail Association and the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association in U.S. District Court in Bismarck, argues that the agency failed to follow instructions outlined by federal law and said it should abandon the rule that caps those fees at 21 cents for cards from the largest U.S. banks. e suit comes as the popularity of debit cards has surged, and retailers have paid billions of dollars more than Congress intended while banks' costs have dropped. e lawsuit argues the cap is higher than allowed under the Durbin Amendment, a law passed by Congress in 2010 to address soaring swipe fees set by Visa and Mastercard and lack of competition among the card-issuing banks that receive the fees. e amendment set a standard for interchange fees that was supposed to be reasonable and proportional to the cost incurred by the issuer regarding the transaction, the lawsuit said. “ose fees have become a lush profit center for issuers— contrary to Congress’s express instructions in 2010," the lawsuit contends.

New Hires Required To Get Vaccinated As the U.S. job market heats up, many employers now require that candidates be vaccinated—or be willing to get their COVID-19 shot within 30 days of hire, reported the Wall Street Journal. ese mandates are in their early stages, making it tough to determine how many U.S. employers now require vaccines, the article states. Companies largely have been reluctant to require shots, at first because vaccines were scarce, and more recently because bosses feared blowback from their employees, employment attorneys and human resources, executives said. However, the latest federal data show that half of American adults have had at least one shot, and vaccines are now open to all adults in the U.S. at’s made some employers feel more comfortable putting requirements in place.

7-Eleven & Kellogg Company Team Up To Help Food Banks SEI and Kellogg Company recently unveiled the World’s Largest Box of Toaster Pastries filled with Pop-Tarts in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven Store Support Center in Dallas, setting a new Guinness World Record. e box, filled with 1,331 lbs. of individual packages of toaster pastries, was donated directly to the North

Texas Food Bank (NTFB) Feeding Network, a Feeding America member food bank, the companies announced. Kellogg also supported a 7-Eleven Feeding America campaign by donating 10-cents for every participating cereal or snack purchased at 7-Eleven stores between April 14-20. As a result of the promotion, Kellogg also presented a $10,000 check to help provide critical nourishment to the North Texas communities that were impacted by February’s severe winter storm and those continuing to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the equivalent of more than 34,000 meals were donated to North Texas Food Bank, according to the press release.

SEJ Selects Google Cloud To Advance Data Cloud Strategy Seven-Eleven Japan announced it is advancing its digital transformation strategy with Seven Central, its data cloud platform built on Google Cloud that consolidates and analyzes data from its 21,000 stores across the country to drive real-time business decision making. At its core, Seven Central's purpose is to enable real-time data views to enable faster business decision making. It brings siloed point of sale (POS) data from Seven-Eleven Japan stores nationwide onto one centralized location in the cloud, and uses Google Cloud's smart data analytics solutions like BigQuery to analyze data at petabyte scale and API management platform, Apigee, which provides a single unified API for all of its data cloud. By leveraging

“SEI and Kellogg Company have set a new Guinness World Record with the Largest Box of Toaster Pastries filled with Pop-Tarts.”

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Legislative Update Democrats Introduce Bill To Hike Federal Tobacco Tax A group of Senate and House Democrats led by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin recently introduced the Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021, which would apply tax parity across all tobacco products, including establishing the first federal e-cigarette tax and increasing the tobacco tax rate for the first time in a decade, reported RiverBender.com. e lawmakers said the measure will also help reduce youth tobacco use by closing loopholes in the tax code that have long been exploited by the tobacco industry to avoid regulation and taxes for their products. Specifically, the bill would close tax code loopholes for tobacco products by increas“A group of ing the federal tax rate on cigarettes, pegSenate and House Democrats have ging it to inflation to ensure it remains an introduced a bill effective public health tool, and setting the that would federal tax rate for all other tobacco prodestablish the first ucts at this same level. While e-cigarettes federal e-cigarette are the most commonly used tobacco tax and increase the product among youth, and are now subject tobacco tax rate.” to the full regulatory framework of the FDA’s Premarket Tobacco Product Applications, they are not subject to federal taxes. e Tobacco Tax Equity Act would follow the lead of 21 states and Washington, DC that have set their own state taxes, by setting a federal tax on these tobacco products.

FDA Proposes Ban On Menthol Cigarettes e Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will propose a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes, which would be a huge blow to future tobacco sales, reported CNBC. Menthol is the last allowable flavor for cigarettes. According to the FDA, menthol cigarettes have been disproportionately used by youth, people of color and low-income communities. e vast majority of Black smokers favor menthol cigarette brands, and Black men currently have the highest rates of lung cancer in the country. Menthol cigarettes make up about a third of all cigarettes sold in the U.S.

If implemented, the proposal would “THE FDA RECENTLY be a huge win for anti-tobacco advo- ANNOUNCED IT WILL cates who have long seen flavored PROPOSE A BAN ON cigarettes as a way for consumers to be introduced to smoking. However, MENTHOL-FLAVORED CIGARETTES.” one analyst said this proposal would take years to reach a conclusion as there would need to be sufficient evidence from both sides, which could be difficult.

Maine Considers Banning All Flavored Tobacco Products Members of the Maine Legislature's Committee on Health and Human Services recently introduced a bill that would ban the sale of all tobacco-flavored products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored chewing tobacco, cigars and electronic cigarettes in the state, reported MSN.com. e bill drew support from other lawmakers on the committee, public health advocates, and young adults who spoke from their own experiences with nicotine addiction. e New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association said under the current language of the bill, adults who use flavored tobacco products responsibility would be impacted. e association added that the menthol cigarette industry in Maine is worth $120 million and that revenue would be lost if the bill is passed. Others who argued against the bill asked the Committee to look at what has happened in Massachusetts since it passed a similar ban on flavored tobacco products last June—residents are just driving to New Hampshire or Rhode Island to buy their products and the state is losing out on revenue.

Olympia, WA Approves ‘Hazard Pay’ For Grocery Workers Large grocery stores in Olympia, Washington are now required to pay workers an additional $4 an hour in hazard pay, the latest city in the state to enact such a requirement during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reported the Associated Press. e Olympia City Council unanimously passed the ordinance in April. e hazard pay requirement kicked in on May 1, and lasts as long as Washington is under a state of emergency as declared by the governor, with the opportunity to revisit the policy in four months. It applies to grocery stores with more than 250 continued next page


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Legislative Update sweeping pandemic relief package unveiled by Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. e ordinance would ban sales of packaged liquor products between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. every day except Sunday, when they’d start at 8 a.m. e proposal would effectively bring an end to the days of liquor stores remaining open into the early morning hours, though sales would begin several hours earlier on Sundays. At a news conference aer the City Council meeting where the ordinance was introduced, Lightfoot said there’s “room for discussion” about the proposal “A new Chicago ordinance but raised concerns about “quality of would ban sales of alcoholic life issues that sometimes creep up beverages in convenience and around these businesses,” pointing to

employees. Farmers markets and convenience stores are excluded from the requirement, and an amendment approved by council also excludes truck drivers and corporate office staff. Seattle passed a similar ordinance in January, and the cities of Burien and Edmonds have also required hazard pay for grocery workers. e vote followed months of advocacy from grocery workers and unions. Grocery chains initially offered hazard pay at the beginning of the pandemic, but eventually revoked it.

Chicago Lawmakers Propose Curfew On Retail Booze Sales Chicago convenience and grocery stores would have to stop selling alcoholic beverages at 10 p.m. under a permanent curfew included in a

grocery stores after 10 p.m.”

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Not All Stores Are Ready To Return To 24/7 Operations BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF, PRESIDENT, SAN ANTONIO FOA

As we all know, 7-Eleven has been a home than working, so many have opted 24/7 operation for nearly six decades. to remain unemployed. Needless to say, Every single franchisee has signed an they have zero incentive to return to work agreement with SEI to keep their store or to seek new employment until this open around the clock, except in cases extra stimulus expires on September 6. where local ordinances prohibit it. Our brand is known for that. Even through natural disasters like hurricanes and severe winter storms, most of our stores have remained open to serve our communities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a huge challenge to our modus operandi. In the beginning of the pandemic, when very little was known about the new coronavirus, lockdowns were instituted throughout the country to help curb the spread of the disease. “For many stores the overnight hours remain Only businesses conpractically unprofitable, and it makes little sense sidered essential—like for them to remain open during that time.” convenience stores, supermarkets, food The labor shortage exacerbated by manufacturers, banks, and healthcare providers, to name a few—were allowed the pandemic has made it very difficult to remain open. But panic quickly set in for many franchisees to keep their stores and many small business owners, espe- open 24/7. Franchisees in some big cities cially 7-Eleven franchisees, soon found like New York had to close their stores themselves short-staffed as employees entirely in the early weeks of the outbreak because they could not find emquit out of fear of getting inflected. The situation was compounded ployees at all, even for their day hours. when the federal government began sup- But the shift franchisees are having the plementing regular state unemployment most difficulty filling is the overnight. benefits with an extra $600 per week, now Even during the best of times, it is a chaldown to $300. People then quickly real- lenge to find people willing to work the ized they could earn more money staying overnight hours, and the pandemic has made this problem far, far worse. “The labor shortage exacerbated Early in the pandemic, by the pandemic has made it very the National Coalition created a template letter that frandifficult for many franchisees to chisees could give their markeep their stores open 24/7.” ket managers or zone leaders

to request permission to close their stores overnight by invoking the force majeure clause in our contract, since this pandemic was far beyond our control or anyone else’s. Franchisees asked for this permission not only because of the employee shortage, but also because the overnight hours were not very profitable due to the pandemic. And this is still the case. For many stores, the overnight hours remain practically unprofitable, and it makes little sense for them to remain open during that time. SEI has complied with the requests, for the most part. The company has even offered to help franchisees find staff for their stores. They tried their best to provide candidates, but many of them turn out to be applicants who just want to show the unemployment department that they applied for a job so they can continue receiving their unemployment checks. So it is still very hard to find employees. Through continued on page 26

Here is a photograph of the front door of a corporate store taken in May of 2021 which had to restrict its hours to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. AVANTI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 1


Not All Stores Are Ready continued from page 25 local sourcing, through local groups, window signs, through SEI’s Highlight program via the ISP … nothing helps to find employees, especially for our overnight shift. This has created two situations wherein franchisees are finding themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. One, in order to receive permission to close overnight SEI is requiring franchisees to pay them a greater portion of the gross profits. This is not fair to franchisees because SEI has created a formula that punishes them in this instance. By this I mean that the percentage imposed is disproportionate to the sales of the store, since the overnight sales are very low. Even the company’s own sales statements show that the overnight sales are the lowest they have been in the past 15 years. Two, many franchisees find they cannot reopen during the overnight hours when mandated by SEI to do so because they are still understaffed. In these cases, the company is issuing breaches and LONs, stating that the franchisee is violating the terms of the Agreement. I find this to be very curious, especially considering that many corporate stores remain closed between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., or 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. because they cannot find employees for their overnight shifts. So if they are remaining closed, why should it

“Through local sourcing, through local groups, window signs, through SEI’s Highlight program via the ISP…nothing helps to find employees, especially for our overnight shift.” be mandatory for franchisees to go back to 24/7 operations? Therefore, the National Coalition is asking SEI to reconsider their mandate that all franchised stores return to 24/7 operation until our staffing situation eases. We are also asking the company to stop punishing those franchisees that have no other choice but to remain closed overnight, with LONs and breaches. We further ask SEI to consider adjusting the CDC and McLane delivery times so all deliveries arrive after 5 a.m. and before 11 p.m. so stores that need could close overnight. Franchisees are suffering. They are either putting in many hours themselves at their stores, or they are closing overnight and being penalized. The pandemic and staffing problems are not our fault, and we should not be treated as if they are.


“The National Coalition is asking SEI to reconsider their mandate that all franchised stores return to 24/7 operation until our staffing situation eases.”

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.


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

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been using Amazon One in its branded stores in the Seattle area, but the Whole Foods rollout will make the most substantial expansion of the technology yet. • Walmart is making more of its workforce full time and said 66 percent of its U.S. store hourly jobs will be full time—up from 53 percent five years ago—by January 31, reported the Associated Press. The move is in response to improved worker retention, as well as the lower need for staffing at odd hours due to higher at-home deliveries. • Convenience store chain Circle K recently launched a beverage subscription program called Sip & Save that allows U.S. customers who pay $5.99 per month to have one tea, coffee, Froster slushy or Polar Pop fountain drink of their choosing every day, reported CNBC. • A new study by AIB International reveals that 78 percent of senior level North American food and beverage executives are actively preparing for a future global pandemic, with 30 percent expecting another one within the next four years and 50 percent expecting one within the next decade. • 7-Eleven Taiwan is aiming to end the use of single-use plastics across its operations by 2050, reported Packaging Gateway. The retailer plans to achieve this by reducing its single-use plastics usage by 10 percent a year. • Swisher recently announced that it has appointed Zack Crafton as Vice President, Corporate Innovation. In this position, Zack will be working to diversify Swisher’s products and brands, the company said. • Anheuser-Busch said if the White House reaches its goal of getting 70 percent of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4, it will give away a complimentary beer to adults over 21, reported USA Today. • Crocs have grown popular during the pandemic as consumers turned to comfort over fashion and made the foam footwear stylish again, reported the Washington Post. Sales at the company grew more than 60 percent in the last quarter, and many new fans said they don't plan to give up their Crocs in favor of more traditional footwear. • The multi-state Powerball lottery game will increase the number of nightly drawings from two to three times a week starting continued on page 40


The past year and a half has been challenging for 7-Eleven franchisees, to say the least. One of our biggest hardships has been finding employees willing to work in our stores. This labor shortage is affecting businesses large and small throughout the country. Thanks to very generous unemployment benefits, many people are not willing to go back to work just yet and because of this, many franchisees have had to work extra shifts at their stores. Although SEI has allowed stores to close overnight in many instances, and has tools available to help us find employees, the company is also rolling out new programs at a time when we’re already low on personnel. To top it off, SEI is now requiring all franchised stores to return to 24-hour operation. Franchisees are overwhelmed. We need more support and patience from our franchisor, not more punitive actions. We want SEI to understand the burden that they have put on franchisees with the implementation of all these new programs that, while in the long run may be beneficial, are creating a tremendous amount of confusion and additional workload at a time when franchisees are struggling with staffing issues. And if SEI wants our stores to return to 24-hour operation, then incentivize us, don’t penalize us. One of the new programs SEI has released amid the pandemic is Accounting System Improvement 2 (ASI2), which we are told had to roll out because the old mainframe and program needed to be replaced. There have been so many issues and corrections needed in this new accounting system, not to mention a huge learning curve, that SEI has placed audits for ASI2 stores on hold until they can fig-

ure out what's going on with it. Franchisees are bearing the burden and are frustrated because of this rollout. Along with ASI2 now we’re supposed to receive our reports through 7Cloud, and at the same time SEI is rolling out another program that basically eliminates the need to store information on the store ISP, and instead moves everything to the cloud, called 7Boss. Even though 7Boss has some different and welcomed functions—for example, you can order remotely from outside your

store—some of the reports are not as user-friendly as the software we've had in the past, and it will take some getting used to. Rolling out all these programs at the same time, when they're not fully

“Rolling out all these programs at the same time, when they're not fully tested, puts franchisees in a bad spot trying to reconcile all of their accounting.”

“Although SEI has allowed stores to close overnight in many instances, and has tools available to help us find employees, the company is also rolling out new programs at a time when we’re already low on personnel.” tested, means the folks at SEI don’t really know the scope of the problems they might entail, and puts franchisees in a bad spot trying to reconcile all of their accounting. Franchisees now must work through all of these new tools to reconcile the financial reports and to investigate any inventory variation. It used to be that our Merchandise Report matched up to our Purchase Summary, and we would create a case for any discrepancies. Now things like Markup/Markdown are in separate reports that we can only access by signing on to 7-Hub, while in the past we used to get the Markup/Markdown Reports right from our ISP. We could easily verify the accuracy of the Markup/Markdown Reports by pulling up how many cups of coffee we sold and our retail selling price on the coffee. Now we have to actually go into 7-Hub and pull several different reports—a Price Override Markup/Markdown Report (POR), a Non-Inventory Sales Report (NIS), a Promo Sales Report (PSR) and then the DMR and the Purchase Summary from the store—in order to try to piece everything together on what happened with our inventory on a continued on page 30 AVANTI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 1


More Honey, Less Vinegar particular day of business. This is at a time when we’re struggling with staffing and more franchisees are having to fill in shifts at their stores. We shouldn’t have to navigate through all these new accounting reports and “Franchisees tools to reconcile now must work our inventory. Even through all of when we pull all the reports to verify these new tools it is still difficult to to reconcile the reconcile the amounts are corfinancial rect due to various reports and to programs such as investigate any 7Now, which modifies retails of some inventory of the items that variation.” make up the total. Reading through the comments on our franchisee-only Telegram chat group, one can get a sense of the frustration franchisees are feeling. Franchisees are listing the problems they’re having adjusting to the new accounting system, stating how the calculations aren’t transparent enough, and asking that SEI delay rolling out new programs until we can get our labor situation stabilized. We learned through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) rollout that a large number of franchisees do not have business bank accounts and use the Open Account as their bank account. Franchisees should ask themselves, “If my bank made reconciling my financial reports so difficult, what would I do?” The Solution There’s no question that the timing is off and, regardless of the immediate urgency to implement these programs,

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franchisees are paying a price. We need to solve our staffing problem before we can focus on whatever program the company rolls out. I propose that—instead of the top-down mentality of “this is what we expect you to do,” why doesn’t SEI implement a way to incentivize franchisees? For example, right now if a franchisee is not open 24 hours a day SEI penalizes the franchisee by changing the gross profit split by as much as 6 percent in its favor. Why not change that to incentivize franchisees to want to be open 24 hours and give us a larger share of gross profit for being open 24 hours? Although the option to close was available for over a year, only a small percentage of stores actually did close at some point. SEI should see this as a positive, that franchisees understand the importance of 24-hour operation to the system and the Brand. SEI knows—but never mentions—that a little less than half of our stores are not profitable for operators during the midnight to 5 a.m. hours due to low customer traffic and rising wages. Implementing a change in gross profit split, with a larger percentage going to franchisees, would also help offset the sharply rising labor costs. This would work a lot better than forcing us to follow mandates that are necessarily beneficial to our immediate financial performance, and it guides franchisees in the right direction for the long-term benefits. As we emerge from the pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to get ahead of our competitors and reclaim the

“SEI knows—but never mentions—that a little less than half of our stores are not profitable for operators during the midnight to 5 a.m. hours due to low customer traffic and rising wages.” 30

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“The best way to get to 100 percent of stores open 24 hours is to incentivize franchisees to do so, instead of punishing us.” overnight day part. Many of our competitors, including some of the big retailers like Walmart, reduced their store hours during the pandemic and because of the labor shortage, and have not yet returned to full operating capacity. If we are consistent on the 24-hour side of the business we will see this part of our business grow, even beyond pre-pandemic levels. As we all know, it is extremely challenging to staff our stores right now. The best way to get to 100 percent of stores open 24 hours is to incentivize franchisees to do so, instead of punishing us. SEI could bear some of the burden of these additional labor hours and labor dollars by giving us a larger share of the gross profit split. So the message is less punishment and more reward. It is in SEI’s best interest to provide us the fair share of gross profit required to attract, hire, and retain the caliber of employees necessary to provide excellent customer service, maintain standards and execute company programs and processes. Instead, SEI is distancing itself from its hard working franchisee partners and perpetuating poor morale. I think that a saying I learned from Jaspreet Dhillon is appropriate, “Happy cows produce better milk.” MICHAEL JORGENSEN CAN BE REACHED AT


All In On Gasoline: Chapter 4 7-Eleven Closes The Speedway Deal ERIC H. KARP, ESQ., GENERAL COUNSEL TO NCASEF

“We have reason to believe that this transaction is illegal…” “…which transaction…we have reason to believe violate(s) the antitrust laws.” ree momentous things happened on May 14, 2021. First, SEI closed its $21 billion purchase of approximately 3,800 Speedway stores in 36 states without first having clearance from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Second, the FTC, evenly divided with two members appointed by a Democratic president and two by a Republican president, saw dueling statements issued by the two camps, each blaming the other for the failure to address the anti-competitive aspects of the transaction. But this disagreement has caused many observers to overlook a commonality of the positions of the Republican and Democratic appointed commissioners. e first quote above is from the public statement issued by Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Rohit Chopra (the Democratically appointed commissioners) and the second quote is from the public statement issued by Commissioners Christine S. Wilson and Noah Joshua Phillips (the Republican appointed commissioners). ird, SEI issued its own public statement, stating that it had negotiated an agreement with FTC staff to divest itself of 293 stores, to address anti-competitive concerns. But this negotiated agreement never received majority approval from the FTC. Commissioners Slaughter and Chopra were particularly critical, stating that the transaction “… could impact competition and cause prices to soar at gas stations and convenience stores across the U.S.” Commissioners Wilson and Phillips stated that as a result of the failure to reach an agreement concerning a remedy “… consumers and businesses both lost.”

An article published on Law360.com summarizes the situation by stating that both sides were equally critical of the merger, calling it anticompetitive because of hundreds of potential gas station and convenience store overlaps. Additionally, an article published by the National Law Review characterizes SEI's decision to close the transaction without FTC approval as unusual given that merger parties “… normally wait for resolution with the antitrust authorities before completing their transaction.” e author cites SEI’s $3.3 billion acquisition of retail fuel stations from Sunoco in 2018, which was closed only aer a consent agreement had been reached with the FTC. Commissioners Slaughter and Chopra labeled the decision to close without a resolution from the FTC highly unusual and extremely troubling. ey warned that the parties have closed their transition “at their own risk” and that the FTC will continue to investigate to determine an appropriate path forward. SEI’s strategy has been the subject of some speculation. Some might call it bold, others might call it calculating, and still others might call it arrogant. SEI is banking on the notion that it is more difficult to undo a merger than to block one, and with a Democratic president and both houses of Congress controlled by the Democratic Party, it is only a matter of time before the FTC has a three to two Dem-

“SEI closed its $21 billion purchase of approximately 3,800 Speedway stores in 36 states without first having clearance from the Federal Trade Commission.” ocratic majority. Indeed, the President's nominee has a significant background in antitrust matters and has argued for a more robust enforcement policy. But since Commissioner Chopra has been nominated to head a different agency, it may take two appointments by this Democratic administration to secure a three to two majority. is delay helps SEI, by reducing the risk of enforcement actions by the FTC. While this review of what some might call ‘inside baseball’ is useful and instructive, the logical question is why should the National continued on page 34

“Commissioners Slaughter and Chopra labeled the decision to close without a resolution from the FTC highly unusual and extremely troubling. They warned that the parties have closed their transition ‘at their own risk’ and that the FTC will continue to investigate to determine an appropriate path forward.” AVANTI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 1


All In On Gasoline: Chapter 4 continued from page 33

Coalition and their constituent franchisees care about this transaction? To answer, we will review data retrieved from publicly available sources, some of which was submitted to the FTC at its invitation. In May of 2016, I observed to the Board of the National Coalition that in light of the acquisitions of gasoline assets by SEI, 7-Eleven was rapidly becoming as much a gasoline company as it was a convenience store company. In December 2010 there was the acquisition of 183 properties from Exxon Mobil Corporation in Florida, followed by entry into the wholesale fuel business with the 2012 acquisition of the assets of TETCO. e next year saw the acquisition of 145 stores and wholesale fuel dealer business through multiple transactions for just under $150 million. In November 2015, SEI announced the acquisition of retail sites in Florida. We also reported that despite a decline in gasoline revenue from 2013 to 2015, gasoline gross margin dollars nevertheless grew over those three years. Gasoline gross margin at the corporate level in 2015 was nearly double what it had been just five years earlier. I predicted that SEI would continue to purchase gasoline assets; and I take no pleasure reflecting on the accuracy of that observation. Our concern about the Speedway transaction was first driven by concerns about the history of pricing at the pump and the power that SEI would have to control the retail market. 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. According to S&P Global, the acquisition will increase 7-Eleven's market share to 8.5 percent from 5.9 percent, raising the

“Our concern about the Speedway transaction was first driven by concerns about the history of pricing at the pump and the power that SEI would have to control the retail market.”

contribution of fuel to its gross profit mix to 30 percent from 20.1 percent. e Speedway acquisition will increase 7-Eleven's footprint to 47 of the 50 most populated metro areas in the U.S.

and because of their interest in selling gas at competitive prices, their interests are perfectly aligned with their customers. is is why at least two of the commissioners were deeply concerned that the additional market power

“According to Goldman Sachs, gasoline sales account for 77 percent of Speedway’s total sales, compared with 20 percent for SEI.” According to information gleaned from that SEI will acquire through the Speedway the securities filings of Seven & i Holdings, as transaction will give it even greater ability to of September 30, 2020, 47 percent of all SEI cause “prices to soar.” stores in the United States had gasoline staAt the outset of the pandemic, SEI warned tions, up from 39 percent as of June 30, 2017. its franchisees against price gouging. But as the ese numbers do not include the Speedway pandemic unfolded, SEI was confronted with acquisition, which will push the gasoline seg- declining merchandise sales and gasoline sales. ment to about 62 percent of all locations. And SEI substantially increased its retail cents per SEI’s market power is augmented by its active gallon, which had the effect of allowing it to wholesale gasoline business. actually increase its profitability overall in the Indeed, as far back as 2018 Seven & i, in context of the worst challenge to the U.S. econits Consolidated Financial Results Presenta- omy in a generation. SEI retail cents per gallon tion for the Second Quarter of FY 2018, avail- in 2020 was 76 percent higher than it had been able at http://www.7andi.com/en/ir/library in 2015 and 45 percent higher than it had been /index.html, summarizes SEI’s results of op- in a pre-pandemic 2019. eration by stating: “Higher income due to Gasoline Retail Fuel Margin mainly brisk sales of gasoline, despite deCENTS/GALLON terioration in merchandise GPM.” Historically, SEI’s audited financial 40 ase e cre s n a I statements report that the gross profit 35 34.85 re % 46 Inc 76% margin from gasoline rose from 5.53 percent in 2012 to 9.45 percent in 2017. In 30 24.09 2020, SEI reported gross profit of $2.16 25 22.62 22.82 billion from the sale of gasoline. 19.80 20.05 20 ese increases in gas gross profit are driven by pricing at the pump. Fran- 15 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 chisees receive a fixed commission of 1.5 cents per gallon, but SEI reserves total discreis chart summarizes the overall effect of tion to set the retail price and retain the profit SEI's pandemic-related gasoline pricing. derived. is gives SEI the incentive to B Fiscal Year Fiscal Year set prices in a fashion that disadvantages 3 2019 2020 Change consumers and franchisees. e higher Gas Sales $18.3B $13.6B (26 percent) the price, the more SEI books in profit; Gallons Sold 6.9B 6.2B (10 percent) franchisees receive lower commissions Gross Profit/Cents/Gallon $23.95 $32.6 36 percent and experience reduced numbers of Retail Fuel Margin/Gallon $24.09 $34.85 47 percent consumers entering the store to make other purchases. A second major area of concern is the Furthermore, because franchisees do not apparent decline in merchandise gross marshare in the profit derived from gasoline sales, continued on page 37 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020


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All In On Gasoline: Chapter 4 continued from page 34

profit on gasoline “A fourth concern is that the Sunoco sales, leading to and Speedway transactions have 36.5% an overall rise in 36.0% changed the character of this Lowest reported GM the gross profit 36.0% 35.8% since at least 2006 margin.” Translasystem, which previously was 35.5% tion: SEI posted 35.2% 35.2% 35.2% 35.1% overwhelmingly dominated by an increase in its 35.0% 34.8% 34.8% 34.8% 34.7% 34.6% franchised operations as opposed corporate gross 34.5% 34.5% 34.3% 34.2% margin at the exto company owned operations.” 34.1% 34.0% pense of consumers and fran- tions are company owned. is change, to33.5% chisees. Reduc- gether with the challenges of integrating the 33.0% tions in mer- Speedway stores into the system, may result 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 chandise gross in a shi of focus away from franchises. is gin in the system, which hampers fran- margin and higher gross profit split to SEI may also reflect an overall change of alignchisees’ ability to compete for customers. translate to franchisees receiving a smaller ment in long term corporate thinking about Merchandise gross profit for all stores, both piece of a shrinking pie, undermining their the importance of franchisee investment and franchised and company owned, as a per- ability to expand their customer base, prof- participation in the system. 3 e National Coalition’s role includes centage of revenue was as high as 36 percent itability and enterprise value. as posin 2007, fell from 34.8 percent in 2019 to L A third area of concern with the Speed- keeping franchisees as fully informed sible as to what is happening in the system and 34.1 percent in 2020, which was the lowest way transaction was how it was financed. S what is likely to happen in the future, and blended merchandise gross margin percent- According to published reports, SEI’s parage since least 2006. Interestingly, we have ent company made an equity infusion into which may affect their livelihoods and the been tracking franchisee gross margin for SEI of approximately $8 billion itself bor- value of their investments in the system. If and many years, drawing that information from rowed funds. On top of that, SEI issued un- when SEI offers these Sunoco and Speedway the footnotes to the audited financial state- secured notes in the amount of $11 billion locations to franchisees, we hope they will do ments of SEI contained within the franchise with maturities ranging from a short term their due diligence carefully. Only by being disclosure documents. We noted that fran- 2022 to a long term 2051, and with interest vigilant and factual can franchisees make in2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 chisee gross margin had declined by nearly rates topping out at 2.8 percent. Franchisees formed decisions about whether and to what 1 percent from 2012 to 2018. But then a in any system should be wary of a fran- extent they see these changes as part of a larger, mysterious thing happened. e informa- chisor that increases its leverage, particu- and perhaps concerning, picture. tion was no longer to be found in the audited December 31, 2018larly one that is a subsidiary of a Affect of financial statements. D May 14, 2021 publicly held company. As of DeSunoco/Speedway Transactions But once again, Seven & i sought to re- cember 31, 2019, SEI's long term assure investors by stating, “Negative debt was less than $3 billion and its 8,800 growth in the gross profit on product sales interest cost about $99 million. 7,800 Sunoco Purchase was outweighed by an increase in the gross is new debt and the related in- 6,800 terest cost will increase substan- 5,800 tially in 2021 which may create 4,800 “Franchisees receive a fixed more pressure on SEI to create yet 3,800 commission of 1.5 cents per more cash flow. 2,800 1,800 A fourth concern is that the gallon, but SEI reserves total 800 Sunoco and Speedway transactions discretion to set the retail Franchised Company With have changed the character of this Stores Stores Gasoline system, which previously was overprice and retain the profit December 31, 2017 December 31, 2018 whelmingly dominated by franDecember 31, 2019 May 14, 2021- P derived. This gives SEI the chised operations as opposed to company owned operations. Although we do incentive to set prices in a ERIC H. KARP not yet have store count data as of end of CAN BE REACHED AT fashion that disadvantages 2020, perhaps for the first time in the history 617-423-7250 or ekarp@wkwrlaw.com consumers and franchisees.” of the system nearly 42 percent of all loca-

Blended Merchandise Gross Profit %

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2019 2020

Vendor Guest Column

WHY DO PEOPLE GET HURT? John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering Consultant, MSIG Insurance Group Employees are injured on the job because of many reasons. Amid the Hundred Days of Summer and the pandemic subsiding, foot traffic into the stores should continue to escalate. As employees get busier with more to do, the risk of injury increases. Research shows that accidents are the result of an unsafe condition or unsafe behavior, or a combination of both. Examples of unsafe conditions include: poor housekeeping; leg on step stool broke; spill on the floor caused a slip and fall; and a sharp edge on the trash receptacle caused a laceration. Examples of unsafe acts or behavior include: employee leaves the counter in pursuit of a shoplifter; trying to lift multiple cases of water; using the wrong knife to open hot dog boxes; using a milk crate as a step stool; and violation of rules. CAN YOU GUESS THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF ACCIDENTS? Data shows that an estimated 90 percent of all injuries or accidents include unsafe behavior. If we give the employees a non-safety cutting blade and they inadvertently have their hand in the direction of cutting, is it because they weren’t paying attention, or was it management providing the incorrect tool? If it is continually rein-

Fa Fatality Fatalit Fatali Fatal Fata Fat


S Se Sev Seve Sever Severe I In Inj Inju Injur Injury M Mi Min Mino Minor I In Inj Inju Injur Injury

“Simple housekeeping is one of the most effective tools in preventing unsafe conditions.”

N Ne Nea Near M Mi Mis Miss


U Un Uns Unsa Unsaf Unsafe A & Conditions Ac Act Acts C Co Con Cond Condi Condit Conditi Conditio Condition

forced that shoplifting is hurting the business, but training shows they are not to leave the store, what priority will the employee take in this situation? We know that for every serious injury, unsafe behaviors are occurring before the incident. As seen in the triangle there are many occurrences where an employee “got away with it” and then continues the unsafe behavior. Have you checked your cell phone while driving or run a yellow light that turned red because you were in a rush? Repeating unsafe behaviors usually leads to injuries, accidents, or worse. If an employee shows a pattern of aggressiveness when dealing with shoplifters but nothing happens, what are the odds they may one day escalate the situation to a point of being seriously injured? HOW DO WE RECOGNIZE AND CORRECT AN UNSAFE CONDITION?

“Research shows that accidents are the result of an unsafe condition or unsafe behavior, or a combination of both.”

Walk the store and correct conditions when seen. If it can’t be fixed immediately, secure the area from further risk of injury. Setting a positive example as the owner is

critical. Then hold your managers and employees accountable for also maintaining safe conditions.

Simple housekeeping is one of the most effective tools in preventing unsafe conditions. It’s easy to get used to looking at things as they are or accept less than perfect conditions. Show your employees it matters and expect clean, orderly storage areas, coolers, register areas, and especially the customer floor. HOW DO WE RECOGNIZE AND CORRECT UNSAFE BEHAVIOR? This is the most challenging of corrections because so many variables can be involved. But there are tools and techniques that can reduce the chances of unsafe behavior. First, know your employees and their likelihood of risk-taking. Do they listen to instructions? How do they act with customers that question an ID for alcohol, demand a different hot dog, or are suspected of shoplifting? Are they shorttempered? Do they follow the rules, training, and advice? If you or your managers overlook risky behavior or chance-taking, you have quietly reinforced that personal safety is not the priority. continued on page 40

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Vendor Guest Column continued from page 39

TIPS TO MANAGE OR MINIMIZE UNSAFE BEHAVIOR 1. Training—This must be done thoroughly upon hire and regularly after. Watching a video has only a small impact on behavior since adults retain very little about what they see. However, by hearing and doing, and repeating the desired behavior, there can be improved learning. And remember, a young adult needs to be trained differently than an older adult. 2. Personal problems or troubles at home can influence behavior at work. Communicate privately and create an open atmosphere where the employee feels they can be honest and will be heard. 3. Provide on-the-spot correction of unsafe behavior. Explain in a positive tone, the right way to do the task or manage a customer situation. 4. Ask your employees for ideas, better methods, or concerns. They are constantly interacting with equipment, products, and customers, and frequently have the best suggestions. 5. Enforcement and discipline if necessary. Employees must know there are rules and boundaries for safe behavior. Without strong reinforcement of the rules, the employee will recognize the true priority. This also shows the other employees you want a well-run operation following procedures. 6. Praise and reward positive behavior. Everyone wants to be appreciated and acknowledged for proper handling of a difficult situation, using the right equipment or asking for help. This will help continue the positive behavior. WHO’S RESPONSIBLE? As the owner, president, and allaround executive, you set the tone for

“By unsafe behavior we do not mean the employee is necessarily to blame. Reasons for unsafe behavior include: tired, inattention or distracted, didn’t know, failure to follow rules, unclear priorities, believe ‘it won’t happen to me,’ and in a hurry.” safe conditions and safe behavior. Your verbal and non-verbal communication and expectations for your managers and employees will influence the likelihood of chance taking. As Lewis Cass once wrote, “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” In our recent article, we reviewed the critical risk of employees leaving the counter to pursue a shoplifter or assailant, and the potentially lethal consequences. This behavior is a perfect example of a calculated risk-taking behavior that cannot be trained away with a video or poster. Assuring there are no mixed messages about costs and shoplifting or trying to be a hero, there needs to be continual reinforcement of expected behavior in negative situations and possible consequences such as injury or job termination. It’s all about decisions. Help your employees make the right and safe one! If you have any concerns, questions, or need further advice, contact your broker or MSIG.

JOHN HARP CAN BE REACHED AT 908-604-2951 or jharp@msigusa.com

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August 2021, reported Lottery Post. In addition to the drawings held on Wednesday and Saturday nights, Powerball will conduct a drawing on Monday nights. • Thirtysix percent of retailers and brands surveyed said their sales didn't suffer during the pandemic, and 25 percent said sales are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, according to a survey by Glossy and Modern Retail. Altogether, 62 percent reported that sales have already returned to normal. • Airline company Virgin Australia has partnered with 7-Eleven Australia to offer its 10 million Velocity Frequent Flyer members the opportunity to earn points whenever they shop for fuel, food, coffee and convenience items at 7-Eleven. • After the CDC's latest guidance on face coverings, Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger and Publix are among the retailers now allowing fully vaccinated shoppers and employees to stop wearing masks inside their stores, reported USA Today. • Retailers that stocked up on hand sanitizer during the worst of the pandemic are now on a mission to get rid of them, reported the Wall Street Journal. Demand has slowed to a crawl and retailers are trying deep discounts and promotions, like buy-one-getthree-free sales. • A coalition of retailers, media companies and printing firms have joined forces to oppose a planned 7 percent increase in postage, reported Reuters. The group issued a letter recently calling on Congress to review the plan before it takes effect on August 29, saying the increase would be unaffordable for small businesses. • Dollar General expects to self-distribute frozen and refrigerated products chainwide through its DG Fresh initiative by the end of the second quarter of 2021, ahead of its earlier goal of expanding the program to all of its stores by the end of the fiscal year, reported Grocery Dive. • Ten McDonald’s restaurants in Chicago are testing automated drive-thru ordering using artificial intelligence software, reported CNBC. The company said the technology is about 85 percent accurate and can take 80 percent of orders. • Amazon reported revenue of $108.5 billion in the first quarter, surging continued on page 48


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these technologies, Seven Central can scale their platform more efficiently and give their teams across the organization access to data and insights that were previously not accessible, which dramatically reduces time-to-insight that has a measurable impact to business operations.

Circle K To Hire 20,000 New Employees Nationwide Convenience store chain Circle K recently announced that it is looking to add 20,000 new employees in the United States to its current team ahead of the summer season. e company said it has kept its doors open throughout the pandemic and worked hard to provide customers essential services such as fuel, food, and beverages, and as business starts to return to normal it is ready to expand its team. Positions ranging from Customer Service Representatives, Assis-

“Circle K is looking to add 20,000 new employees in the U.S. ahead of the summer season.”

tant Store Managers, and Store Managers. Circle K said it also has numerous opportunities at its service centers, which support the stores including positions in maintenance, fuel transportation, accounting, auditing, data analytics, IT support, and more.

“Sheetz recently announced a $2 per hour wage increase for all of its 18,000 store employees.”

Sheetz Boosts Employee Wages Pennsylvania-based convenience chain Sheetz recently announced a $2 per hour wage increase for all of its 18,000 store employees, which went into effect on May 21, 2021. e c-store retailer said this permanent increase equates to a $50 million annual investment and comes on the heels of the company’s $28.5 million investment in store employee wages announced in February. In addition, Sheetz also announced a $12 million investment in a summer stimulus program that provides store employees an additional $1 per hour wage increase from May 21, 2021 until September 23, 2021.

Sheetz said it offers competitive pay and benefits packages to all employees, including medical and dental insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan, tuition reimbursement, quarterly bonuses, an employee stock ownership plan, vacation time and more. Additionally, Sheetz recently updated its parental leave policy, which includes 12 weeks of fully paid time off for new mothers and two weeks of fully paid time off for partners. e company said it has over 2,000 positions it is actively hiring for.

Rutter's Hikes Starting Pay To $14 An Hour As debates about raising the minimum wage play out across the country, Pennsylvania-based convenience retailer Rutter’s announced an increase to its starting wage—bringing its hourly pay to continued on page 44

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.

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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Legislative Update loitering and “other illegal activity.” One retailer said he hopes members of the City Council will block the mayor’s “outrageous move.” If not, he anticipates proprietors will band together and potentially file lawsuits.

Rhode Island Raises Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee recently signed into law legislation that raises the minimum wage in the state from $11.50 to $15 over the next four years, reported e Newport Buzz. e bill will increase the minimum wage from $11.50 to $12.25 on January 1, 2022; $13 on January 1, 2023; $14 on “Rhode Island has passed a law raisJanuary 1, 2024 and $15 ing its minimum wage from $11.50 to on January 1, 2025. $15 over the next four years.” e Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training estimates that the new law will raise wages for approximately 70,000 workers by 2022 and approximately 140,000 workers by 2025. Rhode Island now joins fellow New England states Massachusetts and Connecticut in passing legislation to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15.

Massachusetts City Bans Plastic & Styrofoam e Attleboro, Massachusetts city council recently voted to ban plastic and polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) takeaway cups and containers from convenience stores, restaurants and other places that serve prepared food and drinks effective January 2022, reported e Sun Chronicle. Restaurants can use paper goods, the city’s mayor said, adding Starbucks and Dunkin’

Donuts already have done away with Styrofoam and don’t oen use plastic anymore anyway. Restaurants and convenience stores are responsible for about 80 percent of the dissemination of Styrofoam and plastic products, with supermarkets and grocery stores accounting for a lot of the remainder that isn’t covered by the new city ban, according to the article. e ban is the latest effort by the mayor to make Attleboro greener since he took office in 2018. Some initiatives that are already in practice or are in the process of being enacted include banning single use plastic bags and the distribution or sale of plastic straws.

Colorado Bill Would Ban Styrofoam & Add Plastic Bag Fee Colorado lawmakers recently passed a bill that would ban the use of styrofoam and tax single-use plastic bags in most cases, reported e Hill. House Bill 1162 will prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags, except in certain situations when each bag will cost the consumer a minimum of 10 cents. Businesses allowed to continue using such products include restaurants that prepare or serve food in individual portions or stores that have just three or fewer locations in Colorado. Businesses may keep 40 percent of proceeds from the bag tax, and are required to relinquish the other 60 percent to the municipality or county they're located in. e bill also bans styrofoam products from being used as containers for ready-to-eat food. Businesses that violate the new terms, which are set to begin in 2022, are subject to fines of $500 for a second violation or $1,000 for a third or subsequent violation.

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$14 for all field employees, reported the York Daily Record. is is the second increase the 79-store chain has announced in less than a year. It has committed more than $5 million in additional annual wages in May, and $12 million total since the end of 2020. All Rutter’s employees will see a wage increase, with full-time team members earning nearly $30,000 annually. Rutter's store managers can earn up to $110,000 per year and restaurant managers up to $99,000 per year, 44

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with bonus. With this increase, Rutter’s has raised its starting wages by 33 percent since 2019, according to the article.

Wawa & Murphy USA Go On Hiring Spree Wawa recently launched its first annual hiring campaign of the year with the goal of hiring 5,000 new associates by July. e annual hiring campaign

spanned the spring season and lasted through Memorial Day Weekend. With more than 650 stores located in the MidAtlantic region and 210 stores in Florida, the company said the new positions are the result of seasonal and store growth across its operating area and aims to fill both store-level customer-service, supervisory and management-level positions. Wawa said its current hiring incentives include up to $800 to work at its stores continued on page 47

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Murphy USA Inc. also kicked off a hiring campaign to fill 3,000 positions across its 1,650 stores to support the company’s continued growth. e company said it is seeking applicants for fulltime and part-time positions, and is offering incentives that include a 2021 Summer Bonus of $500 at select stores. New hires at select locations will also be offered 2021 Premium Pay of an extra $2 per hour on top of their regular hourly rate through September 10, 2021.

McDonald's Gives Workers A Raise McDonald’s Corp. plans to raise the wages of employees at company-owned restaurants in the U.S., one of the latest companies to bolster wages and benefits as they struggle to hire workers, reported

the Wall Street Journal. e burger giant said recently it would increase wages for more than 36,500 hourly workers by an average of 10 percent over the next several months. Non-managerial workers at the chain’s roughly 660 company-owned restaurants in the U.S. would earn at least $11 to $17 an hour at entry levels aer the increases. Supervisors would earn an hourly minimum of $15 to $20. Non-managerial employees at company-owned stores earlier this year earned an average of nearly $12 an hour, McDonald’s said, and supervisors earned some $16 to $18 an hour. McDonald’s owns a fraction of its 13,900 U.S. restaurants, around 95 percent of which are operated by franchisees. Owners have said they are reviewing pay and benefits at their stores. e National Owners Association, a

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!

group representing U.S. franchisees, said in an email to its members that strong sales should allow operators to raise menu prices if they choose to compensate for higher spending on pay and benefits.

Amazon To Overtake Walmart As Largest U.S. Retailer A new market research study has found that Amazon is on track to overtake Walmart in terms of gross market value within the next few years, reported Business Insider. A study from Edge by Ascential calculated that Amazon's gross market value will reach $631.6 billion by 2025, a compound annual growth rate continued on page 48

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

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(CAGR) of 14 percent between 2020 and 2025. Walmart's gross market value is slated to rise to $523.3 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 3.9 percent. As a brick-and-mortar native, Walmart has long trailed behind Amazon in terms of its e-commerce capabilities. In fact, Walmart started an overhaul of its online capabilities to improve its digital fulfillment performance. But the Edge study found that this likely won't be enough to catch Amazon. e report found that 29 percent of total chain retail sales will come from ecommerce by 2025 and that online sales in the U.S. alone will increase over $1 trillion by then.

Stimulus Checks Helped Increase March Retail Sales Armed with $1,400 stimulus checks, Americans went on a spending spree in March, reported the Associated Press. Retail sales surged a seasonally adjusted 9.8 percent in March aer dropping about 3 percent the month before, according to the Commerce Department. e increase was the biggest since May of last year, when stores reopened aer closing at the start of the pandemic. It was also much larger than the 5.5 percent increase Wall Street analysts had expected. e Commerce Department’s report, which covers about a third of overall consumer spending, is the latest sign that the economy is improving as vacci-

“Retail sales surged 9.8 percent in March, thanks to Americans sending their $1,400 stimulus checks.” nations accelerate, business restrictions are relaxed and more people are willing to head out to shop or eat. Employers, for instance, added 916,000 jobs in March, the most since August, and U.S. consumer confidence surged to the highest level in a year. A third round of stimulus checks was sent out beginning in the middle of March, with most adults receiving $1,400. Americans spent their cash on cars, eating out and home renovations, according to the Commerce Department. But sporting goods stores saw the biggest jump in sales, up 23.5 percent in March from the month before, as people bought outdoor gear. It was followed by clothing stores, where sales soared 18.3 percent.

New Dallas Ordinance To Require C-Store Security Upgrades Dallas City Council members recently approved a host of mandatory security upgrades meant to deter crime at more than 750 convenience stores in the city, reported NBCDFW.com. During their May 26 meeting, council members approved without comment an ordinance that would require a minimum of three security cameras be installed inside of every convenience store; upgraded, mandatory exterior lighting; ATM's to be secured to the floor; and ATMs to be set a minimum of 12 feet back from windows and doors. continued on page 50


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44 percent year-overyear and beating out analyst expectations of $104.5 billion, reported Forbes. This marks Amazon’s second-biggest quarter ever for sales, behind only the $125.6 billion nabbed in last year's fourth quarter thanks to a later-than-usual Prime Day and the pandemic holiday season. • The total U.S. economic impact from marijuana sales in 2021 is expected to reach $92 billion—up more than 30 percent from last year—and upwards of $160 billion in 2025, according to analysis from the newly published MJBizFactbook. • McDonald's is partnering with the White House to promote vaccination information on its coffee cups, reported CNN Business. Beginning in July, customers will see redesigned McCafe cups and delivery seal stickers that features "We Can Do This," a slogan created to promote vaccine confidence. • Consumers are returning to in-person shopping and dining at an accelerated pace, according to Frito-Lay's latest U.S. Snack Index. The survey reveals that more people are getting snacks in-person at the grocery store (a 14-point increase from 2020), and 35 percent are picking up snacks at convenience stores. • Kroger used a hybrid format to offer job seekers virtual and in-person interview opportunities in its recent push to hire 10,000 new workers, reported CNBC. The grocer's job fair event was aimed at filling open roles in retail, ecommerce, logistics, manufacturing and pharmacy—positions that pay an average of $15.50 an hour and include many benefits. • Coca-Cola has added to its Freestyle beverage machines with a countertop model, reported Consumer Goods. The Coca-Cola Freestyle 7100 has a 24inch high-def touchscreen and, as with other Freestyle machines, features mobile technology that lets users select and pour drinks using their smartphone without an app or account. • As the pandemic has worn on, Americans seem to be backsliding on their handwashing habits, reveals the latest Healthy Handwashing Survey conducted by Bradley Corp. Fifty-seven percent of Americans are washing their hands six or more times a day now, down from the 78 percent when continued on page 50

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e proposed ordinance also dictates where those required cameras must be positioned—one on the cash register, one that shows the faces of everyone who enters the store, and one that shows the faces of everyone as they exit the store. e cameras would further be required to record at all times, including when the store is closed, and for that footage to be saved and accessible for a minimum of 30 days.

Japan C-Store Sales On The Rise Convenience store sales in Japan rose by 1.9 percent in March from a year earlier for the first increase in 13 months, lied by demand for food items as people continued to stay or work at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, reported Kyodo News. Same-store sales of seven major convenience store operators totaled 861.7 billion yen ($7.9 billion), supported by solid demand for prepared food, frozen food, dessert and alcoholic beverages. Despite the number of shoppers declining 3.5 percent to 1.3 billion for the 13th consecutive month of fall, the average spending per person rose 5.6

percent to 684.20 yen. Customer visits fell especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area, where a second state of emergency was issued in January and extended to March 21.

Speedway Fuel Delivery To Hire 100 Drivers Speedway Transport Operations, the private fuel delivery fleet for Speedway, announced in late May that it is planning to hire 100 drivers over 100 days to fill growth-related fuel delivery driving positions. e company said full-time and part-time driving positions are open primarily in the Southeast United States, with focus on fleets based in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Speedway Transport Operations will provide and pay for a fuel delivery driver training program for drivers with class-A commercial driver's license and hazmat and tanker endorsements. If drivers with one or more years of fuel delivery experience meet Speedway Transport Operations qualifications, they will receive an additional bonus, and benefits are available immediately upon hire for full-time employees. continued next page

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 50

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the survey was conducted in April of 2020. • Washington state lawmakers recently passed a bill setting a target to stop sales of gasoline-fueled vehicles there beginning in 2030, five years sooner than California, reported Reuters. The move comes as efforts to boost adoption of electric vehicles are accelerating over concerns about fossil fuels' contribution to climate change. • The Hershey Company announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Lily's, the high-growth, better-for-you confectionery brand. Lily's low-sugar products include dark and milk chocolate style bars, baking chips, peanut butter cups and other products that fit Hershey's multi-pronged better-for-you snacking strategy, the company said. • Pizza chain Domino's recently rolled out a robot car delivery service to select customers in Houston, reported CNN Business. The pies arrive in a fully autonomous vehicle made by Nuro, which is the first human-free on-road delivery vehicle to receive regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation last year. • Walmart is giving Samsung smartphones to 740,000 of its front-line workers this year featuring a new app that allows them to communicate directly with each other, clock in and out, and help customers who have questions, reported the Associated Press. • Staples has made a new $1 billion offer for Office Depot's consumer division, which includes its namesake and OfficeMax stores, reported the New York Times. The bid follows a $2 billion January offer for the whole company, including its business-to-business arm, that Office Depot rejected. • Japan-based beauty and wellness company MTG has created a ring made of zirconia that's designed to replace a person's wallet and house key, reported Bloomberg. The Evering is embedded with a chip that allows wearers to lock their front door and pay for purchases, and MTG has contracted with Visa to supply the first 3,000 Everings in Japan. • Wawa recently announced a chainwide milestone of reaching its 50th Electric Vehicle continued on page 53

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NACS Introduces TruAge Digital IDVerification Solution NACS recently announced a digital identification solution that enhances current age-verification systems at all retail points of sale and protects user privacy. e new TruAge solution, developed with Conexxus, makes the traditional carding experience more convenient and accurate. It addresses age-verification beyond the traditional store register to online ordering, home delivery and curbside pickup, which have grown in popularity during the pandemic. e solution is already supported by more than 130 retail companies that represent 22,000-plus convenience store locations in the United States, plus four industry point-of-sale (POS) providers. In addition, Molson Coors Beverage Company is the first major global beer company to support TruAge, NACS said. TruAge makes it easier and more accurate to verify a customer’s age when purchasing age-restricted products, and at the same time makes identity the difficult. A customer’s date of birth and photo are used to verify identity. When confirming age and identity, one-timeuse tokens are placed on the customer’s mobile device to confirm legal age to purchase age-restricted products. TXB convenience stores and Kwik Chek Food Stores in the Austin, Texas, area, will pilot TruAge with additional markets testing the solution later this year.

Tanker Driver Shortage May Disrupt Gas Supply ere's no shortage of gasoline in the U.S., but consumers may encounter fuel outages in some areas due in large part to a nationwide shortage of qualified fuel

Kroger said it is designing bundled product offerings ideal for meeting customer needs within the current weight limits for drone delivery, which is about five pounds. For instance, Kroger will offer a baby care bundle with wipes and formula, a child wellness bundle with over-thecounter medications and fluids, and a S'mores bundle with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate.

“Drivers may encounter fuel outages in some parts of the country because of a shortage of qualified fuel tanker truck drivers.” tanker truck drivers, reported KARE11.com. e problem has been brewing since 2017 and has grown worse as more drivers have retired than entered the system. e tanker driver shortage was further aggravated by the COVID19 pandemic because safe distancing made it harder to hire and train replacement drivers. e people who drive around 8,000 gallons of fuel must be certified in handling hazardous materials, in addition to holding a commercial driver's license. at will contribute to sporadic, scattered outages, the article states.

Kroger Testing Grocery Delivery By Drone Supermarket chain Kroger and Drone Express recently announced a pilot to offer grocery delivery via autonomous drones. e pilot program will allow package delivery to the location of a customer's smartphone, not only to a street address— meaning a customer will be able to order delivery of picnic supplies to a park, sunscreen to the beach, or condiments to a backyard cookout, for instance. e company said the flights will be managed by licensed Drone Express pilots from an onsite trailer with additional off-site monitoring.

In-Store Shopping Will Return In 2021 As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to pick up steam, a new survey by Inmar Intelligence reveals that over a quarter (27 percent) of consumers plan on doing most of their grocery shopping in-store once they are fully vaccinated and over a third (38 percent) will be doing a combination of online and instore shopping. A return to the physical store is already underway with today’s grocery shoppers. While 48 percent of shoppers are currently hybrid shoppers, almost a third (33 percent) are currently shopping for groceries in-store, suggesting a steady return to normalcy and increased comfort with in-store shopping. Additionally, the survey found that over half (51 percent) of shoppers are still looking to stockpile throughout 2021, adopting a longer-term “be prepared” mentality. irty-eight percent plan on stockpiling toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, food and alcohol. Despite the growing trend toward heading to physical stores to shop, online shopping is not going anywhere—41 percent of shoppers have ordered groceries online for delivery or pickup over the past six months. However, there are still hurdles to conducting online shopping that can deter today’s continued on page 53

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(EV) charging site across its entire sixstate operating area. Wawa officially marked the 50th site milestone with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand opening of its newest store in Crystal River, Florida, which happens to also be the first Florida store to open live with EV charging. • Foodservice distributor Performance Food Group Company recently announced it is purchasing Core-Mark Holding Company in a $2.5 billion deal including debt, a move that would expand its business with convenience stores. • Consumer product manufacturers have begun trimming package sizes instead of raising consumer prices as companies look to offset rising labor and materials costs without scaring off customers, reported the Washington Post. It’s a form of retail camouflage known as “shrinkflation,” and economists and consumer advocates expect it to become more pronounced as inflation climbs. • A McDonald's in Florida was paying people $50 just to show up for a job interview, but it was still not attracting many applicants, reported Business Insider.The franchisee who owns the restaurant said the reopening of businesses that are looking to hire, along with enhanced unemployment benefits, has cut into the number of applicants. • Circle K stores in Sweden recently launched Pay by Plate, which allows customers to simply drive onto the gasoline forecourt, fill up with fuel and, through license plate recognition, pay for the fuel on the Circle K Easy Fuel app. • As the labor market heats up, Chipotle Mexican Grill said it is raising pay for its restaurant workers— reaching an average of $15 an hour by the end of June—as it looks to hire 20,000 new workers to support its peak season and new restaurant openings, reported CNBC. • Amazon recently announced that its Key by Amazon InGarage Grocery Delivery, which allows Prime members to have their Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market groceries delivered securely inside their garage, is expandcontinued on page 55

shoppers, especially around quality and price. e greatest challenges that shoppers face with online delivery include delivery surcharges (18 percent), quality of groceries delivered (16 percent) and availability of delivery time slots (14 percent).

Private Label Sales To Grow In 2021 Private label sales are poised to increase aer a disappointing 2020 thanks to continuing innovation, e-commerce potential and consumers' growing willingness to try new brands, reported Retail Dive. A recent webinar presentation by ingredients supplier Kerry and NielsenIQ reveals that two-thirds of consumers have shied their buying habits in recent months, while the percentage of newly budget-conscious consumers doubled between September and December. NielsenIQ has tracked consumers' attitudes toward spending over the past year, categorizing them into two groups: “constrained” and “insulated.” According to the firm, the percentage of shoppers that fall into the former category has grown recently. “Newly constrained” consumers increased from 23 percent to 46 percent between September and December, indicating a higher percentage of shoppers that are closely watching their budgets as uncertainty and concerns over unemployment loom. Both constrained and insulated shoppers buy private labels, with insulated shoppers gravitating more toward new and innovative products. But tighter budgets tend to play to the benefit of store brands, which have extended across store categories over the years and have increased the quality and sophistication of their offerings. Online shopping is shaping up to be the next major merchandising opportu-

nity for private label. Two-thirds of consumers say they're shopping both in stores and online, but they oen feel there's a disconnect between the two channels. is indicates an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on rising omni-shopping habits with their private label products.

Less Than Half Of Fuel Merchants Meet EMV Deadline New data from ACI Worldwide shows that as of April 17, 2021—the extended EMV liability shi deadline—less than half (48 percent) of fuel merchants will meet EMV automated fuel dispenser (AFD) compliance mandates. As of the extended deadline, the liability for fraud will now shi from card issuers to fuel merchants. ACI surveyed fuel merchants that collectively represent 45,000 gas stations nationwide—including major oil companies, grocers and convenience stores. e data showed that only 50 percent of fuel merchants who were not fully implemented expect to be EMV compliant by the end of 2021. Other key findings include: • 26 percent have more than three quarters of their fuel stations fully upgraded. • 22 percent currently have under half of their fuel stations fully upgraded. • 91 percent of fuel merchants plan to implement contactless payments in 2021, an increase compared to 85 percent that were planning to do so in 2020. • 78 percent are considering implementing mobile payment options in 2021, an increase compared to 70 percent in 2020. • 48 percent are evaluating how to integrate loyalty initiatives at the fuel dispenser, a drop compared to 67 percent that were considering it in 2020. AVANTI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 1


“Instacart now delivers from sential products nearly 6,000 7-Eleven from 7-Eleven— stores, reaching nearly including pantry 60 million U.S. housestaples, household holds across the items, alcohol, snacks, country.”

FILLING JOBS FOR SUMMER PEAK SEASON SEI and participating independent franchise owners are collectively recruiting as many as 40,000 new employees to fill positions at their more than 13,000 U.S. stores, the company recently announced. This includes approximately 3,800 Speedway stores recently acquired from Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Store level employees, both entry and management positions, are available. In addition, 7-Eleven and Speedway are looking to fill a number of non-store positions including maintenance technicians, transport drivers, and other support roles. SEI said the store employee position at 7-Eleven store locations will also help meet the surge in mobile orders made through the 7NOW delivery app. SEI added “SEI and franchisees that when are recruiting as COVID-19 first struck, it and its many as 40,000 new employees to participating fill positions at their franchisees put out two hiring more than 13,000 calls for 40,000 U.S. stores.” new employees to keep local corporate or franchisee-owned stores open and responsive to customers' needs. The company estimates between the organization and independent 7-Eleven franchise owners, more than 50,000 employees were hired during a time when many businesses were forced to shut down and unemployment escalated to record highs.

EVOLUTION STORE IN VIRGINIA FEATURES TWO RESTAURANTS SEI recently unveiled its newest Evolution Store in Manassas, Virginia—the first to offer customers two restaurant options in one location. The company’s popular Raise the Roost Chicken and Biscuits restaurant, which opened its first location a year ago in Manhattan, is joined at the Manassas store by Parlor Pizza, an onsite pizzeria with hand-tossed made-to-order pizzas. The two


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restaurants are located side by side inside the store, with separate ordering counters and shared indoor and outdoor seating. Located at 10601 Lomond Drive, the new combination 7-Eleven Evolution Store is approximately 30 miles of Washington, D.C., where SEI operates another Evolution Store with a Laredo Taco Company restaurant. One of just eight experiential stores 7-Eleven operates in the U.S., the Manassas Evolution Store has several other exclusive features such as a well-stocked Wine Cellar and Beer Cooler, fresh-baked-on-site croissants and cookies, customized espresso drinks, and artisan craft sodas and sparkling waters. The Manassas Evolution Store also is the first to serve as a real-world testing ground for 7-Eleven's Sips and Snacks emerging brands program.

7-ELEVEN & INSTACART EXPAND NATIONALLY SEI and Instacart recently announced the expansion of their collaboration to nearly 4,000 new stores nationwide. With this expansion, Instacart now delivers from nearly 6,000 7-Eleven stores, reaching nearly 60 million U.S. households across the country. To make it easier for customers to instantly connect to 7Eleven and get the goods they need, customers also now have access to 7-Eleven delivery via Instacart in as fast as 30 minutes. Consumers nationwide can choose from thousands of es-

over-the-counter medication, and more—to be delivered from the store to their door. With this announcement, 7-Eleven delivery via Instacart is now available across 33 states and Washington D.C. Customers across seven states—California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Ohio—and Washington D.C. now also have access to alcohol delivery from 7-Eleven stores in as fast as 30 minutes. The companies plan to scale alcohol delivery to more states and stores over the coming months.

LAREDO TACO COMPANY TO OPEN IN COLORADO SEI has announced that its Laredo Taco Company, the Mexican taqueria found exclusively in 7-Eleven stores, is heading to Colorado. The company said the first Laredo Taco Company restaurant will open in Platteville, with more than 10 more planned for Colorado this year. Laredo Taco Company is famous for its tacos served on warm flour tortillas made from scratch in on-site kitchens each day. Tacos and meals include specialties not always seen in Mexican fast-food chains, such as chorizo, carne asada, carnitas, breakfast tacos made with hand-cracked eggs, and the newest item on the menu, protein-packed bowls. Each restaurant also has a salsa bar where customers can spice up their meal, including a wide selection of oncontinued next page

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ing to more than 5,000 U.S. cities and towns. The service was originally launched in five cities last November. • Japanese c-store chain Family Mart is now offering apparel dubbed “Convenience Wear,” which includes 68 different articles of clothing, reported Retail News Asia. Spanning essentials like T-shirts, long-sleeves, tank tops, shorts and socks, each piece comes in transparent ziplock packaging labeled with information about the piece’s size, color, material and measurements. • Ford Motor Co. plans to boost spending on electric-vehicle development to $30 billion by 2025, roughly one-third more than it forecast earlier this year, reported the Wall Street Journal. The company said it expects 40 percent of its global sales to be fully electric by 2030. • According to the Global Digital Payments study by Blackhawk Network, 69 percent of digital wallet users surveyed reported shopping more often since using a digital wallet, and 54 percent report spending more money at retailers where they can use digital payments. • Dollar General will use a microlearning platform provided by Axonify to streamline and improve on-the-job training for 20,000 newly hired workers and the rest of its 150,000 employees, reported Winsight Grocery Business. The program allows training through existing systems and on mobile devices, the company said. • Philip Morris International recently published its Integrated Report, which reveals its 2025 ambitions to switch more than 40 million adult smokers to its smoke-free products, and for smoke-free products to account for more than 50 percent of PMI’s total net revenues. • Inflation is now hitting small restaurant owners after more than a year of COVID-19, and it's leading many to raise the prices of menu items, reported Fox Business. Owners and restaurant consultants blame the price increases on a number of different factors including a severe labor shortage and resulting wage inflation, and high delivery fees for apps like Uber Eats.

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site, daily prepared salsas and pico de gallo. Laredo Taco Company was SEI’s first restaurant concept. Most recently, Laredo Taco Company opened its first drive-thru in Dallas. SEI also operates Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits, billed as “Chicken Worth Crossing the Road For,” which offers a simple menu of fried chicken tenders hand-breaded with a proprietary blend of southern spices, freshly baked flaky biscuits, bone-in and boneless wings tossed with "made in coop" sauces, signature chicken sandwiches, and breakfast sandwiches. In 2021, SEI plans to open nearly 150 restaurants nationwide.


newable energy solutions for its stores across the country. The company is purchasing 100 percent wind energy for 800+ Texas stores and 300+ Illinois stores. Additional renewable energy purchases include 150 stores using hydropower in Virginia, as well as 300 Florida stores powered by solar energy. SEI added that as a sustainable retailer, it will continue to refine and formalize its overarching environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, while engaging with key stakeholders and establishing long-term objectives.


SEI announced that it is pulling out all the stops to “SEI is building beat the heat this summer at least 500 DCFC SEI said it is accelwith a fruity, new Slurpee ports for electric vehierating its environmental flavor and a special deal cles at 250 select U.S. ambitions and undertakthat will allow customers and Canada stores by ing a massive installation to enjoy any small Slurpee the end of 2022.” project, with a goal of drink in a new stay cold cup building at least 500 Direct for just $1. The stay cold cup Current Fast Charging (DCFC) gives customers more time to enjoy ports for electric vehicles at 250 select each sip before melting, the company said. U.S. and Canada stores by the end of 2022. 7-Eleven’s exclusive Slurpee flavor, Peach PerOwned and operated by 7-Eleven, the new fect, is now available in participating stores and DCFC ports will increase convenient charg- is made with real juice, according to SEI. Cusing options for EV drivers by adding to the tomers can also enjoy 10 for $5 bone-in wings company’s existing 22 charging stations lo- or a $5 whole pizza pie and get them both decated at 14 stores in four states. Once this livered through the 7NOW delivery app right expansion is complete, SEI said it will have to their doorstep or even at a park or beach via one of the larg- 7NOW Pins locations. Alcohol delivery, includest and most ing beer, wine and liquor, is available in select compatible fast- markets to customers age 21 and older. charging systems of any retailer in A MONTH-LONG the U.S. SEI said it is BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 7-Eleven is celebrating its birthday—July also improving 11 (aka 7/11 aka “7-Eleven Day”)—all its sustainability month long in July with free Slurpees drinks, by seeking recontinued on page 56

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special discounts on foodie favorites, and by providing 1 million meals to Feeding America, SEI announced. On July 1, 7-Eleven dropped one free small Slurpee drink coupon into the accounts of all 7Rewards loyalty app members. The personalized offer is redeemable the entire month of July, so customers can get their birthday present from 7-Eleven when it's convenient for them. A birthday encore from last year's celebration is a special birthday gift of providing 1 million meals from 7-Eleven to Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the country, building on the company’s 21-year history of support, SEI said. ($1 “7-Eleven is helps provide at least 10 celebrating its meals secured by Feedbirthday all ing America on behalf of month long in member food banks. SEI July with free commits to a donation Slurpees of 1 million meals drinks, special ($100,000) in conjuncdiscounts, and tion with 7–Eleven supporting Birthday month.) Feeding In addition, all roller America.” grill items—including Big Bite hot dogs, taquitos, Cheeseburger Bite rollers, Buffalo chicken rollers and eggrolls—are just $1 each during 7-Eleven's birthday month. Other celebration-worthy delivery deals during the month of July include whole pizzas for only $5 and a $10 pizza and 16 boneless wings combo, plus dollar deals on grill items, Free Triton and Quake energy drinks, and more.

7-ELEVEN OPENS IN LONG ISLAND MALL SEI recently opened its first 7-Eleven store inside a Long Island, New York mall, reported Patch.com. The new convenience store opened in early April inside the Westfield South Shore mall in Bay Shore near the JCPenney store and


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Ulta Beauty. The Town of Islip marked the opening with a ribbon-cutting event on April 9. The 1,690-square-foot store is open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day. The Bay Shore location includes 7-Eleven's expanded hot and cold beverage menu, with the addition of touch-screen machines that brew custom specialty coffee drinks. Other additions include self-serve roller grills and hot food cases. Customers can also find convenient grab-and-go foods in the cold case—salads, sandwiches, cut fruit, and entrees that can be heated in the store or at home.


The Big Gulp is making a splash to kick off the summer season, receiving a bold refresh through the introduction of five new, non-traditional flavors: AHA sparkling flavored water, craft lemonade made with real juice and cane sugar, electrolyte-infused vitaminwater zero squeezed, 7-Eleven's private brand vitamin-infused sport drink Replenish Zero, and energy drink Power Berry by Quake. This fountain refresh is just the latest innovation in the cold dispensed-beverages category, which 7-Eleven redefined in the 1980s with the introduction of the Big Gulp. The following fountain newcomers can now be found in participating stores: ● AHA Sparkling Water: A flavorful, zero-calorie OPERATION CHILL KICKS sparkling water with a refreshing lime and watermelon essence. OFF THE SUMMER The chill is on this summer as SEI kicked ● Craft Lemonade: A refreshing lemonade made off another year of Operation Chill, the com- with real lemon juice, cane sugar, and natural pany's signature community outreach program, flavors. ● Replenish Zero: 7-Eleven's popular priwhich gives local law enforcement vate brand zero-calorie sport drink agencies an opportunity to make comes in a tasty orange-mango a positive connection with flavor and is infused with vitakids through free Slurpee “The Big Gulp mins A, E, B3, B5, and B6. drink coupons. Each year, is receiving a bold ● Power Berry by Quake: 7-Eleven donates free reresh with five Crafted to give an energy Slurpee drink coupons to boost, 7-Eleven's private agencies across the counnew, nontradibrand energy drink has B vitatry for their officers to retional flavors.” mins, electrolytes, and caffeine. ward children they see ● vitaminwater zero squeezed: observing safety rules, participatSweetened with Erythritol and Stevia, ing in positive activities, or performing good deeds and acts of kindness. This year, SEI this zero-sugar vitamin water beverage is the said it will issue approximately 500,000 Slurpee first zero-sugar enhanced water on the foundrink coupons to more than 1,100 participating tain, and contains electrolytes, vitamins B, C, and E, and minerals. law enforcement agencies.

Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bars are a delicious treat that take satisfaction to a new, frozen level. Made with brownie flavored ice cream with brownie bits, topped with signature Snickers peanuts and caramel, and covered in milk chocolatey coating, Snickers Ice Cream Bars are great Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bars are a for birthday parties, sumsummertime treat for your customers and your sales. mer picnics or sharing with a friend. Treat your customers to a satisfying ice cream dessert. There's no wrong way to enjoy the deliciousness of a Snickers Ice Cream Bar.

Grow Your Vape Sales With Vuse Alto Thanks to the partnership between Reynolds Marketing Services Company and 7-Eleven, Vuse Alto is now America’s Favorite Vape (based on retail scan data of reports total Vuse Alto device sales volume through May 30, 2021). As a result of the tremendous growth of Vuse Alto sales in 2021, along with the partnership between Reynolds and 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven franchisees have access to an elite level of resources to support the sales of Vuse Alto in their stores. These sales have resulted in Vuse Alto becoming a leading driver of vapor pod growth in 7-Eleven in 2021. Vuse Alto is one of the most customizable vapor brands in the USA. Adult tobacco consumers can choose from bold color devices, three different flavors (Golden Tobacco, Rich Tobacco and Menthol), and three nicotine levels—1.8 percent, 2.4 percent and 5 percent. The flavor pods are available in 1-pod, 2-pod, and 4-pod packs. The 4-pod pack format is now available nationwide. Vuse Alto also has a variety of exclusive wraps available for adult tobacco consumers to customize the look of their Vuse Alto to match their individual style. With bold and customizable options for your adult tobacco consumers to choose from, be sure to order up to maintain the momentum of Vuse Alto. Vuse Alto is becoming a leading driver of vapor pod growth in 7-Eleven in 2021.

MONSTER REHAB STRAWBERRY LEMONADE REFRESH + RECOVER + REVIVE with Rehab Monster. Strawberry Lemonade flavor stacked with electrolytes, vitamins, and botanicals that deliver on advanced hydration helping your customers reduce fatigue and increase concentration.

Swisher Sweets Announces Contest & New Packaging Swisher Sweets recently announced the launch of an exciting contest, “Life is Sweet,” along with limited edition Swisher Sweets Red packaging, which will be sure to excite top fans. Beginning June 21, 2021, and continuing throughout the summer until August 27, 2021, adult consumers can enter the “Life is Sweet” contest by uploading a photo or video with a caption describing why they are the #1 Swisher Sweets fan. There will be five bi-weekly prizes of $2,500 awarded on July 2, July 16, July 30, August 13 and August 27. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a 2021 luxury sports utility vehicle, $25,000 cash and the title of Swisher Sweets #1 fan. Swisher Sweets has launched a new summer The Grand Prize winner will contest and limited-edition packaging. be selected among the five biweekly winners and notified on or around September 17. The Grand Prize winner will also be featured on swishersweets.com in the Swisher Sweets Hall of Fame. The limited-edition “Life is Sweet” packaging will be available this summer. Trade partners should be on the lookout for specially marked shipping boxes to begin arriving in June. To place an order, contact your Swisher representative at 1-800-874-9720 or visit Swisher.com.

Jingle All the Way With Gingerbread Oreo Cookies Santa is sending something extra special to your store this season—extra sales. Gingerbread Oreo Cookies are coming this holiday season and, exclusively from Oreo, cuscontinued on page 60 AVANTI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 1


New products and services for 7-Eleven Franchisees

New Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bar

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tomers will hear Santa’s voice navigating them to 7Eleven stores on Santa will guide customers to your stores on the Waze app so the Waze app. they can buy Limited-Edition Gingerbread Oreo Cookies. Limited-Edition Gingerbread Oreo Cookies feature festive packaging and five seasonal holiday embossments. Gingerbread is the flavor of the season. The delicious Gingerbread base cake with uniquely textured crème filling with crunchy sugar crystals will give consumers a taste of holiday magic. Plus, since sharing is a big part of the season, your customers can get two Nabisco King Size Cookies or Crackers for just $2.50 while earning 100 bonus 7Rewards points. If getting bonus points on delicious cookies wasn’t enough, your customers can get free Oreo Cookies only at 7-Eleven on Christmas Eve (12/24) with the 7Eleventh Hour Oreo Cookies promotion.

Smirnoff Ice Pink Lemonade Increase your Summer FMB sales with the new Smirnoff Ice Pink Lemonade 6-Pack. Pink Lemonade alcoholic beverages grew +151 percent last year. Smirnoff Ice Pink Lemonade pairs bright notes of subtly sweet pink berries, with the refreshBoost ing lemonade flavor you know and love. Just two your Summer FMB months from launch, it’s already the #2 velocity FMB sales with the new 6-pack. With bright, eye-catching packaging and a $5 Smirnoff Ice Pink Lemonade 6-Pack. million campaign, Pink Lemonade is poised to be the summer’s hit flavor following in the footsteps of Smirnoff Red, White & Berry. Available now nationwide. UPC: 082000766001.

NEW PROTEIN & ENERGY PRODUCTS BY OPTIMUM NUTRITION Optimum Nutrition (ON) recently unveiled several new items that are sure to be popular with your health-conscious customers: • ON Protein Almonds have twice the protein of regular chocolatecoated almonds. Delectably dipped in a whey enriched confection coating and dusted with cocoa, each sleeve provides 10 grams of protein to support your nutrition goals with only 1 gram of sugar. • ON Protein Wafers—A light and crispy on-the-go snack that is packed These new Optimum Nutrition items will with protein, ON Protein Wafers are attract health-conmade with thin, crispy wafers layscious customers. ered with rich and creamy wheyenhanced crème filling. Packed with 16 grams of 100 percent Isolate protein in every two-wafer serving, ON Protein Wafers contain 200 calories, 9 grams of protein, 0 grams trans fat and just 6 grams of sugar. • Essential AMIN.O. Energy+Electrolytes Sparkling Hydration Drink offers a combination of 100 mg of caffeine from natural sources to support energy and focus, 5 grams of amino acids to support muscle recovery, electrolytes to support performance, endurance and active living, and zero sugar. Available in a variety of delicious fruit inspired flavors. 60

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Stock Up On Goldfish & Snyder’s Of Hanover Goodies Enjoy increase snack sales and profits with these Goldfish Crackers and Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzel items: Goldfish: Always baked, never fried and made with 100 percent real cheddar cheese and no artificial flavors or preservatives, Goldfish Crackers are the anytime snack that can be portioned out for lunchtime or grabbed by the handful for an afternoon treat. Available in a 8-ounce resealable bag that makes it easy to keep the crackers fresh while on the go or at home. continued next page

Enjoy high snack sales with Goldfish Crackers and Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels.

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Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels: Crunchy pretzels with all the delicious flavor of traditional pretzels in a bite-size snack. Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels are nonGMO and made from wholesome ingredients the whole family can enjoy, and are great as chocolate-covered pretzels or used in a snack mix with dried fruits and nuts. Snyder’s of Hanover Sourdough Nibblers: With all the flavor of genuine, aged sourdough in a crunchy, bite-size shape, Snyder’s of Hanover Sourdough Nibblers are a delicious fatfree pretzel snack that are great for munching. These Non-GMO Project Verified pretzels are slow baked for a delicious crunch, and come in a 3.5-ounce bag for snacking on-the-go, at work, or at school.

Electrolit Launches Fresh Summer Campaign Electrolit—the preferred, premium hydration beverage made from pharmaceutical quality grade ingredients—is launching a fresh, modern campaign for Summer 2021 with a revamped digital and ad strategy. Focusing on Electrolit’s benefits for hydration, hangover,

heat exhaustion and illness, the refreshed brand direction will provide a special emphasis on the new Zero product line. Scientifically formulated with magElectrolit has introduced a new summer campaign to grow nesium, sodium, awareness nationwide. potassium, calcium and glucose, Electrolit is ideal for consumption after prolonged exposure to heat, physical activity, hangovers and sickness for immediate replenishment to the body. All of Electrolit’s products provide complete hydration when electrolytes and ions are low. This year, Electrolit launched its Zero line in response to growing consumer demand for lower calorie, lower sugar functional beverages, available in Berry Blast, Lemon Breeze and Fruit Punch Splash. Electrolit continues to grow their national footprint to select retailers, including 7-Eleven. Creative applications for the summer campaign include billboards, transit center displays, buses and banners, and social media activations launching across the country. Similar to the brand’s 2020 Summer campaign but updated with a modern direction in terms of color and design, the creative features a pop of bold color and contrasting black and white imagery to communicate Electrolit’s premium status and accessible format.

Advertiser’s Index

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

American Licorice .........................38

Ford Gum...........................................46


Anheuser Busch ................................8

Glanbia ........................................35, 36


Aon Risk Services....................18, 19


Monster............................................3, 31

Blue Bunny/Wells ...........................15

InComm ...............................................41

Stryve ...................................................57

Cima Confections ..........................23


Swedish Match ................................28


King Palm...........................................27

Swisher......................................... 11, 64


Living Essentials.............................24

Tell Industries...................................63

Diageo Guinness...............................5


Vita Coco .........................................6, 7


McLane ................................................32

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

Kissimmee, Florida

| August 1-4, 2021

Greater Oregon FOA San Diego FOA Annual Golf Tournament Day At The Races FOA Of Chicagoland Holiday Party

Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course North Plains, Oregon July 19, 2021 Phone: 503-516-3483

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Del Mar, California August 27, 2021 Phone: 619-713-2411

San Diego FOA & FOA Of Greater Los Angeles Trade Show

Southern California FOA Annual Trade Show

*Pandemic restrictions permitting

Pasadena Convention Center Pasadena, California September 22, 2021 Phone: 818-357-5985

Central Florida FOA 8th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Pechanga Resort & Casino Temecula, California July 21, 2021 Phone: 619-726-9016

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

FOA Of Chicagoland Annual Family Picnic Ned Brown Meadow (Grove #27) Cook County, Illinois August 21, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777 (*Pandemic restrictions permitting)

Texas FOA Trade Show Four Points by Sheraton Coppell, Texas August 25, 2021 Phone: 214-208-6116

San Diego FOA Vendor Appreciation Day Alesmith Brewing Company San Diego, California October 6, 2021 Phone: 619-713-2411

FOA Of Chicagoland Virtual Holiday Trade Show Venue TBD October 18-22 &, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777


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Orange County National Golf Course Winter Garden Florida November 5, 2021 Phone: 207-415-0924

Central Florida FOA 8th Annual Trade Show & Holiday Party DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando @ SeaWorld Orlando Florida November 6, 2021 Phone: 207-415-0924

South Nev/Las Vegas FOA Midwest FOA Holiday Showcase Annual Trade Show Alexis Park Resort Las Vegas, Nevada October 20, 2021 Phone: 702-561-0311

South Nev/ Las Vegas FOA Texas FOA Annual Charity Golf Charity Golf Tournament Tournament

Cowboys Golf Club Grapevine, Texas August 26, 2021 Phone: 214-208-6116

Venue TBD October 28, 2021 Phone: 847-343-7777

Rhodes Ranch Golf Club Las Vegas, Nevada October 21, 2021 Phone: 702-561-0311

Venue TBD December 8, 2021 Phone: 847-971-9457

San Diego FOA Christmas Party Hilton San Diego/Del Mar Del Mar, California December 11, 2021 Phone: 619-713-2411


Board meetings Vendors interested in sponsoring to appear at a Board meeting should contact John Riggio, JR Planners, at 262-394-5518 or johnr@jrplanners.com.

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

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

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