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November/December 2019

T H E

V O I C E

O F

7 - E L E V E N

F R A N C H I S E E S

Any Time, Any Place A Difficult Year Is It Time To Throw In The Towel? Adding Money To Your Bottom Line

Reconnecting: What’s in store for franchisees and corporate?

Slip, Trip And Fall Prevention

Sitting On Breaches Is A Serious Mistake Visit NCASEF.com and sign up for Dispatch!

Employee Retention: A Different Perspective

Save The Date! NCASEF 2020 CONVENTION Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center National Harbor, Maryland August 10-13, 2020

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Philadelphia, PA PERMIT No. 5634


THE VOIC E OF 7-ELEVEN FRANC H ISEES

November/December 2019

Contents 23 Sitting On Breaches Is A Serious Mistake By Jay Singh, Chairman, NCASEF, President, South Texas FOA

27 Employee Retention: A Different Perspective By Michael Jorgensen, Executive Vice Chairman, NCASEF, President, Central Florida FOA

31 Any Time, Any Place By Eric H. Karp, Esq., General Counsel, NCASEF

41 ADDING MONEY TO YOUR BOTTOM LINE WITH SYNERGI PARTNERS AND 7-ELEVEN Tax Incentives Help Recoup Franchise Start-Up And Payroll Costs

35 A Difficult Year By Ajinder Handa, Vice Chairman, NCASEF, President, Greater Northeast FOA

37 Is It Time To Throw In The Towel?

By Kyle Cunningham, Synergi Partners

45 SLIP, TRIP AND FALL PREVENTION FOR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES By John Harp, CSP, ARM— Risk Engineering Consultant, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group

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Visit NCASEF.com and Sign up for Dispatch

EN TM PA R DE

FOA OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GOES ON A HOLIDAY PARTY CRUISE

TS

By Arnie Hauptman, General Counsel, UFOLI New York

Member News.......................12

Bits & Pieces..................................14 Legislative Update..............................20 SEI News..............68 Vendor Focus......72 Franchisee Calendars........74

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. AVANTI N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9

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NATIONAL COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF 7-ELEVEN FRANCHISEES NATIONAL OFFICERS

Jatinder Singh

NCASEF Executive Officers Reelected

NATIONAL CHAIRMAN

Jay Singh, Michael Jorgensen, and Jaspreet Dhillon were reelected to serve as executive officers of the National Coalition during the 2020-2021 term. The election was held during the October The NCASEF Board of Directors reelected Michael Jorgensen NCASEF Board of Direc- (Executive Vice Chairman), Jay Singh (Chairman), and Jaspreet tors meeting in Atlantic Dhillon (Treasurer) for two-year terms covering the years City, New Jersey. Jay Singh 2020-21. In October 2020, NCASEF will hold elections for its will return as Chairman, three vice chairman positions. Michael Jorgensen as Exfrom this leadership team. Inclusive deecutive Vice Chairman and Jaspreet bate in a constructive environment will Dhillon as Treasurer. The team said one help us all improve.” of their top priorities is to create a communications committee. For over a year, the Board has tried to establish an open dialogue with corporate headquarters. “Transparent communication and collaboration between franchisor and SEI has announced it is expanding franchisees is critical to move this brand in Pittsburgh with more than 20 stores forward so all can benefit. We want to available for franchising. The Pittstap the brightest among our members burgh-area stores are currently branded and get them on this committee so we Sunoco A-Plus and were part of an can speak with a strong and unified 1,100-store acquisition from Sunoco in voice and help shape the future of 72018, the largest in 7-Eleven history. In Eleven,” said Jorgensen. “We especially a released statement, SEI said these want the committee to include those stores would be formally rebranded as whose thoughts and opinions differ continued on page 14

EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN

702-249-3301 • jays@ncasef.com

Michael Jorgensen

7-Eleven Expands In Pittsburgh Area

347-251-1828 • mcjorg@yahoo.com

Paul Lobana VICE CHAIRMAN

818-203-2527 • paullobana@aol.com

Rehan Hashmi VICE CHAIRMAN

847-845-8477 • rehan711@yahoo.com

Ajinder Handa VICE CHAIRMAN

425-438-8381 • ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com

Shawn Howard OFFICE MANAGER

210-971-9211 • shawnh@ncasef.com

Eric H. Karp, Esq. GENERAL COUNSEL

617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com

John Riggio MEETING/TRADE SHOW COORDINATOR

262-275-3086 • jrpinc@charter.net

Sheldon Smith AVANTI PUBLISHER ADVERTISING MANAGER

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

Sheldon Smith PUBLISHE R & ADVERTISING SALES 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. 12

AVA N T I N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9

John Santiago ASSISTANT EDITOR 215 750-0178 AVANTIMAG@VERIZON.NET

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 November/December 2019 © 2019 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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7-Eleven stores prior to franchising. The company held two franchise seminars at its regional office—on November 20 and December 14—for local residents interested in becoming 7Eleven storeowners. The stores available for franchise are located in Pittsburgh (7), Greensburg (3), New Kensington (2), Butler (2), Aliquippa (2), New Castle, Ellwood City, Bethel Park, McKees Rocks, Verona, Youngwood, Latrobe, Mount Lebanon, Beaver, Ambridge, Jeanette, Castle Shannon, Bridgeville, Johnstown, Millvale, East Pittsburgh and West Mifflin. 7-Eleven operates an additional 300+ stores in Pennsylvania.

“C-stores are projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.4 percent over the next five years, the highest among all offline retail channels, according to research company Edge by Ascential.”

C-Stores & Discount Chains to Grow Fastest In U.S. Discount and convenience stores in the U.S. are projected to grow faster than all other offline retail channels over the next five years, reflecting consumers' increased focus on price and speed, according to an analysis from ecommerce insights company Edge by Ascential. Non-food discount, food discount and convenience stores are all projected for annual growth rates above 5 percent, whereas all other offline retailers—aside from membership club stores—are projected at annual growth rates of 3 percent or below. Convenience stores are projected for the highest growth at 5.4 percent, with 14

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discount and non-food discount stores projected at 5.3 percent and 5 percent, respectively. The study reveals that convenience stores will continue to thrive due to urbanization, declining household sizes and preferences for smaller shopping missions. They are also proving relatively resistant to share loss from online retailers, with only a 0.2-percent loss in share from 2013-2018.

Fundraiser For Family Of Slain Denver Franchisee The franchisee community mourns the loss of a fellow storeowner, and has united to support his family during their time of grief. Denver franchisee Tamerat Abebe was murdered in his store in late November by an employee. He was passionate about his stores and the 7Eleven brand, and was known for his genuine smile and friendliness. Tamerat leaves behind a wife and three young children. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family through this time of loss and sadness. If you would continued on page 16

Walgreens is developing more than 30 “small store” pharmacies largely in urban areas that the chain says will have a health and wellness focus in the location’s front end, reported Forbes. • Amazon is now offering free AmazonFresh grocery delivery to its Prime members, reported The Motley Fool. The service previously cost $14.99 per month on top of a Prime membership. • To continue promoting a cashless society, 7-Eleven Malaysia and Touch ’n Go eWallet recently announced their collaboration, enabling customers to make purchases with their smartphones at every 7-Eleven outlet in Malaysia, reported KLGadgetGuy.com. • British-Dutch oil company Shell recently installed its first electric vehicle chargers under the Shell Recharge brand in the U.S., at Boston’s Logan airport, reported The Driven. Shell is cementing a position in the growing electric mobility industry in anticipation of disruption of its key fossil fuel markets. • Consumers spent a record $7.4 billion online this past Black Friday, marking the largest sales day ever for the day, reported CNBC. The $7.4 billion is a jump of nearly 20 percent from last year’s total, with the average order value per consumer coming in at $168, or six percent higher than last year. • Japan’s FamilyMart is making strong inroads into Malaysia, offering a new concept in retail with a focus on fresh food and ruffling the convenience store sector that has been largely dominated by 7Eleven and MyNews, reported The Malaysian Reserve. • Americans received a record-setting 5.7 billion spam calls in October, reported Forbes, citing a new study by telecommunications services comcontinued on page 18


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like to donate, please visit www.gofundme.com/f/fundraiser-for-the-family-of-tamerat-abebe. > Donate to the family slain Denver franchisee Tamerat Abebe: www.gofundme.com/f/fundraiser-forthe-family-of-tamerat-abebe

Seven-Eleven Japan To End Some 24-Hour Operations Seven-Eleven Japan recently said it will end 24-hour operations at some stores, becoming the first major convenience store operator to scale back around-the-clock hours to address a labor crunch, reported Japan Today. Eight stores started cutting back on their operating hours on November 1, as they are finding it increasingly difficult to staff the night shift. Additional stores may also shorten their operating hours, joining some 200 outlets—out of a total of 21,000 nationwide—that are currently trying out shorter hours on a trial basis. Seven-Eleven Japan decided to try out the shorter operating hours after a franchise owner in Osaka stirred controversy, saying he cut business hours at his store without getting approval from the franchisor because of a labor shortage.

Friday Busiest Day For C-stores

“According to GasBuddy’s most recent quarterly foot traffic study, the difference between the busiest and slowest days was only 2.66 percent more business.” tomer needs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. GasBuddy’s analysis examined more than 24 million consumer visits between July 1 and September 30, 2019, providing actionable insights into consumer behavior and the factors that influence foot traffic. Other key study highlights include: the busiest hours during Q3 were all in the afternoon and early evening—highlighting the growing trend of convenience stores owning the lunch daypart; and gas stations with above-average outdoor lighting ratings drove 16.54 percent more visits than their below-average counterparts.

Sheetz First C-Store To Offer Beyond Burger Sheetz has partnered with Beyond Meat to became the first U.S. convenience chain to introduce the plantbased Beyond Burger, now available at

Friday was the busiest day for fuel and convenience retailers in Q3 with 15.61 percent of weekly visits, according to GasBuddy’s most recent quarterly foot traffic study. However, the spread between the busiest and slowest days was only 2.66 percentage points—a sign that today’s retailers are meeting cus16

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“Sheetz is the first U.S. c-store chain to offer the plant-based Beyond Burger.”

all of its 597 store locations. In a released statement, the company said its new Beyond Burger offers on-the-go customers a protein packed, 100 percent plant-based meat option, but with the same delicious taste and texture of a traditional beef burger. Sheetz added that its new Beyond Burger can be customized with over 47 options, including seven different bread choices, seven different cheese choices, 20 different toppings, and 13 different spreads. Retail price starts at $6.99 and varies by customization and toppings.

More International C-Store Chains Buying Units In the U.S. In the last two years, the U.S. convenience channel has seen an increase in new international players competing for store acquisitions—and in many cases, winning them, reported Convenience Store News. These new players include Enex, a Chilean company that entered the U.S. late last year with its acquisition of the Road Ranger chain based in Rockford, Ill.; and Applegreen plc, which jumped from five U.S. sites in 2015 to more than 120 at the end of 2018, and just recently announced its purchase of another 46 stores from CrossAmerica Partners LP in the Upper Midwest. But one of the biggest newcomers is United Kingdom-based EG Group, which entered the U.S. in 2018 and now has more than 1,000 locacontinued on page 18


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tions across 24 states. That doesn’t include the company’s recent agreement to acquire Westborough, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms, which will add another 600 stores to its rapidly expanding U.S. portfolio. The article states these international companies are creating competition for those U.S. c-store chains looking to acquire new stores and those that will find these foreign entities entering their markets.

Amazon Is Planning Large Cashierless Supermarkets Amazon is preparing to open large Amazon Go supermarkets and small pop-up kiosks next year, an expansion of the company’s cashierless ambitions that includes the possibility of licensing the technology to other retailers, reported Bloomberg. The new store formats and licensing initiative could launch as soon as the first quarter of 2020. Amazon is testing a supermarket equipped with Go technology in a 10,400-square-foot retail space in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, and currently operates compact Amazon Go convenience stores in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The Go expansion is Amazon’s latest attempt to compete in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry and perhaps

other areas of retail, as well. The company already operates the Whole Foods Market chain and recently confirmed plans to launch a separate supermarket brand, starting with a location in the upscale Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Those stores will have human cashiers.

Americans Spend Nearly $30k On Snacks In Their Lifetime The average American spends $9.22 a week on snacks, which adds up to $479.44 a year and $28,766.40 during their lifetime, reported the New York Post, citing new research conducted by OnePoll. When it comes to deciding whether to go sweet or salty, re- “Eighty percent spondents were of sweet split—with 37 snackers and percent preferring something 84 percent of sweet and 34 salty snackers percent prefer- say potato ring something chips are a salty. Sweet and salty snackers staple of their have found com- snacking.” mon ground through a classic snack—potato chips, with 80 percent of sweet snackers and 84 percent of salty snackers saying it’s a staple of theirs. Even though sweet snackers enjoy the occasional salty snack, their go-to is milk chocolate, at 83 percent. Salty

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pany YouMail. That’s 182 million calls per day or about 2,115 calls received by Americans every second. • Ford is trying to do its part to combat climate change by recycling old coffee waste from McDonald’s into car parts, reported The Verge. Ford will be taking the coffee chaff—the dried skin of the bean that naturally comes off during the roasting process—from the fast food giant, and engineering it into bioplastics for use in its cars. • E-skimming is posing a threat to online shoppers this holiday season, because thieves are inserting a skimming code on retailers’ checkout pages to snatch credit card information and personal details, reported Fast Company. The cyber criminals then sell the stolen data or use the info to make purchases themselves. • McDonald’s has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last several months to acquire technology companies that specialize in artificial intelligence and machine learning in order to market food more strategically and to tailor a list of suggested purchases to a customer’s previous orders, reported the Seattle Times. • U.S. retail sales rose 0.3 percent in October from the previous month and sales in the first 10 months of the year were up 3.1 percent over the same period in 2018, according to the Commerce Department. Auto and fuel sales led the October increase, and consumers cut back on spending on apparel and big-ticket purchases. • Americans spend approximately $552+ million on Thanksgiving turkeys each year, with 46 million turkeys killed for the holiday, according to WalletHub’s annual Thanksgiving Fun Facts Infographic. The report also states that the average person’s spending over the fiveday Thanksgiving period is $313. • Kroger continued on page 24

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Legislative Update Denver Raises Minimum Wage e Denver City Council recently increased the citywide minimum wage to nearly $16 per hour, reported the Denver Post. e new law requires employers to bump hourly employees to at least $12.85 on January 1, with a second raise to $14.77 following at the start of 2021, and a third to $15.87 in 2022. Aer that, the new law mandates that it will then be adjusted annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. e new measure also requires that all adults, regardless of their ability or disability, must be paid the minimum wage. Public comment was overwhelmingly, if not entirely, in favor of the law, which places Denver as the first Colorado city to raise the local minimum wage.

New Jersey Could Allow C-Store Beer Sales New Jersey lawmakers recently wrapped up a series of hearings aimed at determining what, if any, changes should and can be made to the way liquor licenses are doled out, reported New Jersey 101.5FM. Convenience store owners in New Jersey are among those interested in gaining the ability to “79 PERCENT OF CONVENIENCE sell alcohol. e executive diSTORES IN THE COUNTRY ARE rector of the New Jersey GasoPERMITTED TO SELL BEER.” line, C-Store, Automotive Association, said 79 percent of convenience stores elsewhere in the country are permitted to sell beer, but in New Jersey it's illegal. However, a member of the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association said permitting convenience stores and supermarkets to sell alcohol will negatively impact family-owned private businesses in this industry. e items that convenience stores would be selling—single beers and six-packs—are the same items that turn the most profit for liquor stores, the member said. 20

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Baltimore Approves Plastic Bag Ban Baltimore lawmakers recently passed a bill that bans retailers’ use of plastic bags, reported the Baltimore Sun. e measure now advances to the desk of Democratic Mayor Bernard C. Young. e bill forbids retailers from giving out plastic bags, and requires them to charge a nickel for any other bag they supply to shoppers, including paper bags. It applies to grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants and gas stations. Retailers would keep 4 cents from the fee for each alternative bag they supply, such as a paper bag, with a penny going to city coffers. Retailers found to violate the ban three times or more would face a fine of up to $1,000. e legislation would go into effect in late 2020, a year aer the mayor signs it or allows it to become law without his signature.

New Jersey Moves Closer To Bag Ban A proposed bill in New Jersey would impose some of the most stringent regulations on plastic bags, plastic straws and polystyrene food containers in the nation, reported NorthJersey.com. Although the bill is changing quite a bit as it makes its way through the state capitol, in its current version it would prohibit all retail stores—along with restaurants, convenience stores, coffee shops, food trucks, catering halls, cafeterias and similar food businesses in New Jersey—from giving customers a carryout plastic bag of any thickness beginning as early as 2021. Additionally, for two months aer the bag ban takes effect, supermarkets would be required to provide reusable carryout bags to customers for free. As early as 2022, no one would be able to sell a polystyrene foam foodservice product, and most restaurants would not be able to give out a polystyrene foam foodservice product. Plastic straws would not be banned, but as early as 2021 restaurants could give one to a customer only upon request. continued next page


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Legislative Update annual compliance checks. The ordinance goes into effect January 1. Listed below are the latest tobacco legislation and regulaCALIFORNIA tion proposals and approved changes happening across the • Los Angeles—On October 1, the Los Angeles County Board country, as reported by Convenience Store News. of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of flavored ARIZONA tobacco products, including menthol. e legislation went • Tucson—The Tucson City Council voted to hike the legal into effect in November. Tobacco retailers will have 180 days minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. As part of the to obtain new licenses required under the ordinance and to measure, retailers who sell tobacco will now be required to remove flavored tobacco products from their obtain a retail stores. license, and the “ON OCTOBER 1, THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY • San Diego—e Board of Supervisors apfees from the liBOARD OF SUPERVISORS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO proved a one-year ban on the sale and districenses will continued on page 49 BAN THE SALE OF FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS, cover the cost of

Tobacco Legislation Roundup

INCLUDING MENTHOL.”


Sitting On Breaches Is A Serious Mistake BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF, PRESIDENT, SAN ANTONIO FOA

When you franchise a 7-Eleven store, it is basic procedure to sign the store agreement. The agreement acts as the legal document that governs the relationship between the franchisee and 7-Eleven. A Letter of Notification, or “LON.” is often the first warning to the franchisee that there is a problem, and it generally lays down in writing just what the franchisee needs to do to solve it and implement a fix. If SEI believes that the problem is not fixed, or if the problem is of another serious nature, the company issues a breach notice, some of which can be cured, and some that cannot. If a franchisee receives three valid breaches in two years without curing, the fourth breach is license for SEI to begin proceedings to take the store away. Many of the alleged breaches we hear about today have to do with store cleanliness and foodservice; with our thriving economy and low unemployment rate it is a battle to get good employees. We can easily get behind when the shifts pile up and there’s no one to work them. Our current 2019 agreement, in addition to the insurance and indemnification requirements, emphasizes 7-Eleven foodservice standards. It lists all kinds of breaches and rules for termination, from 45-day notices, to 30-day notices with the right to cure, 30-day notices with no right to cure, and three-day cure and no cure notices. A 45-day notice could include allegations of the franchise not adhering to 24-hour operations, not properly maintaining the store and the equipment, or using equipment for something other than store business. Thirty-day notices are a little more serious, alleging things like jeopardizing the store and the service mark, selling fraudulent products, not

paying your debts or taxes, or not maintaining worker’s compensation. Thirty-day notices without the right to cure include things like filing for bankruptcy, selling part of your store, or being convicted of a felony. The most serious violations with three days to cure occur when SEI takes the position the franchisee has not complied with the net worth minimum, has not properly recorded or delivered cash reports, deposit slips, and other supporting documents, or is not permitting an audit to take place or denying access to

any part of the store. The most serious three-day no-right-to-cure breaches include accusations of abandoning the store, crimes of moral turpitude, or disclosure of confidential information about the 7-Eleven system. If you do receive an LON or breach notice, examine the allegations very carefully. The facts alleged by SEI may be wrong, incomplete or indicative of improper motivations. What SEI says in an LON or breach notice is not proof of

“No franchisee should let any LON or breach go without curing, and a legal reply in writing to any breach is a must. If you have three uncured breaches in under two years and you receive a fourth breach, you are at the crucial threshold for franchisees.” anything. If there has been a violation, the first thing to do is correct the violation or follow the policies, and notify your field consultant in writing what you have done to comply and when you did it. Attach pictures to your email or text. Then invite the FC to walk the store with you, make sure the problem is corrected, and later write a letter indicating that the offense is written off or satisfied. No franchisee should let any LON or breach notice go without responding to and/or curing it, and a written legal reply in writing to any breach notice is a must! If you have three uncured breaches in under two years and you receive a fourth breach notice, you are at the crucial threshold for franchisees. With a fourth valid breach, the company can immediately terminate your agreement, bring in a company to clean and organize your store, and pass the cost onto you. Foodservice is a serious business for 7-Eleven nowadays, and as an NCASEF officer, an FOA president or vice presicontinued on page 24

“As FOA leaders, we have a duty to tell all of our franchisees to, ‘Please keep your stores clean, cure your breaches and your LONs, and do not let your problems go to the final stage.’” AVANTI N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9

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Sitting On Breaches Is A Serious Mistake “Most FOAs have a local lawyer who helps them in certain cases and is familiar with the 7-Eleven contract.” dent, or a local leader, we all have a duty to tell our franchisees to, “Please keep your stores clean, cure your valid breaches and your LONs, and do not let your problems go to the final stage.” If you do get into an LON or breach situation, remember that you have help at your disposal. Contact your local FOA and talk to a Board member. Most FOAs have a local lawyer who helps them in certain cases and is familiar with the 7-Eleven contract. If you cannot find legal help locally, please call me at the National Office and we will help you. Our General Counsel Eric Karp, and our former General Counsel Arnold Hauptmann, are both available to answer questions and help you work out even the most serious problems.

If it’s just a cleanliness problem and you need help, call your local FOA. Most FOAs can find four or five people willing to spend a day helping you clean and organize your store. Bottom line: do not ignore LONs and breaches. Take care of any problems, get some legal advice, and respond in writing. It is not worth losing your store over something you can cure and avoid. We do not want any franchisee to go through this. Contact Information Eric H. Karp NCASEF General Counsel 617-423-7250 ekarp@wkwrlaw.com Arnold J. Hauptman, Esq. UFOLI General Counsel 516 541-7200 ajhauptman@aol.com

JAY SINGH

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 43 FOAs nationwide. To join your local organization, contact the FOA president closest to you, or follow the instructions below to fill out an online membership form. If you cannot find the FOA closest to you, contact nationaloffice@ncasef.com for more information. We welcome your participation!

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and Walgreens are teaming up to cut costs by sourcing more merchandise together, reported CNBC. With what they call the Retail Procurement Alliance, the chain retailers will look for overlaps in the products they are receiving so that they can combine their orders and lower costs. • Tuna maker Bumble Bee Foods has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with an agreement from Taiwanbased FCF Fishery—its largest creditor—to purchase its assets for roughly $925 million, reported CNBC. • PepsiCo, Inc. recently announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire better-for-you snack company BFY Brands, the maker of PopCorners snacks. Upon closing, BFY Brands will become part of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division. • Many traditional row-crop farmers planted hemp this year with hopes

CAN BE REACHED AT 702-249-3301 OR JAYS@NCASEF.COM

Join Your Local Franchise Owner’s Association Today!

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How do I join? 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.


Employee Retention: A Different Perspective BY MICHAEL JORGENSEN, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN, NCASEF

Many of the biggest issues franchisees face today revolve around employment and employees. Almost daily we hear about employment reports—we are inundated with news about unemployment in the U.S. being at record lows. U.S. unemployment began January 2019 at the exceptionally low rate of 3.9 percent, and succeeded in dropping to 3.5 percent by November 2019. This is the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. At the same time, minimum wages are being increased everywhere. Nine- teen states and the District of Columbia increased their minimum wage in 2019, and the trend shows no signs stopping. Advocates in the national “Fight for $15” movement have pushed for living wages in retail, fast food, and the childcare industry, and have been successful in some states. At the same time, we are competing for employees in an extremely competitive labor market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), at convenience stores with gas stations in October 2014, the national average pay rate for hourly employees was $10.57, whereas the October 2019 hourly rate was $11.98—an increase of 13.3 percent. The hourly pay rate with the inclusion of supervisory employees (salaried, managers) increased 18 percent during the same period, from $11.99 to $14.15. The BLS reports also show average weekly hours worked changed only slightly from 2014 to 2019, from 31.5 hours per employee to 31.7. The most significant change is the national average weekly earnings per employee, which increased 18.75 percent

over the five years from $377.69 a week in October 2014 to $448.56 in October 2019. In contrast the previous fiveyear period, from October 2009 to October 2014 saw an increase of average weekly wages per employee of only $10.85, or 2.96 percent. (There are many reports available on the internet that show the state of our business. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics web site has a treasure trove. For information geeks, the link is https://beta.bls.gov.) One of the more immediate concerns relating to employment matters is employee retention. Employee retention is vital to the suc-

“To truly understand why we have an employee recruitment and retention issue, we need to look beyond compensation and benefits.”

cess of our business and infrastructure, which will have a significant impact on our customer satisfaction and our bottom line

profit. In this very challenging labor market, we are struggling to recruit and retain the best caliber employees. Recently, we received an email regarding the addition of benefits for our employees where they can get discounts at participating companies. While this is a nice offer for ourworkers, it is what I would refer to as a cough drop. To truly understand why we have an employee recruitment and retention issue, we need to look beyond compensation and benefits. We need to assess the tasks assigned to the role, the flexibility, the stress level, complexity, training and education required, etc. We hire them, pay them, insure them, and assign job responsibilities, but is enough being done by our franchisor to address all of the obstacles we are facing along with our employees? Are front line employees front of mind, and is everyone in the system doing all they can to understand their issues from the bottom up, at the core? If we don’t understand employment issues, our solutions will be as useful as treating the flu with a cough drop. Your throat may feel better for a short period, but along with still suffering all other symptoms, your sore throat will soon recontinued on page 28

“Are front line employees front of mind, and is everyone in the system doing all they can to understand their issues from the bottom up, at the core?” AVANTI N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9

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Employee Retention continued from page 27

turn and your illness and suffering will continue until properly treated. 7-Eleven controls the direction of the business, along with store design, and so much more that impacts our labor. Franchisees’ largest expense line, by far, is labor, and it doesn’t look to be getting better anytime in the near future.

“What is surprising is that with the 2019 agreement, 7-Eleven moved the financials even more in their favor and placed even more of a burden on franchisees.” None of these numbers above should be surprising. What is surprising is that with the 2019 agreement, 7-Eleven moved the financials even more in their favor and placed even more of a burden on franchisees. It is important to note that the economics of our gross profit split differentiates us from our competitors and is exacerbating our current condition. This is all happening at the same time 7-Eleven is asking us to demand more of our employees, each month conducting CEV shops, secretly recorded videos of store conditions and employee performance. I continually see signs posted at our competitors and at other establishments for wages that are well in excess of minimum wage. I always ask myself, “If I were looking for another job, would my first choice be a 7-Eleven?” We need to challenge the company to look at our system and stores the same way. Every FC, MM, CEO RT member, NBLC member and Executive should answer this same question. Unfortunately, today, I can tell you that my answer, from a sales associate perspective, would be “No.” Why? 1. Because of what WE demand of 28

our staff. We ask our staff to wear so many different hats, while many of our competitors and other businesses competing for the same employee pool limit the scope of duties. While at Wawa or Quik Check there are team members who work either in the food service area or the check out area (Wawa does not have clerk serve lotto/lottery in Florida, only self-serve terminals), our employees work the sales counter, handling all store duties and sales transactions. 2. Because, across the large majority of our stores, we don’t provide the proper equipment or an ergonomic workspace. Our competitors design their stores with employee tasks in mind. A video of Dave Carpenter’s new store in Colorado shows where he designed with his associates in mind, and this serves as a great example of how this can be done. A few examples of how we continue to frustrate employees are undersized and un-piped drain trays, no sinks at coffee bars, inconvenient location for food to be cooked upon request, cooler design, undersized storage space, etc. 3. Because, the wages and benefits across the majority of our stores and available positions are not commensurate with the workload. I have seen a number of slides over the years that show different investments in software and technology made by SEI that have saved employees time in various tasks and have correlated those time savings to cost savings for franchisees. I believe one example was the lottery enhancements. Please do not misunderstand. I am extremely thankful for these enhancements, but the reality is the time saved is just allocated to another task or new initiative. Regardless of the structure of our model, franchised or corporate, the store

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design should accomplish the same goals. Store simplification needs to be revisited from the position of a sales associate. Every program or process should be vetted by an operations team—not of executives, market managers, FCs, or even franchisees—but of actual sales associates who work in stores. Ask them for their honest opinion and give them the proper time to test things that will actually affect them, and therefore, us. This is the MVP in our current situation if we are to win. Sales associates are the key to our success in implementing any and all plans for improvement. These are the people who complete the job assignments when we are not present, our greeters and plus sellers. We need to investment not only in the right equipment to ensure we have what our customers want, but also the right equipment and design to make our stores more enticing for a new generation of employees. It needs to be an easier place to work and a place where the financials work for the franchisees so that they can compete within the marketplace from a wage and benefit perspective. We can do it, but we need understanding from corporate about our current state. We need to finally be better. 7-Eleven should also modify the 2019 agreement to compensate franchisees accordingly so we can remain competitive in the labor market. Our competitors are providing nicer, better-designed places to work with the employees front of mind, and with the competition for labor at a higher wage rate, our franchise agreement does not allow us to compete effectively for the best labor the market has to offer.

MICHAEL JORGENSEN CAN BE REACHED AT

JORGENSEN.NCASEF@GMAIL.COM OR 347-251-1828


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Any Time, Any Place ERIC H. KARP, ESQ., GENERAL COUNSEL TO NCASEF

As I near the completion of four decades of representing independent franchisee associations, my perspective is shaped by the wide variety of very different relationships between franchisors and their franchisee communities that I have witnessed and participated in. These range from the highly collaborative, partnership-like and mutually respectful relationships that I have had the pleasure to observe and participate in a number of franchise systems, to relationships where the parties do not do much more than tolerate each other, to the truly toxic relationship that currently exists between SEI and its franchisees. My article in this publication, labeled May/June 2016, was predicated on what franchisees believed was a secret, behindthe-scenes creation of a 2019 franchise agreement without meaningful input, negotiation or collaboration with franchisees. That reality was realized with the “take or leave it, sign this or it will be much worse when you renew” approach that SEI pursued. In that 2016 article, I observed that the culture of a franchise system is at least as important as the text of the franchise agreement that legally governs the relationship, and that the culture of this system would have to change if the relationship is going to grow. I pointed to the National Coalition survey, which found that 75 percent of respondents stated SEI did not trust its franchisees, only 37 percent were proud to be SEI

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

franchisees, only 26 percent would fran- “The lesson here is that it doesn’t matter chise all over again if given the chance, and how the relationship between SEI and its only 16 percent would franchisees evolved into one of the worst recommend an SEI franchise to family or relationships in the country between a friends. Tellingly, only franchisor and its franchisees. What matters 9 percent believed that is what we all choose to do about it.” SEI treats them as inHere is what I observed dependent contractors. about the culture of the These observations SEI franchise system in obviously fell on deaf 2016, words which are no ears. As I related in the less true today: article, SEI conducted If asked to provide a its own survey in 2016. franchise culture mission The National Coalition statement of this comproposed that prior to pany, which likely does publishing its survey renot exist on paper, but is sults, we exchange the survey results in a nonpublic setting. This nevertheless readily apparent to all franwould have given the parties an opportu- chisees and their representatives, I would nity to have a meaningful dialogue about say that it would be marked by lack of the issues and concerns demonstrated by transparency; hidden agendas; treatment of franchisees as de facto store managers both surveys. The offer was declined. and not independent contractors; heavyhanded store level supervision and over“Over the last three years sight; franchise system governance we have repeatedly through LONS and default notices; and signaled to SEI that it is generally keeping franchisees at armsnow well past time for the length to the maximum extent possible. In a later issue of Avanti, I urged parties to sit down, forget franchisees and SEI to carefully review the October 2016 issue of the Harvard why the relationship has Business Review, written by Cheryl deteriorated to the point Bachelder, then the CEO of Popeye’s that it has, and engage in a Louisiana Chicken. The title of her article meaningful, collaborative, is “The CEO of Popeyes on Treating Franchisees as the Most Important Custransparent and good tomers.” I explained how her philosophy

faith dialogue.”

continued on page 32

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Any Time, Any Place continued from page 31

of collaboration and transparency led to a 33 percent increase in the number of franchised restaurants, and a nearly 400 percent increase in the price of its publicly held shares during her tenure. In that article, I described how in the Popeye’s system, contracts with supply chain providers were negotiated by the franchisee association in partnership with the franchisor, the association was an integral part of the franchisor’s annual convention, all changes in the franchisor’s written policies were submitted for review and comment, and all changes to the franchise disclosure document and franchise agreement were similarly submitted for review and comment prior to being published and finalized. I pointed out these aspects of the relationship between Popeye’s and its franchisees to illustrate the contrast with SEI.

Searching for an analogy to the current sorry state of the relationship, I came upon what everyone would argue is the most famous American feud, that be-

“As General Counsel of the National Coalition, I am willing to meet with any number or combination of SEI lawyers, both internal and external, as well as any number or combination of SEI executives to engage in such a dialogue without preconditions.”

tween the Hatfield and McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky. The feud, which has been the subject of films, TV shows, music and literature, appeared to begin in 1862 during the Civil War and was not declared officially over until June 14, 2003. It involved a number of gun battles, and litigation that eventually found its way to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1888. More than 100 people lost their lives along the way. In the dispute between SEI and its franchisees, what has been murdered is the relationship between the parties. There are two principal takeaways from the Hatfields and McCoys that have application to the 7-Eleven system. First, as with any feud, you rapidly reach the point where neither side can agree on who bears responsibility for cre-


ating the feud in the first place. In the case of the Hatfields and the McCoys, the outset of feud was the killing of a member of the McCoy family for which a member of the Hatfield family was blamed. However, it was proved that the Hatfield in question was not at the murder scene, and although his uncle was suspected, no proof was ever produced. So it is with SEI and its franchisee community. SEI would no doubt say that the state of the relationship is the responsibility of the National Coalition because of the filing of the misclassification lawsuits in Massachusetts, California and Illinois. The National Coalition would say many things in response, including that what preceded those lawsuits was the absolute refusal of SEI to approach the 2019 franchise agreement as a collaboration and a ne-

gotiation, insufficient attention to the franchisees’ bottom line, and the issuance of a franchise agreement which further elevated the already pervasive control that it exercises over the day-today operation of franchised stores. The lesson here is that it doesn’t matter how the relationship between SEI and its franchisees evolved into one of the worst relationships between a franchisor and its franchisees in the country. What matters is what we all choose to do about it. Second, even a feud as intractable and multigenerational as that which involved the Hatfields and McCoys can be resolved when cooler heads prevail. The Hatfield and McCoy families eventually united for a joint appearance on the popular game show Family Feud, and a family reunion attended by more than 5,000 people was organized in 2000. So it is

with the relationship between SEI and the National Coalition in particular and its franchisees in general. Over the last three years we have repeatedly signaled to SEI that it is now well past time for the parties to sit down, forget why the relationship has deteriorated to the point that it has, and engage in a meaningful, collaborative, transparent and good faith dialogue about how to meet the internal and external challenges that face franchisees every day. So to be clear, as General Counsel of the National Coalition, I am willing to meet with any number or combination of SEI lawyers, both internal and external, as well as any number or combination of SEI executives to engage in such a dialogue without preconditions. It is never too late. Any time. Any place.


Vice Chairs’ Forum

A DIFFICULT YEAR BY A.J. HANDA, NNCASEF VICE CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT, GREATER NORTHWEST FOA

It’s been almost a year since the 2019 agreement was im- increases, franchisees are forced to work much longer hours, plemented. As expected, it’s been a very rough ride for fran- which ultimately decreases their desire to continue to own chisees. Nationwide, about 15 percent of stores are for sale. their stores, especially when they are losing their GP to SEI. 6. Leaving the system. Since franchisees are not able to SEI claims that they still have demand in the market. However, why are there almost 15 percent of stores for sale if there see any help coming from SEI on the horizon, many have either returned their stores or sold to the next would-be sufferer. is high demand? Let’s dive in and explore what’s going on. 1. New SEI programs. These programs—such as 7Now I believe this cycle will continue for the foreseeable future. Considering this, let’s think about who will keep winning delivery, $1 coffee, and especially around hot and fresh if nothing is done. A handful of National Coalition Board foods—are extremely labor intensive. 2. Government mandates eating away sales. SEI doesn’t members came up with the idea of communicating with SEI to reach some common want to resist these mandates. 7ground. In fact, our ChairEleven executives have mentioned “SEI CLAIMS THAT THEY STILL man, Jay Singh, has reached on many occasions that they want out a number of times to to keep their image clean. HAVE DEMAND IN THE MARKET. restart direct dialogue be3. Labor crunch across the WHY ARE ALMOST 15 PERCENT tween the National Coalition nation. Currently, unemployment OF STORES FOR SALE IF THERE and SEI, but his attempts is less than 3.7 percent. It is nearly IS HIGH DEMAND?” continue to be rebuffed. In impossible to find bodies to stand the most recent response, behind the counter, and franSEI claims that they have chisees are doing their best to cover employees’ shifts. In our all the franchisee commulocal social media group, which is made up of both corporate nication and feedback they people and franchisees, a corporate manager asked if someneed in the forms of the one could come relieve him because he had already done a CEO Roundtable, the double shift. NBLC, and the Zone Lead4. Minimum wage increases. Raising the minimum wage ership meetings. Considerby only $1 an hour can cost a small business owner thousands ing this, then one must ask of dollars in payroll expenses. According to a third-party sur- why are franchisees still struggling? “DUE TO THE NEW The NCASEF executive team knows that we need to vey of 500 small business ownAGREEMENT, LABOR communicate and work with SEI to move the system and ers across the country, 30 CRUNCH, AND percent say they will be forced Brand forward for the benefit of all parties. Trust on both MINIMUM WAGE to let employees go when the sides is severely broken, but we need to start somewhere. INCREASES, minimum wage rises in their The election for officers just concluded with Jay Singh, FRANCHISEES ARE state. Another 28 percent Michael Jorgensen and Jaspreet Dhillon remaining in their FORCED TO WORK admit a higher minimum wage positions for an additional two years. It's time to open some MUCH LONGER would restrict them from hir- communication that can get us on the right track. RememHOURS, WHICH ULing additional help, and there- ber, communication is a two-way street. TIMATELY DEMy advice to all my fore make it harder to grow CREASES THEIR friends is this: Let’s wake up their businesses. DESIRE TO CONA.J. HANDA CAN BE REACHED AT TINUE TO OWN 5. Franchisee burnout. Due and think about what’s coming 425-438-8381 or THEIR STORES.” to the new agreement, labor for us in the future. ajinderhanda@hotmail.com crunch, and minimum wage AVANTI N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9

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Legal Guest Column

IS IT TIME TO THROW IN THE TOWEL? By Arnie Hauptman, General Counsel, UFOLI New York Hard as it may be for some 7-Eleven franchisees to consider, is your business (or lack thereof) at such a point that “throwing in the towel” or merely handing the store back to 7-Eleven is the financially prudent thing to do? Such a decision demands that your head and not your heart be the guiding force. Unimaginably, only a short time ago, successive versions of the Store Agreement, with each containing more onerous terms than the last, have made this question not only conceivable to ponder but, in many cases, a necessity. Sure, there are stores that are making a decent or even good bottom line profit. A profit that permits a franchisee to live in a pleasant home, educate his or her children, take a vacation now and then, and generally live the American middle-class lifestyle. Operating a 24/7/365 business, anyone would think, should entitle you to such basic enjoyments of life. Alas, such stores are becoming fewer and fewer, and many are simply not worth the time, effort, and money to continue operations and probably should be closed. The thought of selling these stores for its goodwill is a fantasy. This is, of course, a very challenging and life-changing decision that should be made in consultation with your accountant or financial advisor. However, certain occurrences make the decision to give up, unavoidable. Recently, I have been representing franchisees who had to reach the difficult conclusion to surrender the store to stop the financial bleeding because of under minimum equity balances and monthly

deficits, due to poor sales “If you are experiencing a scenario and high expenses. This where you are investing more money results in demands by in your business than you are receiving SEI to invest more and more capital, which from it, or if the income you could often exceeds the income earn as an employee in an hourly-wage of the store operations. job would be greater, then you Of course, under-equity should take stock of your situasituations frequently tion and make arise because net income some hard is either non-existent or is less than the fran- choices.” chisee's draw. If you are experiencing such a sce- • Are your personal expenses (mortnario where you are, month after month, gage/rent, credit cards, utilities, etc.) in investing more money in your business arrears? than you are receiving from it, or if the inI do not minimize the trauma of come you could earn as an employee in an walking away from a business, whether hourly-wage job would be greater and you have operated it for one year or 30 or without the stress of operating a 7-Eleven more years, and principally when you store, then you have worked hard, but unsuccessfully, to should take stock grow it to the point of viability. It is heartof your situation breaking, but sometimes necessary, to and make some move on. hard choices. Of I have often been guilty of knowing course, while you when to buy a stock but not knowing are losing your when to sell, which of course resulted in shirt, 7-Eleven losing money. For sure, losing money on still gets its share a stock is not the equivalent of losing a of the gross profit. Why should corporate business, but the theory is the same. It is be concerned about you? essential to know when to get into a busiHere are some common, but not all, ness venture and when to get out of it. telltale signs that you should consider There is no shame in cutting your throwing in the towel: losses—it is the smart thing to do. • Are you or your spouse working at outHope I haven't depressed anyone too side jobs to pay for personal expenses? much, but as any lawyer will advise a • Are your credit cards maxed out to pay client, I must tell you what you need to money into your open account? hear, not what you want to hear. • Are your family members working in the store without pay to reduce payroll? ARNOLD HAUPTMAN • Are you borrowing money from your CAN BE REACHED AT 401ks or IRAs, or friends and familyAJHAUPTMAN@AOL.COM OR (516) 541-7200 members, to keep afloat?

“There is no shame in cutting your losses—it is the smart thing to do.”

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Vendor Guest Column

ADDING MONEY TO YOUR BOTTOM LINE WITH SYNERGI PARTNERS AND 7-ELEVEN Tax Incentives Help Recoup Franchise Start-Up And Payroll Costs By Kyle Cunningham, Synergi Partners

As a 7-Eleven franchise owner, there are many priorities to keep your business running efficiently and profitably. One way to make your business profitable and add to your bottom-line is by taking advantage of Federal employment incentives. While some franchise owners are unaware of tax incentives offered by the Internal Revenue Service, there are many 7-Eleven franchise owners already participating in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program. This program is designed to help your business thrive. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a Federal tax credit available to employers when they hire workers from certain target

groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The program rewards business owners for hiring these individuals by allowing them to claim tax credits, thereby recovering start-up and payroll costs. With a maximum tax credit ranging from $2,400 to $9,600, tax credits can add real dollars to your bottom-line.

YOU ARE ALREADY HIRING INDIVIDUALS WHO QUALIFY The individuals who qualify your business for a tax credit can come from any of the following groups: • Disabled Veterans and other qualified Veterans

“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a Federal tax credit available to employers when they hire workers from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.” TAX CREDITS: WHY WERE THEY CREATED? On average, 20% of new hires are tax credit eligible

320 Million

U.S. Population

125 Million Employed Full-Time

50-70 Million Target Groups

• Ex-Felons • Vocational Rehabilitation Referral • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipient (SNAP) • Long-Term Family Assistance Recipient • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) • Empowerment Zone Resident • Summer Youth Employee • Supplement Security Income (SSI) Recipient

“THE PROGRAM REWARDS BUSINESS OWNERS FOR HIRING THESE INDIVIDUALS BY ALLOWING THEM TO CLAIM TAX CREDITS, THEREBY RECOVERING START-UP AND PAYROLL COSTS.” • Qualified Long-Term Unemployment Recipient

HOW DO I PARTICIPATE? Through Synergi’s long-standing partnership with 7-Eleven, it is easy for franchise owners to participate in the WOTC program. The best part of the program is that there is no financial risk, as our program requires no upfront fees or costs—it is 100 percent success based. Here is how you get started: 1. Complete the Client Service Agreement and POA. 2. Mail forms to Synergi Partners. 3. Start processing your new hires and earning tax credits!

DON’T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE Every year, the government offers U.S. businesses nearly $1 billion in WOTC alone. Astonishingly, only 25 percent of business owners take advantage of the WOTC procontinued on page 42

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Vendor Guest Column continued from page 41

gram. Considering that 20-25 “With a maximum specializing in tax percent of hourly workers are incentives. By lettax credit ranging eligible for employment tax ting Synergi do from $2,400 to credits, it is likely you are althe work for you, $9,600, tax credits ready hiring people who qualyour business will can add real dollars capture maxiify. While the average tax credit is worth approximately to your bottom-line.” mum tax credits $1,500 and a return on investthat directly imment per application is a 5:1 ratio or more, pact your bottom line. We are well versed it makes good business sense to take advan- in WOTC and other state and federal tax tage of the WOTC program in your hiring credits, and by focusing solely on incenpractices. tives, we are sure to find your franchise the most money possible.

GET STARTED RECOVERING COSTS TODAY Starting and maintaining a business is exciting and stressful, and it can be more profitable when you know about tax incentives. Synergi Partners has over 150 years of combined leadership experience

If you’re looking for ways to bring your franchise to the next level of profitability, reach out to the Synergi Partners Account Manager Kyle Cunningham today: (843) 519-1303 or kcunningham@synergipartners.com.

continued from page 24

to profit from the rising popularity of hemp-derived CBD. Over the past year, licensed hemp acreage increased over 400 percent with more than 510,000 acres of hemp licensed in 2019 versus about 112,000 acres in 2018, according to a new study by research group Vote Hemp. • The global electric vehicle charging system market was valued at $3.18 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $66.27 billion by 2026, registering a compound annual growth rate of 45.6 percent from 2019 to 2026, according to a new Allied Market Research study. • Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe vitamin E acetate, in combination with THC, may be to blame for a national outbreak of ecigarette-related lung injuries that’s continued on page 46

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Vendor Guest Column

SLIP, TRIP AND FALL PREVENTION FOR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES By John Harp, CSP, ARM, Risk Engineering Consultant

THE COST Slips, trips and falls can result in employee or customer injuries that affect your business and impact profit. Nationally, MSIG-insured franchisee locations the past five years suffered 535 employee injury claims as the direct result of slip, trip or fall injuries. The cost for these injuries totals almost $8,000,000 in medical bills and lost time. At an average cost of $15,000 per claim, a small investment can provide valuable savings. If a customer falls, the liability risk and potential cost is usually more significant than an employee injury. With winter on the way, making slip and fall prevention a priority is inexpensive and reduces the chances of these costly accidents. COMMON CAUSES OF SLIP, TRIP AND FALL INCIDENTS The average person does not think about the hundreds of steps that take place in your parking lot, sidewalk, store, and cooler. But, when a customer or employee hits the ground because of a slip-

cent of slip-and-fall accidents take place on wet surfaces. What to look for: 1. Spills, especially near the coffee bar, beverage areas or ice machine. 2. Improper cleaning technique on the sales floor or dirty mop water. 3. Lack of warning signs. 4. Cooler or vault—spills, slippery floor, poor lighting, dollies left upright. 5. Foreign material on shoes. 6. Floor mats with corners upturned or not positioned correctly. 7. Weather such as rain and snow being tracked into the store. 8. Low stock displays. 9. Stock or crates left in aisles. 10. Leaks from machines.

TIPS TO AVOID SLIP, TRIP AND FALL INCIDENTS Parking Lot, Sidewalk And Apron • Potholes, cracks, uneven surfaces

“At an average cost of $15,000 per claim, a small investment can provide valuable savings.” pery surface, an unseen object on the floor or improper footwear, the results can be devastating, resulting in broken bones, severe strains, back injuries and permanent disability. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) estimates that more than 80 per-

should be marked as a hazard until repaired. Contact SEI immediately and maintain records. • Parking stops misaligned or damaged. Check and immediately schedule for repair. • Make sure ramps and other areas are painted to highlight the elevation change.

“Slips, trips and falls can result in employee or customer injuries that affect your business and impact profit.” • Quality of lighting—call immediately if bulbs are out or dim. • Gas islands can have oil or other liquid spills. Check often and keep absorbent available for use. • Make sure the trash cans are not overflowing and there is a clear path to the dumpster. • If there is a mat outside make sure it is in good condition, and one inside. In rain or snow add an extra mat inside.

SALES AREA • Stock displays—keep them full and avoid low displays, especially near front door. • Use a suitable mat at the front door, make sure it lays flat and is clean. • Clean spills immediately. Add cones or wet floor signs, and supervise the spill. (Your customers may go around the cones. Cones alone do not prevent a possible liability or an injury claim!) • Do not leave inventory, cleaning materials or other items on the floor where a customer or employee could trip. • Make sure mirrors, cameras and displays allow for a good view of the aisles. continued on page 46

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Vendor Guest Column continued from page 45

• Consider mats at coffee or other food service areas where spills occur.

SALES FLOOR—MOPPING • There are different floor cleaners for certain floors for effective cleaning and slip resistance. Check with your field consultant • Check that mop water is clean and mop head is in good condition. (Time to change if it’s too dirty to see the bottom of the mop bucket!) • Mop buckets should be emptied after each use. • The mop head should be put through the wringer and hung to air dry. Replace mop heads frequently. • Use wet floor signs before/during/after mopping. • Mop only during less busy times, and clean small areas at a time. • Follow wet mopping with a quick dry mop. • Check that employees understand the proper mix for cleaning chemicals. • Don’t leave mop buckets unattended on the sales floor. VAULT AND BACK AREAS • Vault floors can be slippery from moisture or leaks. Clean and use caution. • Crate dollies should be out of the aisle and turned upside down when not in use. • Lighting should be sufficient to see any trip or slip hazards. • Restroom—make sure the floor is dry and clean. Make regular checks of the room.

FALLS • Sitting stools are not safe for reaching shelves. Obtain and use a proper ladder or step stool. • Milk crates are not safe—a suitable step should be used. • Climbing on shelves or dumpsters is dangerous. WEATHER • Keep an eye on the forecast. Be prepared with salt, shovels and an extra mat. • In rain or snow add an extra mat at the front door (cardboard is not a good substitute). • Dry mop frequently. • Use caution/wet floor signs, but remove when not needed. • If the landlord is responsible for sidewalk and parking lot snow removal, make sure it’s OK and take care of the apron when it needs it. EMPLOYEE SAFETY PRACTICES—GENERAL • Always walk with caution—no running. • No climbing on boxes, shelves or other items that may tip over. • Never carry items that block vision. • Don’t leave spills unattended— cone off the area. • Ask employees to wear shoes that have good tread and are non-slip. • Use extra caution and watch parking lots, sidewalk, sales floor and mats when there is rain or snow. • Only use warning signs when needed.

“The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) estimates that more than 80 percent of slip-and-fall accidents take place on wet surfaces.” 46

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IN CASE OF ACCIDENT • Attend to the fallen showing concern, but don’t lift them to their feet.

• Call 911 or seek medical help when needed. • Get the accident facts—take photos and save surveillance tape. • Document the incident, whether the employee or customer says they are OK. • Time is critical in resolving incidents. Report any potential customer claim on the hotline, and employee/customer incidents to your insurance company/agent within three days. If you need assistance with your slip and fall safety program, please contact: John Harp of the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group at jharp@msigusa.com, or 908-604-2951.

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linked to dozens of deaths, reported CNN. • Juul recently suspended sales of its popular fruity e-cigarette flavors ahead of a Trump administration policy that is expected to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market, reported CNBC. Juul said it will, however, continue selling its mint, menthol and tobacco flavors. • A recent study from Oxford Economics predicts the world could see robots take over 20 million jobs by the year 2030, including more than 1.5 million loss in the United States and over 11 million in China. • Nestlé has $20 billion to spend on acquiring new businesses or buying back shares, reported CNN Business. The company closed a $10.3 billion sale of its skincare business at the beginning of October and is now figuring out what to do with its growing war chest. • According to a new Navigator Research survey, 57 percent of Americans say they oppose the Trump administration proposal to make changes to the SNAP program that would also make cuts to the school lunch program. • U.S. companies continued on page 56


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Legislative Update bution of all electronic cigarettes marijuana at the fedand vapor products in unincorporated areas of San Diego “The Marijuana Opportunity eral level, the MariCounty. e county will also prohibit the sale and distribuReinvestment and Expungement juana Opportunity tion of all flavored products for smoking, prohibit smoking in (MORE) Act aims to expunge Reinvestment and Exoutdoor dining patio areas, and establish a buffer zone outprior marijuana convictions and pungement (MORE) side of outdoor dining patio areas. spur re-sentencing hearings for Act aims to expunge COLORADO people still under supervision.” prior marijuana con• Breckenridge—e Summit Board of County Commissionvictions and spur reers has adopted a new ordinance that raises the legal minisentencing hearings for people still under supervision. It also mum age to buy nicotine and tobacco products to 21, and would set up a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana products that requires retailers to obtain a license to sell the products. e would fund three grant programs, including one that would ordinance also applies to paraphernalia provide job training, legal aid and other services to the used for tobacco and nicotine products. individuals hit hardest by the “War on Drugs.” • Lafayette—e Lafayette City Council voted to ban the sale of tobacco products to conSan Francisco Voters Reject sumers under 21. Under the measure, anyone Repeal Of E-Cigarette Ban under 21 is also prohibited from possessing, conSan Francisco’s upcoming ban on the sale of e-cigarettes suming or using tobacco products. will remain in place, as voters soundly rejected a ballot measILLINOIS ure on November 5 that would have overturned the prohibi• Pekin—e Pekin City Council amended its Tobacco 21 ortion approved by the Board of Supervisors in June 2019, dinance to ban the possession of tobacco and vaping products reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Proposition C would by anyone under 21. e previous measure only banned the have allowed the sale of vaping devices and nicotine carsale of the products to anyone under 21. e change allows tridges with some new restrictions. e regulations would the Pekin police to give out warnings or fines to those under have taken the place of the outright sales ban on e-cigarettes the age of 21 in possession of vaping and tobacco products. that supervisors approved MISSOURI to combat the rise in teen “The regulations would have taken the • Kearney—City officials approved a measure to vaping. e legislation, place of the outright sales ban on raise the legal tobacco buying age to 21. slated to take effect in Janue-cigarettes that supervisors approved PENNSYLVANIA ary, suspends the sale of eto combat the rise in teen vaping.” • Philadelphia—Lawmakers have introduced a cigarettes that have not proposal to ban the sale of flavored vapor prodpassed a Food and Drug ucts and nicotine salts in businesses accessible to children. Administration review—which includes all e-cigarettes now e proposal also caps the amount of nicotine in electronic on the market. But the ban may not be permanent; it would cigarettes to 20 milligrams per milliliter. be lied for any e-cigarettes that eventually pass FDA review.

House Panel Passes Bill To Legalize Marijuana e Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee recently voted in favor a bill that decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level, with a couple of Republicans supporting the measure, reported Market Watch. Besides decriminalizing

Tobacco & Vaping Bill Advances To Full House Committee e House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee recently marked up legislation—H.R. 2339, the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019”—and voted to adcontinued on page 50

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Legislative Update vance the bill to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration, reported NACS Online. H.R. 2339 would: increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21; prohibit flavors of all tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, e-cigarettes, flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco products; prohibit remote, “NACS OPPOSES non-face-to-face sales of all tobacco THE PROVISION products; make it unlawful to market, OF H.R. 2339 advertise or promote any e-cigarette BANNING MENTHOL product to individuals under the age of 21; authorize the FDA to collect user CIGARETTES, BEfees from manufacturers of all tobacco CAUSE IT WOULD products, including e-cigarettes, and UNDOUBTEDLY increase the total amount of fees colLEAD TO THE lected by $100 million. CREATION OF A While the bill received support BLACK MARKET.” from all Democrats on the subcommittee, some Republicans expressed concern over certain provisions, such as the flavor ban for all products and the graphic health warning labels on cigarette packages. NACS said it opposes the provision of the bill banning menthol cigarettes because it would undoubtedly lead to the creation of a black market, since the menthol market accounts for roughly 30 percent of cigarette sales today.

Trump Seeks to Raise Purchase Age For E-Cigs President Donald Trump recently announced that his administration will pursue raising the age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in its upcoming plans to combat youth vaping, reported the Associated Press. Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law.

But more than one third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21. A federal law raising the purchase age would require congressional action. Anti-tobacco groups have insisted that any “Tobacco 21” law must be accompanied by a ban on flavors, which they say are the primary reason that young people use e-cigarettes.

House Passes E-Cigarette Bill e House of Representatives recently passed e Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, H.R. 3942, by voice vote, reported NACS Online. e legislation seeks to prevent minors from accessing e-cigarettes through the internet, the “The House of most common retail source to minors, Representatives by updating a 2010 law regulating the recently passed online sales of cigarettes and smokeless The Preventing tobacco products and applying those Online Sales of requirements to e-cigs. H.R. 3942 E-Cigarettes to would also require online merchants to Children Act, H.R. 3942, which ensure the delivery carrier verifies the seeks to prevent age of the recipient upon delivery, and minors from also require online merchants to collect accessing e-cigand remit the appropriate state and arettes through local taxes.

the internet.” Pennsylvania Raises Tobacco Purchase Age To 21 Pennsylvania is on its way to joining 18 other states in banning the purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products by people under 21, although it’s maintaining an exception for military veterans or service members who are at least 18, reported the Associated Press. Governor Tom Wolf ’s office said he’d sign legislation that passed both chambers of the state Legislature recently. e higher age takes effect next July 1. Tobacco products include electronic cigarettes and natural and synthetic nicotine products.

New York City Bans All Flavored E-Cigs e New York City Council voted overwhelmingly recently to ban flavored e-cigarettes as officials seek to curb a continued on page 52

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Legislative Update spike in underage vaping, reported CNBC. e ordinance bans all flavored e-cigarette and vaping liquid flavors except for tobacco. Mayor Bill de Blasio will either sign the bill or let it pass into law, which will make New York the largest city in the U.S. to ban all vaping flavors except tobacco. New York City already had a law banning flavored tobacco products, but menthol cigarettes and e-cigarettes were not included. e new legislation will apply the flavor ban to e-cigarettes, but not menthol cigarettes. e tobacco and vaping lobby pushed back on the legislation, saying that an outright ban will harm adults who use e-cigarettes to stop smoking cigarettes.

Washington State Bans Certain Vape Products Washington state recently banned the sale of vapor products containing vitamin E acetate, a compound that federal health officials have identified as a possible cause of a vapingrelated illness that has sickened more than 2,000 people nationwide, reported e Seattle Times. e state Board of Health’s ban, which took effect on November 20, follows findings released by the CDC linking the compound to the outbreak of lung injuries. Retailers are currently required to have a list of ingredients in their vaping products available for customers, and no processors have reported using vitamin E acetate in their products, said a spokesman for the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. e board thus doesn’t have reason to believe products with the compound are being sold in stores, but they are banned nevertheless.

thol cigarettes—aer Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill meant to reduce the appeal of the products to young people, reported the Associated Press. e new law specifically restricts sale of the products to licensed smoking bars such as cigar bars and hookah lounges, where they’ll only be allowed to be consumed on-site. e restriction extends to menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco. It also places a 75 percent excise tax on nicotine vaping prod“MASSACHUSETTS RECENTLY ucts, gives public health BECAME THE FIRST STATE officials new authority to TO BAN FLAVORED TOBACCO regulate the products AND NICOTINE VAPING and requires health inPRODUCTS—INCLUDING surers cover tobacco cesMENTHOL CIGARETTES.” sation counseling. Anti-smoking groups hailed the ban, which restricts the sale and consumption of flavored vaping products immediately and does the same for menthol cigarettes starting June 1, 2020. However, the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association, which opposed the legislation, said it’s exploring challenging the new law in court, or seeking other ways to change it.

Boston Bans Mint & Menthol Cig Sales In C-Stores

Mint and menthol nicotine and tobacco products will no longer be sold in convenience stores in Boston after the city’s Public Health Commission (BPHC) approved regulations proposed by Mayor Martin Walsh at a recent meeting, reported the Boston “WASHINGTON STATE RECENTLY BANNED THE SALE OF VAPOR PRODUCTS Herald. Mint and menthol cigarettes will CONTAINING VITAMIN E ACETATE, THE COMPOUND FEDERAL HEALTH only be sold in adult-only tobacco retailOFFICIALS HAVE IDENTIFIED AS A POSSIBLE CAUSE OF A VAPING-RELATED ers, according to the BPHC. This comes ILLNESS THAT HAS SICKENED MORE THAN 2,000 PEOPLE NATIONWIDE.” ahead of a potential statewide ban on menthol and mint-flavored tobacco prodMassachusetts Bans Flavored ucts. The approved changes also strengthen retailer ID Tobacco & Vaping Products checking requirements and restrict the sale of products that Massachusetts recently became the first state to ban flaattract young people. continued on page 65 vored tobacco and nicotine vaping products—including men52

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snackers also love their milk chocolate, coming in behind potato chips at 63 percent. Respondents also seemed to be all for combining chocolate with other goodies. Four in 10 said the top chocolate combo is alongside caramel, with chocolate and nuts closely following at 39 percent.

Wawa Announces Maryland Expansion Plans Wawa recently shared updates on upcoming expansion plans throughout Maryland at a special groundbreaking ceremony for its newest store in Balti-

more, announcing that it will open five new stores across the state in 2020. Over the next five years, Wawa also plans to open another 10 to 15 new stores across Maryland. Wawa said in 2020 it will also mark its 50th anniversary in serving Maryland communities by celebrating the connections, friends continued on page 56

FOA OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GOES ON A HOLIDAY PARTY CRUISE Members of the FOA of Southern California ended the year on a high note with a festive holiday party cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. The trip took place November 14-17 aboard the Carnival Imagination, with an itinerary full of fun and entertainment. Some of the activities included re-

laxing by the pool, Bingo, comedy and game shows, seminars, photo ops, a piano bar, poker and gambling, and much more. On Saturday, November 16, the ship reached Mexico and the group took a private bus into La Bufadora, Ensenada where they enjoyed the authentic Mexican heritage, food, drinks and shops before boarding the ship for the final night. Franchisees and their families had a wonderful time, and want to wish everyone throughout the country a happy and prosperous holiday season and New Year. AVANTI N O V E M B E R | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9

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and partners Wawa has made over the past 50 years in the state, along with a “renewed commitment to expanding to reach more places and fulfill more lives.”

Dollar General To Open 1,000 New Stores In 2020 Dollar General plans to open 1,000 new stores in 2020, just as it has for the past several years, reported CNN Business. By opening so many new stores next year, Dollar General's growth is nearly unrivaled in the industry at a time in which many brick-and-mortar retailers are closing stores or folding, the article states. The company currently has more than 16,000 stores in the United States and caters mainly to low-and-middle-income customers in rural and suburban areas. During its

most recent financial quarter, Dollar General increased sales at stores open for at least a year by 4.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago. It marked Dollar General's fastest quarter of sales growth in five years. Its profit increased, too, up 11 percent during the quarter.

More Consumers Opting For Snacks Over Meals

Global snacking is on the rise as more consumers opt for snacks over meals to fulfill evolving needs, reveals the first-ever State of Snacking report by Mondelēz International. The report sheds light on snacking as a growing behavior worldwide. Notably 6 in 10 adults worldwide (59 percent) say they prefer to eat many small meals throughout the day, as opposed to a few larger ones, with younger consumers “In the most recent fiscal quarter Dollar especially leaning General increased sales a record into snacks over 4.6 percent at its 16,000 U.S. stores.” meals as that number continued on page 58

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

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are responding to the rising labor shortage—thanks to the lowest unemployment rate in almost 50 years—by increasing their focus on automation, reported Reuters. • White Castle announced it will open its first Florida restaurant in Orlando within the next 18 months. Construction on the new restaurant is expected to begin in April 2020 and should be finished by late 2020 or early 2021. • C-store chains Sheetz and Cumberland Farms made the top 10 on the “2019 Best Workplaces in Retail” list, ranking No. 6 and No. 9, respectively. The list, compiled by Great Place to Work, surveyed more than 694,000 U.S. retail employees. • Major South Korean convenience store chain CU is preparing to accept payments in cryptocurrency, reported Retail News Asia. The chain, which operates more than 13,000 outlets in the country, will use the Chai payment system to trade in Terra, a won-backed stablecoin that has garnered investment from many large Korean firms. • The U.S. Postal Service recently announced that its total net loss in 2019 was $8.8 billion—an increase of $4.9 billion since 2018. About $3.4 billion of that loss was due to an increase in workers’ compensation costs. • Globally, 348 million tons of plastic is produced each year, half of which becomes waste, according to Europe-based research firm Statista. • Pilot Flying J announced that it has added paid, gender-neutral parental leave to its employee benefit package. The benefit provides 100 percent paid parental leave for six weeks to all team members, both full- and part-time, who have at least one year of service and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. • Lottery tickets went on sale for the first time in Mississippi on November 25, reported the Associated continued on page 60


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and a time and a place for an indulgent one. • The majority of people say snacks are just as important to their mental (71 percent) and emotional (70 percent) wellbeing as their physical wellbeing.

“Seven in 10 Millennials prefer to eat many small meals during the day, as opposed to larger ones, according to the first-ever State of Snacking report by Mondelēz International.”

Factors That Will Affect The Future Of C-Stores rises to 7 in 10 among Millennials (70 percent). Other key findings from the report include: • For more than 8 in 10 people, convenience (87 percent) and quality (85 percent) are among the top factors impacting snack choice. • 80 percent of consumers are looking for healthy, balanced bites. • 71 percent of adults say snacking helps them control their hunger and manage their calories throughout the day. • 77 percent of consumers agree there is a time and a place for a healthy snack,

Global measurement and data analytics firm Nielsen recently listed seven important factors that will shape the future of the convenience industry. Nielsen believes convenience stores will grow faster than all other offline channels over the next five years, reflecting the hyper focus consumers are putting on expediency. As a new decade of convenience retail unfolds, Nielsen has predicted the following seven factors will shape the future of the convenience industry: 1. Convenience stores will become more automated and increasingly unmanned.

2. Convenience store food service will get an image upgrade. Nielsen foresees a move toward upgrading the overall image of food service at convenience, as quality and selection of offerings continues to improve. 3. There will be an increased focus and need for quality employee training for CBD and food service to ensure product questions (for CBD products) are being answered with accuracy and proper food safety protocols and standards are being reinforced. 4. Convenience stores are a prime target for private label disruption. Currently, only about 6 percent of units sold in cstores are private label, vs. 16-23 percent in other channels. 5. Convenience retail will get creative with experiential retail by adding seating areas and social gathering spaces, video gaming terminals, electric car charging stations, and offering unique specialty food and beverages from grind-to-cup coffee makers. 6. Personalization and customization will become more essential. C-store recontinued on page 60

Want to talk to other franchisees? To find the FOA closest to you. Visit www.NCASEF.com to contact any one of the 43 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. 58

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Paul Lobana, Vice Chairman, President, Southern California FOA

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

paullobana@aol.com 818.203.2527

rehan711@yahoo.com 847-845-8477

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

National Office

425-438-8381 ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

nationaloffice@ncasef.com 210.971.9211


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tailers that are able to get the right product to consumers at the right time will win. This means anticipating consumer needs and understanding and catering to day part needs at even a deeper level. 7. Convenience players will re-imagine grab-and-go packaging to be more sustainable. U.S. consumers are beginning to adopt a zero-waste mindset. In the coming years, c-stores will need to address issues linked to waste management, the anti-plastic movement and the rising consumer backlash toward single-use packaging.

Massachusetts C-Stores Protest Proposed Ban On Menthol Cigs Hundreds of convenience stores closed midday on November 6 as store owners rallied on the steps in front of the State House to oppose a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes and, organizers said, to “demonstrate the critical role [the stores] play providing vital resources to communities,” reported WBUR. Members of the Boston Convenience Store Owners Association and other independent stores across the state—about 1,000 of them in total, organizers said—posted notices informing customers of the closures two

days beforehand. The notices also explained “the risks associated with such a ban including the failure of proposed bans to prevent minors from accessing and using tobacco, racial inequality, food security, and crime.”

Seven-Eleven Japan Tackles Food Waste Seven-Eleven Japan recently launched a test program at its 1,361 stores on the western island of Shikoku and the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, where shoppers who buy food items that are close to their expiration dates earn points on their prepaid electronic money cards, reported The Mainichi. The move comes as convenience stores in Japan face increasing criticism over their practice of discarding still-edible products. Items covered by the e-money point reward system include rice balls, sandwiches and spaghetti, among other food products, that are close to expiration. When a shopper buys these items with their “nanaco” e-money card, they are given points worth 5 percent of the price of the purchased products before sales tax. Since the points can be used to shop at Seven-Eleven stores and other places, the shopper effectively

“Boston c-stores closed midday November 6 and owners rallied on the steps of the state house to oppose a ban on menthol cigs.” 60

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Press. For decades Mississippi was one of only six states without a lottery. The state had resisted a lottery for years until lawmakers in 2018 authorized it as a way to finance road maintenance and infrastructure needs. • Over 70 percent of GenX men and women are more likely to shop with merchants that offer rewards programs, according to a new survey by mobile payment and rewards technology platform ZipLine. This is also true for more than 60 percent of Millennial men. • Mars Wrigley announced that it has partnered with Standard Cognition to help retailers optimize impulse item sales in cashier-less checkout environments. The goal is to better understand what impact autonomous checkouts have on “the end of the trip,” when shoppers traditionally seek products to Reward, Recharge and Remind—much of which traditionally took place while waiting in line for a cashier. • The province of Ontario in Canada will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations in a bid to prevent youth from being exposed to the addictive habit, reported the Toronto Sun. The ban will kick in on January 1, 2020. • Hostess Brands, Inc. announced that it is acquiring wafer cookie maker Voortman Cookies Limited for approximately $320 million in cash. Hostess expects to close the transaction in early January continued on page 62

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


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gets a discount. The company plans to test this model until the end of the year and looks to implement it in other stores across the country next spring after examining its effects.

“By the end of the year, Walmart will offer online grocery pickup in 3,100 locations, and delivery across 1,600 stores.”

Walmart To Test Driverless Grocery Delivery Walmart plans to use driverless technology to deliver customers' orders in 2020, reported Yahoo Finance. The autonomous delivery vehicles will first be used in a pilot program, carrying delivery orders for select customers in Houston who opt-in to the offering. To spearhead the initiative, the retail giant announced a partnership with Mountain View, California-based robotics company Nuro to test its custom-built R2 electric vehicles that operate without passengers. The program will also use Toyota Priuses powered by Nuro's self-driving software and hardware.

In recent years, Walmart has focused on expanding its popular Grocery Pickup and Delivery Service, and in the process stiffening its challenge to Amazon. Just recently Amazon’s Whole Foods and Fresh brands started offering free delivery in an effort to boost grocery sales. By year-end, Walmart will offer online grocery pickup in 3,100 locations, with delivery across 1,600 stores. Walmart also now employs 50,000 personal shoppers for its online grocery business.

FDA Says Snus May Be Marketed As Safer Than Cigarettes For the first time, the FDA will allow a smokeless tobacco maker to advertise its product as a safer alternative to cigarettes, reported the Washington Examiner. The agency recently authorized continued on page 64

Leaders from the Central Florida FOA recently joined Swim Across America to present a grant for $55,711 to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital that will fund pediatric cancer research. 62

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2020, subject to customary closing conditions. • According to The NPD Group’s Eating Patterns in America study, 16 percent of consumers regularly use plant-based alternatives such as almond milk, tofu, and veggie burgers; 89 percent of these consumers do not consider themselves vegan or vegetarian. • Walgreens is testing doctor-staffed primary care clinics in Houston through a partnership with VillageMD, reported Forbes. Walgreens opened the first Village Medical at Walgreens location in Houston in late November, with plans to open four more by early next year. • ExxonMobil recently announced the launch of its new all-in-one Exxon Mobil Rewards+ app, which combines the security and ease of its Speedpass+ mobile payment app with the benefits of its Exxon Mobil Rewards+ loyalty program. • KIND Healthy Snacks recently announced the acquisition of Creative Snacks Co., a family owned better-for-you snack manufacturer based in North Carolina. This partnership will allow both KIND and Creative Snacks to offer healthy snacks across more categories, the company said. • A DoorDash driver going by “Dashin Mike” has been on a mission since August to travel all 50 U.S. states. So far, he has been to 30 states, driven more than 20,000 miles, and has completed hundreds of deliveries, DoorDash announced. The company said it is donating ten meals to Feeding America for every mile that Dashin Mike travels. • Canadian c-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard recently offered US$5.8 billion for fuel retailer Caltex Australia Ltd., sweetening its bid for about 2,000 sites as it seeks to broaden a global expansion, reported Bloomberg. An earlier bid by CoucheTard was rejected by Caltex as too low. • Wawa has brought back its Winter Reserve Stout, and created three new additions to their beer lineup—Reserve Reserve, Coffee continued on page 64


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eight Swedish Match snus products, which come in pouches consumers stick to the inside of the lip. The company is now the first that can legally market the products with the claim, “Using General Snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.” The approval is only valid for five years, however. Swedish Match will have to file a request to extend the approval before it expires. Part of the renewal process consists of company-led studies to see if people believe smokeless tobacco such as snus is a viable smoking alternative. The company will also have to submit consumer and sales data, as well as all marketing plans to the FDA.

Anheuser-Busch Invests In Hard Seltzer Anheuser-Busch InBev is upping its ante in the fast-growing hard seltzer market with the launch early next year of Bud Light Seltzer, and a $100 million investment planned for the booming alcoholic drink category, reported CNBC. The hard seltzer market is currently worth $550 million and could grow to reach $2.5 billion by 2021, according to a UBS analyst. Anheuser-Busch is still the king of beers, however, controlling 41 percent of the market, but hard seltzer is a big focus for the company right now. This is part of a wider trans-

formation underway at AB InBev, which is revamping its established product-development and marketing methods. The strategy centers around growing its market-leading portfolio of existing brands while introducing “beyond beer” products, in particular hard seltzers.

7-Eleven Australia’s Fuel App Suffers Data Breach The popular gas-buying app run by 7-Eleven Australia has suffered a data breach that allowed customers to view the names, email addresses, mobile numbers and dates of birth of other users, reported The Guardian. The 7Eleven fuel app, which the company said has been downloaded two million times, was taken offline for a matter of hours after a customer alerted the company to the fact that he was able to access the personal information of several other customers via the app. A spokesperson for 7-Eleven Australia told the newspaper the app was brought back online later that day, but declined to answer any questions about the data breach, stating the matter was under investigation. The app allows users to pay in advance for fuel and lock in lower gas prices for when they need to fill up.

NYC & California Sue Postal Service Over Bootleg Cigs California and New York City have sued the U.S. Postal Service to stop tens of thousands of cigarette packages from being mailed from foreign countries to U.S. residents, saying the smugglers are

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Cake Reserve Stout, and Snowbird Reserve Vanilla Porter. All beers feature Wawa Winter Reserve Coffee as the primary ingredient. The company launched the beers with a multi-state Brew Tour. • By year-end, Apple Pay will overtake coffee chain Starbucks in providing the most popular mobile payment method for shoppers at U.S. stores, reported Retail Dive. Apple’s payment app will have 30.3 million U.S. users, compared with 25.2 million for the Starbucks payment app, research firm eMarketer estimated. • FedEx’s profits fell 40 percent in its most recent quarter, hurt by higher costs and its move to cut ties with online shopping giant Amazon, reported the Associated Press.

engaging in tax evasion while postal workers look the other way, reported the Associated Press. The lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court blames the Postal Service for deliveries from Vietnam, China, Israel and other countries, saying the failure to enforce a federal law aimed at banning cigarette mail deliveries costs California an average of $19 million annually in tax revenues, and New York City and state over $21 million each year. The lawsuit seeks a court order to force the Postal Service to intercept and destroy packages believed to contain cigarettes.

FDA Warns Consumers CBD Could Be Harmful The Food and Drug Administration recently updated its stance on CBD, saying that the cannabis derivacontinued next page


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tive is not regulated by the agency and may have the potential to harm users, reported Market Watch. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has proliferated in drinks, cosmetics, foods and many other consumer products, even in states where marijuana is not recreationally or medically legal. Last summer, the FDA warned that it was looking into CBD and was concerned about its spread as the agency had approved one drug utilizing the compound—Epidiolex from GW Pharmaceuticals PLC, a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy. The agency updated its summer warning to consumers in late November with stronger language, including a warning to Amer-

icans that “CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it.” The FDA said that based on a lack of scientific information, it cannot conclude that CBD is “generally recognized as safe among qualified experts for use in human and animal food.”

“Mintel says there will be more than 117,000 convenience stores in China by 2024—a huge increase from the 75,000 last year.”

Starbucks’ Open Bathroom Policy Affects Foot Traffic Starbucks' changes to its bathroom policy appear to be impacting foot traffic for the coffee giant, despite sales that have outpaced expectations, according to the findings of a joint study from the University of Texas at Dallas and Boston College, reported Yahoo Finance. Since opening its bathroom

doors to the public in May 2018, Starbucks has seen a 6.8 percent drop in store attendance per month relative to other coffee shops nearby, the study reveals. “When you throw open the policy to let people come in and just use the bathrooms and the tables, maybe people come in and find the bathrooms are dirty, and the tables are crowded,” said David Solomon, Assistant Professor at Boston College Carroll School of Management. “And so they don't buy the coffee as well.” Starbucks disputed the study’s findings and questioned its methodology, which was based on anonymized smartphone location data continued on page 66

Legislative Update continued from page 52

Retailers have until June 1, 2020 to implement the flavored tobacco restrictions. e Boston Convenience Store Owners Association opposed the new amendments saying the removal of these products from convenience stores could lead to widespread store closures, unemployment and a significant expansion of illicit tobacco sales.

Los Angeles Officials Advance Flavored Tobacco Ban A Los Angeles City Council committee recently threw its support behind draing an ordinance to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products—not including menthol or hookah lounges—in the city of Los Angeles, reported ABC 7 Eyewitness News. Aer it's draed, the ordinance will need to be approved by the full City Council.

e opposition includes those who smoke menthol cigarettes, owners of hookah bars, and activists who don't believe a city should decide what adults can smoke. ose opposed also highlighted their concerns over how a ban would be enforced, but stressed they support education and stricter rules geared toward the youth. ose in favor of the ban—parents, students, and groups like the American Heart and Lung associations— are worried about the health risk.

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related to 10,752 Starbucks stores from January 2017 to October 2018.

Seven-Eleven Japan Failed To Pay Overtime Wage Portions Seven-Eleven Japan said recently that it failed to pay a portion of overtime wages to at least 30,000 employees at its franchise stores for years due to a miscalculation in the company's payroll system, reported Kyodo News. The amount of overtime wages that went unpaid totals at least 490 million yen (US$4.5 million). The company said the miscalculation was discovered in a probe of one of its franchisees by the government's Labor Standards Inspection Office in 2001, but it has neglected to make the lacking payments or publicize the matter. Seven-Eleven Japan President Fumihiko Nagamatsu said the reason for failing to disclose the matter for 18 years is unknown, despite the company's internal probes including hearings from employees. The equation in question had been used by Seven-Eleven since October 2001, although records only exist from March 2012 onward. The error affected 8,129 stores nationwide, but the full picture remains unclear as the issue dates back to the company's founding in the 1970s. Seven-Eleven will try to reimburse all the unpaid wages and established a support window to deal with the issue, although some workers are no longer employed, many records are missing and some stores have already been closed.

China’s C-Stores Are Thriving

A Thousand 7-Eleven Stores Opening In Mumbai

China’s convenience store market is booming with rapid sales growth and rapid network expansion ahead, reported Inside Retail Hong Kong. Sales through Chinese c-stores reached US$19.78 billion last year, representing a compound annual growth rate of 24 per cent over the past five years, according to new research from Mintel. Sales are predicted to grow to $22.75 billion this year and Mintel says there will be more than 117,000 convenience stores

Future Group, which has a master franchise agreement to open 7-Eleven stores in India, plans to focus primarily on setting up locations in Mumbai for at least the next two-three years, reported LiveMint.com. The company’s CEO said only Mumbai can handle more than 1,000 7-Eleven stores, and they may open several at a time. The first 7-Eleven is set to open in Mumbai by the end of March. Future Group is among the largest retailers in India with a presence across supermarkets, grocery stores, electronics, apparel, and other formats. It operates 1,440 stores in more than 400 cities across its Big Bazaar, Easy Day, Nilgiri’s, Fashion at Big Bazaar, and Central formats, among others.

McDonald's Settles Wage Theft Lawsuit

“Seven-Eleven Japan will attempt to reimburse workers $4.5 million for a miscalculation in the company’s payroll system discovered in 2001.”

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in China by 2024—a huge increase from the 75,000 last year. The study further shows that more than 61 percent of urban Chinese customers shop at convenience stores several times a week, while more than 50 percent like to window-shop and eat inside convenience stores.

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McDonald's has agreed to pay $26 million to settle a years-long legal battle with California cooks and cashiers who have accused the company of failing to properly pay them for their work and expenses, reported NPR. The class-action lawsuit, representing tens of thousands of McDonald's workers, accused the fast-food chain of structuring shifts in a way that denied workers overtime pay. The lawsuit also said the company denied workers timely breaks, which were allowed only at the start and end of a shift instead of the middle when the restaurant got busy. The lawsuit was first filed in 2013. As part of the settlement, McDonald's denied any wrongdoing.


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FIRST DIRECTSOURCED COFFEE SEI recently announced that with the introduction of El Salvador Bourbon Single Origin coffee, 7-Eleven now brews more than half its coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified beans. The latest premium brew in its Seven Reserve line of specially curated coffees is the first to be sourced directly from independent family farmers and the seventh to carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. SEI said its coffee team hand-selected these flavorful coffee beans from Tacubaya Estate Coffee Farms, an eightgeneration family farm located in the highlands of El Salvador.

SEI said it continues to grow its portfolio of sustainable coffees, which now account for well over half of its green coffee purchases. Since 2016, 7-Eleven has introduced Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees from Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Sumatra, Colombia, as well as an African blend from Ethiopia and Rwanda, all responsibly grown. Single-origin 100 percent Colombian Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee is now a permanent offering and topseller on the hot beverage bar.

VOICE-ORDERING ADDED TO 7NOW SEI recently announced the launch of 7Voice, which allows customers to place an order through the 7NOW delivery app via the voice-controlled Google Home and Amazon

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trusted to pick the CBD collection offered to 7-Eleven customers in Colorado. Although other big U.S. retailers are now offering CBD products, 7-Eleven is the first to offer an automated service and curated selection. The Greenbox robots use a sophisticated age and ID verification system to ensure anyone acquiring products out of their boxes is legally allowed to do so.

“SEI said voice ordering builds on the company’s rapid digital ramp-up to better serve today’s demanding consumers.” Echo systems. With a simple voice command, shoppers can instruct Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa to open the 7NOW delivery app. Customers can choose from a wide variety of items by simply speaking them into their home system. Items that can be ordered include beverages, fresh and hot foods, snacks, cosmetics, home goods and thousands of other products available for purchase. Once customers place and pay for a 7NOW voice order, the selected 7-Eleven items are delivered in about 30 minutes or less. SEI said voice ordering builds on the company’s rapid digital ramp-up to better serve today’s consumers who expect to get what they want as easily and quickly as possible.

COLORADO 7-ELEVENS TESTING CBDDISPENSING ROBOTS In early November, select 7-Eleven stores in Colorado began testing high-tech CBD-dispensing vending machines produced by Greenbox Robotics, reported Forbes. The pilot program kicked off at a 7-Eleven store in Boulder, which is owned and operated by Monfort Companies. Interestingly, Greenbox is being

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7REWARDS CROSSES 25 MILLION-MEMBER MARK Since expanding its 7Rewards loyalty program two years ago, SEI has seen membership in the app-based platform almost triple (278 percent) from 9 million to 25 million members, the company announced recently. This explosive membership growth has translated to increased store visits and a “7-Eleven has received larger, more several awards for its loyal customer 7Rewards loyalty base. In 2019, program, which has 7-Eleven regrown to approximately 25 million ceived several members.” awards for its loyalty program: Convenience Store News' Technology Leader of the Year Award, Loyalty360 Technology and Trends Platinum Award, The International Business 'Gold Stevie' Award for Integrated Mobile Experience, and more. Each of these notable award competitions recognize brands that are building stronger and deeper loyalty with their customers in a proactive, meaningful and measurable way.

SLIDERS ADDED IN DFW SEI announced that it has added three new slider-style sandwiches to its growing hot continued next page


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foods menu. Available in the self-serve hot case at participating 7-Eleven stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the cheeseburger, pulled pork and smoked turkey sliders are assembled and delivered daily on artisan Hawai-

ian brioche rolls from popular, award-winning local bakery, Village Baking Company. Priced at just 99 cents each for a limited time, the three ready-to-eat slider varieties are served hot and customers can customize theirs for free at the condiment bar by adding tomatoes, jalapeños or an assortment of other toppings.

24/7 LIFE FOR ELECTRONICS & NON-FOOD ITEMS SEI recently launched a line of high quality electronic accessories benchmarked to compete against top national brands. The accessories will be sold under the new 24/7 LIFE by 7-Eleven brand, which will also include batteries, over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, paper goods, office supplies, wine accessories, travel-size toiletries, and more. In addition to the trademark 7-Eleven green, red and orange colors, the new stylized script logo will appear in a variety of color combinations on more than 200 prod-

“The new 24/7 LIFE by 7-Eleven brand includes a line of high quality electronic accessories benchmarked to compete against top national brands.”

ucts, SEI said in a released statement. Available 24/7 LIFE by 7-Eleven electronic accessories include wireless charging pads, speakers, sound pods and ear buds; power banks and a variety of chargers and cables; wired sports earbuds, phone mounts, adapters, tech organizers and screen cleaning kits. Another nonfoods private brand option under 24/7 LIFE is over-the-counter medications. Participating 7-Eleven stores carry dozens of value-priced over-the-counter drugs for pain relief, cold/flu/allergy, cough/sore throat, gastro-intestinal upset, sleep aids, as well as children's strength medicines. All meet the same Food and Drug Administration efficacy guidelines and standards of their nationalbrand counterparts, including product strength, dosing directions and package labeling.

LIMITED-EDITION CUPS WITH FREE REFILLS FOR A YEAR SEI offered limited-edition cups for each of its signature proprietary beverages—Slurpee, Big Gulp and coffee—that included a year of free beverages during a special one-day sale in December. With a suggested retail price of $129

and available exclusively on the 7-Eleven.com website on December 11, the coffee, Slurpee and Big Gulp stainless-steel Tervis tumblers each had a unique design and came in a gift box. Purchasers received unlimited refills of their favorite 7-Eleven beverage in its corresponding cup from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. SEI said the cups are not interchangeable and only come with free refills for the 7Eleven beverage indicated on the cup.

HOLIDAY SLURPEE FLAVOR & CUSTOMIZABLE DIGITAL MESSAGE CUP During the holiday season, 7-Eleven stores offered up a customer-favorite Slurpee flavor, Mountain Dew Merry Mash-Up, as well as an LED light-up digital message cup. Mountain Dew’s refreshing mash-up of two holiday-inspired flavors—cranberry and pomegranate—was introduced in 2018 as a soft drink, but this was the first time Merry Mash-Up was offered in frozen Slurpee drink form at participating locations. The interactive cup can display scrolling LED message banners with custom text created from users’ smart phones and sent through Bluetooth connection. Messages are entered in the “Hello Cup” app and can be up to 250 characters in length. The app allows message-senders to quickly adjust content, font, brightness and which direction their customized message scrolls. Available with either red or blue lights, the LED message cup can hold 20 ounces of cold or hot beverages and had a suggested retail price of $24.99. continued on page 70

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FIRST BRANDED EV CHARGING STATIONS ADDED IN CALIFORNIA SEI recently added the first electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations in the U.S. that it owns and operates under its brand, reported CSP Daily News. SEI installed two ChargePoint Express 250 (CPE250) fast-charging stations at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Pomona, California. SEI told CSP Daily News that the California site is serving as a test. The company teamed with Southern California Edison (SCE) for the installation, which was supported by SCE’s Charge Ready program. Through the program, SCE installs, maintains and covers installation costs for the EV charging infrastructure, while the participant owns, operates and maintains the charging stations. The program also supplies rebates to pay for a portion of the charging stations.

SCARY GOOD HALLOWEEN PIZZA DEALS 7-Eleven celebrated Halloween by offering two special pizza deals that were valid from October 31 to November 1: Buy One-Get One 7Rewards take-out pizza deal ($7 for two large pizzas), and $3 pizza ordered through the 7NOW delivery app. To receive the buy one-get

one pizza deal, customers had to stop by their nearest 7-Eleven store, grab the hot-to-go pizzas and scan their 7Rewards membership code in the 7-Eleven app at checkout. Those who didn't have time to stop at a store could order $3 pizzas, beverages (including beer and wine in participating markets) and more through the 7NOW delivery app to receive their order in about 30 minutes.

C4 ENERGY DRINK COMES TO 3,000 7-ELEVEN STORES SEI has recently entered into a distribution partnership with Nutrabolt to roll out its C4 energy drink to over 3,000 7-Eleven locations, with the potential to unlock an additional 7,000 stores soon after. In a released statement, Nutrabolt said that tapping into 3,000 7-Eleven U.S. locations will bring its iconic yellow C4 can closer than ever to existing fans and new customers eager to experience performance energy. The initial 3,000 stores are spread across the Northeast, North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, and C4's home state of Texas.

JARRITOS CRAFT SODA AS FOUNTAIN DRINK In an exclusive deal, 7-Eleven has brought Jarritos Craft Soda to the soft drink fountain. This marks the first time the soft drink from Mexico is being sold outside the bottle. Mandarin, one of Jarritos' most popular flavors, is now available on Big Gulp fountain machines at participating stores. A mainstay at taquerias, Jarritos fruit-flavored craft sodas are made with natural flavors and 100 percent real sugar. Until now, they have only been available for sale in bottles. Last summer, 7-Eleven had another Jarritos first—a Mandarinflavored Slurpee drink, which marked the first time the tangy and sweet soda was offered as a frozen beverage. Its overwhelming popularity and social media chatter prompted SEI to bring it back, this time as a Big Gulp drink.

Advertiser’s Index

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

Anheuser Busch..........8 Aon Risk Services.32-33 Blu Ecigs....................47 Blue Bunny..................6 Bug Juice...................26 Califia........................43 70

Coca-Cola...........Cover 2 Danone .......................5 Dean Foods ...............40 Diageo Guinness.........4 Ferrara Acosta ...........44 Glanbia......................21

Hormel......................67 InComm ....................61 Johnson&Johnson ....54 JUUL ............13, Cover 3 Kellogg's ...................25 Living Essentials........53

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Loacker......................17 Logic Ecig.............38-39 Mars Ice Cream..........15 Maruchan..................22 McLane .....................29 Mondelez..................19

Monster.......................7 Nestle Professional ...51 Path Water ................30 Perfetti Van Mele ......48 Sapporo/Anchor Steam.59 Seneca.................10-11

Simply Orange..........36 Smuckers ..................57 Swisher .........3, Cover 4 Tell Industries............34 Vilore.........................71 Windsor.....................63


Drive Sales With Coca-Cola Energy Expand Coca-Cola Energy into your energy drink set and drive growth by recruiting new consumers to the category. The first-ever energy drink under the Coke brand has the great Coke taste consumers love, plus 80 mg of caffeine (per 250 ml). Coca-Cola Energy makes energy drinks more accessible to more people by lowering the barriers of taste and approachability. Only CocaCoca-Cola Energy is the first energy drink Cola Energy combines the functional benefit under the Coke brand. that energy drinkers are looking for: caffeine, guarana, & B-vitamins, and great Coke taste.

Swisher Sweets Silver Joins The Swisher Family

standing partnerships with over 1,000 popular brands, InComm gives retailers access to the largest and best assortment of gift cards in the industry, including dining, shopping, entertainment and wireless. InComm has been especially innovative in the prepaid wireless space, energizing sales opportunities with new customer-centric payment products. At the forefront is our Instant Topup technology, which enables Incomm offers access consumers to load funds directly to the largest and best assortment to their wireless account by simof gift cards in the industry. ply providing their mobile number to the cashier. We also offer our PIN Top-up solution, which allows consumers to easily top up their devices at checkout with a PIN printed on the receipt, eliminating the need for a physical card. InComm is continually developing new ways to simplify and enhance the payment process while helping our retail partners capture greater market share and drive sales. To learn more about innovative payment technologies and an industry-leading product portfolio, visit InComm.com.

When your customers are in the mood for an unsweet smoke, Swisher Sweets Silver is a fresh option to meet their vibe. Swisher Sweets Sliver is everything customers love about Swisher Sweets, but without the sweet. These classic cigarillos offer a smooth, rich taste created by master tobacco blenders. For relief from dry, red eyes, use This special unsweet blend will moisturizing Visine Advanced Redness surely entice customers for another + Irritation Relief Eye Drops. This fortaste and is available in a resealable 2mula combines the proven redness-recount pouch with the “Sealed Fresh” guarantee. Swisher Sweets Silver is ready Unsweet Swisher Sweets Silver lieving power of Visine Original with for shipment to stores nationwide and is is now part of Swisher’s classic three moisturizing ingredients to cool, cigarillo line-up. soothe, and refresh irritated eyes and prooffered in “2 for 99¢,” “Save on 2,” “2 for tect against further eye irritation. $1.29” and “2 for $1.49” options. To place an order, contact your Use these lubricating eye drops to Swisher representative at 1-800-874-9720. soothe dry, red eyes after riding on an airVisine Advanced plane, staring at a computer screen for a Redness + Irritation Relief Eye Drops is back long period of time, or experiencing too by popular demand. much sun or wind exposure. The small InComm is a global leader in payment technologies, creating 0.28-fluid ounce bottle—40 percent more than the leading comseamless and valuable commerce experiences wherever payments petitor size—easily slips into a bag or purse, so you can soothe your happen—in store, online or via mobile. Through robust and long- irritated and dry eyes anywhere.

Visine Advanced Redness + Irritation Relief Eye Drops

InComm Delivers Innovative Wireless Payment Solutions

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Twix Cookies & Crème Ice Cream Bars

Ignite Your Sales With Reign Inferno

Introducing Reign Inferno, a Twix is ready to chill. New Twix Cookies & Creme Ice Cream Bars are made with rich, creamy vanilla ice cream mixed with new thermogenic fuel that burns calories and accelerates metabolism chocolate cookie with 300MG of natural cafpieces and a feine, BCAAs, electrolytes, crunchy chocoand 0 sugar. Reign Inferno late cookie to Reign Inferno in three flavors: will allow your customers to igprovide just the right comRed Dragon, Jalapeno Strawberry, and True Blu. New Twix nite their workouts and add fire to bination of chocolate, ice Cookies & Creme Ice Cream Bars their fuel. Available in three amazing flavors—Red Dragon, cream and crunchy deliprovide just the right combination of chocoJalapeno Strawberry, and True Blu. ciousness. late, ice cream and crunchiness.

Ennoble Bloody Mary & TGI Fridays Cocktails Lines

Bloody Mary combines the classic flavors of tomatoes, celery, lime juice, seasoning salt and Worcestershire with Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce.

Ennoble Beverages recently announced that its TGI Fridays Cocktails and Frank’s RedHot Bloody Mary lines are now available to all 7-Eleven stores licensed to sell beer. For many stores • Tipsy Tomato Bloody it will be the first time a customer can purchase a great tasting Mary Classic Recipe—Made Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule or Long Island Iced with CaliforTea with the alcohol already in it. Having these nia ripe true-to-cocktail products in-store allows your tomatoes, Sriracha sauce (crushed peppers customers to purchase all their alcoholic bevwith garlic and vinegar) and the natural flaerage needs at 7 Eleven and not have to go to vors of celery, lime and lemon. liquor stores to get their Bloody Mary, • Tipsy Tomato Bloody Mary Moscow Mule and Long Island Iced Tea spirit Extra Spicy—Made with California ingredients. ripe tomatoes, the recipe includes extra The TGI Fridays Cocktails and Frank’s Cayenne pepper sauce (made with aged RedHot Bloody Mary lines also offer the added crushed peppers) and the natural flavors of benefit of being already established, recognized and The TGI Fridays Cocktails and celery, lime and lemon. Frank’s RedHot Bloody Mary lines trusted brands. Many customers are already very have the alcohol already added. • Long Island Iced Tea—Balances the familiar with these brands, because many 7-Eleven stores carry other prod- fun flavors of classic cola and refreshing lemon in this surprisingly smooth sipper. ucts under these brand names.

AVAILABLE ALCOHOL-IN PRODUCTS INCLUDE:

• Blackberry Long Island Iced Tea—Adds fresh muddled blackberries for a fruity spinoff of the iconic cocktail classic.

• Frank’s RedHot Bloody Mary—The perfect blend of flavor and heat, Frank’s RedHot

• Moscow Mule—Juicy lime and zesty ginger beer blend with a subtle hint of mint to create this classic, craft-made Moscow Mule.

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foa events Midwest FOA Michigan Trade Show Detroit Marriott Troy Troy, Michigan January 8, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

FOA Of Greater LA/ San Diego FOA 10th Annual Trade Show Pechanga Resort and Casino Temecula, California January 22, 2020 Phone: 619-726-9016

Columbia Pacific FOA Trade Show Double Tree Hotel Lloyd Center Portland, Oregon March 12, 2020 Phone: 360-513-0289

FOA Of Southern California Annual Trade Show Pasadena Convention Center Pasadena, California March 30, 2020 Phone: 818-357-5985

South Nevada/ Las Vegas FOA Trade Show Alexis Park All Suite Resort Las Vegas, Nevada April 8, 2020 Phone: 702-561-0311

South Nevada/Las Vegas FOA 2020 Golf Tournament Rhodes Ranch Golf Club Las Vegas, Nevada April 9, 2020 Phone: 702-561-0311 74

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Chicago Trade Show Rosemont Convention Center April 15, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

San Francisco/ Monterey Bay FOA Trade Show

NCASEF

Board meetings National Coalition Affiliate Meeting

Oasis Palace Newark Newark, California April 22, 2020 Phone: 510-693-1492

Marriott DFW Airport South Fort Worth, Texas February 10-11, 2020

Eastern Virginia FOA Annual Golf Outing

National Coalition Board Of Directors Meeting

Sleepy Hill Golf Club Suffolk, Virginia April 22, 2020 Phone: 757-506-5926

Eastern Virginia FOA Annual Trade Show Virginia Beach (Venue TBD) Virginia Beach, Virginia April 23, 2020 Phone: 757-506-5926

Eastern Virginia FOA Annual Trade Show (Venue TBD) Charlotte, North Carolina May 13, 2020 Phone: 757-506-5926

FOA Of Southern California Charity Golf Tournament Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort City of Industry, California June 17, 2020 Phone: 818-357-5985

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Marriott DFW Airport South Fort Worth, Texas February 11-13, 2020

Columbia Pacific FOA Golf Tournament The Reserve Vineyard and Golf Club Aloha, Oregon June 22, 2020 Phone: 360-513-0289

Delaware Valley FOA Trade Show Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Atlantic City, New Jersey July 16, 2020 Phone: 215-771-6178

San Francisco/ Monterey Bay FOA Golf Tournament Castlewood Country Club Pleasanton, California September 13, 2020 Phone: 510-693-1492

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Hyatt Regency Long Island Hauppauge, New York May 13-14, 2020

National Coalition Board Of Directors Meeting Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center National Harbor, Maryland August 9-10, 2020

NCASEF 45th Annual Convention & Trade Show Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center National Harbor, Maryland August 10-13, 2020

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Golf Social (Venue TBD) October 8, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Holiday Party (Venue TBD) December 2, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Midwest FOA Michigan Holiday Party (Venue TBD) December 8, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457


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