Avanti September/October 2020

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September/October 2020




7 - E L E V E N


Almost Out Of The Woods–But Not Yet The State Of The Coalition

Franchisees Adapt Using Zoom For Meetings And Trade Show

The Case For Changing The Way We Account For Promotions And Discounts All In On Gasoline Chapter 3: Buyer Beware What Not To Do 7-Eleven Fails To Rally Franchisees Against AB-5 Dealing With Employees Who Test Positive For Or Have Symptoms Of COVID-19 Visit NCASEF.com and sign up for Dispatch! NCASEF VIRTUAL TRADE SHOW


November 17-18 Noon to 8 pm CST


Registration Open

Page 45

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September/October 2020

Contents 25 The State Of The Coalition



November 17-18, Noon to 8 pm CST


By Jay Singh, NCASEF Chairman

Page 19

Vendor and Franchisee Registration Now Open at www.NCASEF.com

Page 45

29 A Case For Changing The Way We Account For Promotions And Discounting By Michael Jorgensen, NCASEF Executive Vice Chairman

33 All In On Gasoline Chapter 3: Buyer Beware By Eric H. Karp, Esq., NCASEF General Counsel



37 7-Eleven Fails To Rally Franchisees Against AB-5

41 What Not To Do By Arnold J. Hauptman, Esq., General Counsel, United Franchise Owners of Long Island


President, FOA of Greater Los Angeles


By Jaspreet Dhillon, NCASEF Treasurer,

Member News....8

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

Join Your Local FOA.......20 Legislative Update..............................22

58 Dealing With Employees Who Test Positive For Or Have Symptoms Of COVID-19

SEI News............68

By Rob Bernstein, Esq., Partner, Laner Muchin, Ltd. and Elizabeth Rice, Associate, Laner Muchin, Ltd.

Dispatch at NCASEF.com

Franchisees Call For Stronger Regulations In Franchising Industry Page 10

Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App Page 10

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

Vendor Focus.................73 FOA Meetings Calendar................78 Franchisee Calendar..................78

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“As a result of forced distribution of COVID-19 essentials, have you received items you don’t need/can’t sell?” Ninetyone percent said yes. ree out of four said the “essential” products they had received during forced distribution were not up to Six months into the coronavirus panbrand standards. demic, 7-Eleven franchisees are largely dis“When you look at how our members pleased with the financial and operational answered the survey questions, it clearly support they have received from the comshows a disconnect between what they are pany, according to a survey of NCASEF talking about at the Dallas headquarters, members conducted in July and August. and what is really happening at the store On the question, “How would you rate level,” said NCASEF Chairman Jay Singh in 7-Eleven’s financial support through the a press release. “is is especially disapongoing pandemic?”, pointing because franchisees and their “Eighty-three percent of employees have been franchisees rated 7-Eleven’s front-line workers, financial support through the risking their health pandemic as ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’” and safety to support their stores and brand. is sacrifice has been unrecognized.” more than 83 percent One of the terms of SEI’s 2019 franchise answered “fair,” or agreement shis to franchisees the cost of “poor.” Less than 17 percent rated the supinsurance for everything except fire and caport “good,” “very good,” or “excellent.” On sualty loss to the store building and the the question, “How would you rate 7equipment, neither of which franchisees Eleven’s operational support through the own. At the time, NCASEF estimated the ongoing pandemic?” less than 18 percent cost to franchisees would be approximately answered “excellent,” “very good,” or $230 per month. at was before coron“good.” Over 82 percent answered either avirus and a summer of urban unrest. “fair,” or “poor.” “e timing couldn’t have been worse Since the outbreak of coronavirus, 7for franchises, many of whom have been Eleven has force-shipped items to franoperating on the slimmest of margins bechised stores that operators didn’t want or continued on page 12 need. e National Coalition survey asked,

Franchisees Give SEI Poor Rating On Pandemic Support


702-249-3301 • jays@ncasef.com


347-251-1828 • mcjorg@yahoo.com


818-203-2527 • paullobana@aol.com


847-845-8477 • rehan711@yahoo.com


425-438-8381 • ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com


210-971-9211 • shawnh@ncasef.com


617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com


262-275-3086 • johnr@jrplanners.com


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


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

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

The Voice of 7-Eleven Franchisees September/October 2020 © 2020 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees Avanti Magazine is the registered trademark of The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees.



Your National Coalition is Committed to Franchisee Interests

Franchisees Call For Stronger Regulations In Franchising Industry NCASEF is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to better protect franchise owners by broadening and strengthening regulation within the franchising industry, and is also calling on the International Franchise Association (IFA) to support those efforts. “We were pleased to see FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra’s September 16, 2020 comment, which “We said, ‘Regulators must stop unfair, deceptive, were pleased to and discriminatory practices that target fransee FTC Commissioner chisees and their employees,’” said NCASEF Chairman Jay Singh. “We look forward to Rohit Chopra’s September 16, providing detailed comments to the FTC as 2020 comment, which said, part of its review of the Franchise Rule.”

‘Regulators must stop unfair, deceptive, and discriminatory practices that target franchisees and their employees.’”

Over the past several years, NCASEF has publicized a number of unfair and opportunistic practices undertaken by 7-Eleven Inc. (SEI) including issuing Franchise Disclosure Documents that do not fully disclose the risks of investing in a 7-Eleven franchise and stubbornly refusing to recognize the system’s only democratically elected franchisee-representative organization.

SEI’s 2019 franchise agreement gives the corporation a bigger percentage of franchisees’ gross profits while at the same time transferring responsibility to franchisees for many new expenses like insurance. SEI just informed franchisees the cost of their Business Owner Policy could be as much as 24 percent higher next year. “7-Eleven has a history of unfair and deceptive acts and practices targeting franchisees,” said Singh. “The FTC needs to take a closer look at what is going on in the 7-Eleven system and in other systems where franchisors are not engaged in fair dealing.” Following its planned takeover of Speedway, 7-Eleven will have 3,900 new U.S. stores it can make available for franchising. NCASEF believes stronger regulations will not only protect new franchisees entering the system, but also improve the situation for those franchisees that have already invested their life’s savings into the business. “We are looking to the International Franchise Association to support a careful review of not just of the Franchise Rule covering information brands must put in their disclosure documents, but also a long overdue investigation of the absence of meaningful rules that govern the franchisee/franchisor relationship,” continued on page 50


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

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“We anticipate a steep increase in insurance costs next year because of the events of 2020. at will be like a one-two punch to our franchisees.” —NCASEF Chairman Jay Singh cause of the pandemic and the violence that has erupted in urban areas across the country. One-third of 7-Eleven franchisees responding to our survey said their stores had been affected by looting, rioting and/or forced closures stemming from unrest,” Singh said, adding, “We anticipate a steep increase in insurance costs next year because of the events of 2020. at will be like a one-two punch to our franchisees.”

Japan C-Stores To Stop Forcing 24-Hr Rule Japanese convenience store owners who have been fighting for a break from their grueling 24-hour, 365-day-a-year operations may be closer to shorter opening hours, reported the New York Times. In a recent report, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission took the industry’s top chains to task for business practices that have generated enormous profits by pushing grow-

ing operating costs onto franchise owners. e report, which was based on a survey of more than 8,400 convenience store franchisees, detailed numerous problems with the companies’ business models, starting from the franchisee recruitment process and extending to the most fundamental aspects of store management. Among the most serious problems cited by the report were companies’ coercing franchisees into buying more products than they could sell, pushing them to maintain 24-7 operating hours and making misleading recruitment promises to store owners about the prospects for their new businesses. e commission warned that those practices, among others, may have run afoul of Japan’s antimonopoly law by “abusing a superior bargaining position.” It requested that the country’s eight leading convenience store chains—which include Seven-Eleven Japan, Lawson and FamilyMart—submit a plan for taking corrective measures. e commission also said it would seek further information about possible legal violations by the companies.

7-Eleven Coming To Ocala, FL

Ocala, Florida stands poised to welcome its first 7-Eleven stores, as plans for two locations were recently filed with the city, reported the Ocala Star-Banner. While 7-Eleven remained tantalizingly close in Leesburg, this is the first time the chain has made a foray into “Japan’s Fair Trade Commission Marion County. One took the industry’s top c-store chains planned location is on the corner of North Pine Avto task for business practices that enue and Bonnie Heath have generated enormous profits by Boulevard at the site of a curpushing growing operating costs rent Shell station. e applionto franchise owners.” cation for a permit calls for continued on page 14


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Amazon recently received FAA approval to use drones to deliver packages, bringing the retailer a critical step closer to its goal of shortening delivery times to 30 minutes or less, reported the New York Times. • With the coronavirus pandemic upending the way U.S. consumers shop, big box retailers Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s have moved their winter holiday promotions up to as early as October, reported Reuters. They also announced store closures on Thanksgiving and plans to bypass the midnight Black Friday doorbuster sales. • C-store chain Kwik Chek recently announced it is rebranding all of its stores to Texas Born (TXB), giving homage to the 18-year-old company’s Texas roots and values. The company said it will rebrand all 47 of its locations in Texas and Oklahoma to TXB during the next three years, and will use the new brand for its new locations. • Costco reported a jump of almost 14.1 percent in comparable-store sales in the quarter ended August 31, and store traffic and demand have stayed strong during the pandemic, despite the retailer’s decision to not offer curbside pickup or a click-and-collect program, reported Forbes. The retailer has seen growth in nonfood items as well as groceries. • Macy’s will hold a smaller version of its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade as the pandemic continues to limit gatherings, reported NBC News. The retailer will hold parade events over a two-day period to avoid drawing crowds, the giant balloons will be handled by specialty vehicles, and participants will be required to be socially distant. • Mondelēz International recently announced a multiyear commitment to advance racial equity at its U.S. and global operations by expanding its diversity and inclusion initiatives. The company said it will double black representation in management in the U.S. by 2024; spend $1 billion annually with minority- and women-owned businesses by 2024; and appoint a Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. • Just Born Quality Confections won’t be producing its popular Peeps marshmalcontinued on page 16

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the demolition of the current station and a former bank branch location next door. In its place will go a 4,600-square-foot building with multiple gas pumps. e second planned location is at the corner of Northwest 27th Avenue and Northwest Blitchton Road. ose plans call for the construction of a 4,724-square-foot store with eight gas pumps and a 980-square-foot automatic car wash building.

Labor Day Weekend Trips Decline Increased traffic over the Labor Day weekend temporarily boosted trips at U.S. convenience stores, but the crucial end-ofthe-summer holiday period fell short of the


“While Labor Day c-store trips were down 7.9 percent vs. a year ago, basket spend continued to be strong, up about 20 percent.” year-ago holiday’s results, reported NACS Daily News. According to the biweekly report from PDI and NACS issued on September 22, trips in the week leading up to Labor Day (week ended September 6) were up 3 percent compared with the prior week and down 7.9 percent vs. a year ago (week ended September 9, 2019)—a rate last seen at the start of March.

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Comparing the 2020 holiday weekend (Friday, September 4 to Monday, September 7) to last year’s holiday weekend (Friday, August 30 to Monday, September 2, 2019), trips were down 10.1 percent, which is in line with the overall trip decline rate in the convenience channel since May. Overall, for the three weeks ended September 13, trips were down 12.7 percent compared with a year ago. However, basket spend (dollars per transaction) continued to be strong compared with the prior year, up about 20 percent, with small weekly fluctuations. e “new normal” pattern persists, with lower trips vs. the prior year but larger baskets. Dollar sales growth continued to be in the low single digits, but lower than the past continued next page

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few months. During the three weeks ended September 13, dollar sales were up 3.9 percent year-over-year, compared with 5.3 percent growth for the three weeks ended August 16. Weekly fluctuations were more pronounced, with +0.6 percent year-overyear growth during the week ended August 30, +10.2 percent during the week ended September 6 and +1 percent for the week ended September 13.

C-Stores In The Red Convenience store retail sales plunged into the red as COVID-19 caused economic shutdowns across the country, which adversely affected store traffic and fuel volume, reported Convenience Store News. e publication’s 2020 Midyear Re-

port Card reveals there “According to Nielsen, beer exhibited the greatest was an initial percentage dollar growth in the first half of 2020, sales boom with total beer category dollar sales up 12 percent.” driven by panic-buying up 12 percent. Edible grocery and non-edof basic essentials when the pandemic first ible grocery also saw uncommon sales gained notoriety in early to mid-March. gains—up 7.3 percent and 3.3 percent, reHowever, soon aer that, nationwide shelspectively—as sheltering consumers ter-in-place restrictions destroyed demand bought essential grocery items and cleanfor fuel and depressed customer traffic ining supplies at c-stores. Cigarettes, cigars side the store. Foodservice, including preand smokeless tobacco also performed well pared food, fresh baked goods, and hot and in the first half. cold dispensed beverages, were particularly Most other categories, however—espehard-hit, the article states. cially those reliant on impulse purchasOf the major categories tracked by ing—were negatively impacted by the Nielsen, beer exhibited the greatest percoronavirus pandemic, including gum and centage dollar growth in the first half of 2020, with total beer category dollar sales continued on page 16

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mints (down 21.5 percent and 20.5 percent), packaged beverages (down 2 percent), and salty snacks (down 7.6 percent). Seasonal candy was also hurt as the Easter selling season fell right in the midst of the worst part of the health crisis.

7-Eleven On C-Store Digital Scorecard 7-Eleven has moved up four places to No. 3 on Ameex Technologies’ 2020 study measuring convenience store retailers’ online presence, reported Convenience Store News. e jump was based on 7-Eleven’s strong SEO (search engine optimization) scores, web traffic, and number of followers on Facebook and Instagram. Sheetz came in at No.1 and Kwik Trip at No. 2. Overall, looking at the 2020 rankings vs. 2019 indicates that convenience store retailers continue to evolve and look for new ways to engage with shoppers, noted Ameex Technologies.

C-Stores Fought Pandemic With Home Delivery Since COVID-19 hit the U.S. in March, drastically reducing in-store shopping, convenience store chains like 7-Eleven, Circle K, and Casey’s General Stores have accelerated the rollout of delivery from thousands of locations, making them the rare success story in brick-and-mortar retailing during the pandemic, reported Bloomberg Businessweek. C-store operators are offering a wide range of home-delivery items, everything from milk, eggs, and Ding Dongs to Tylenol a n d

coffee filters, via third-party platforms such as Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats. e article states that 7-Eleven, which will have more than 13,000 stores in America aer completing its acquisition of Speedway convenience outlets from Marathon Oil Corp., is going all-in on home delivery. A year ago SEI offered its 7Now service in 200 U.S. cities. By mid-August, it was scheduled to have delivery in 1,300.

Couche-Tard 1st Quarter Income Boost Circle K parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard’s quarterly earnings beat estimates recently, as customers spent more on groceries at its stores, while a fall in fuel prices boosted profit margins at its gas stations, reported Reuters. Revenue from Couche-Tard’s merchandise and services unit that sells food products and everyday essentials rose 7 percent to $3.86 billion in the first quarter, with gross profit rising 7.5 percent. Net income attributable to the company rose 44.2 percent to $777.1 million in the first quarter ended July 19, compared to net earnings of $538.8 million for the same fiscal 2020 period. Gross profits in the company’s fuel business rose 13.1 percent due to lower oil prices. However, a coronavirus-led slump in fuel demand brought Couche-Tard’s total revenue down 31.4 percent to $9.71 billion.

Tobacco Sales Up During Pandemic While the convenience store industry has experienced a tremendous amount of uncertainty in 2020, tobacco has kept its stronghold and continued to be a top performer, reveals a new Koupon Insights report. According to the study, in-store sales per store are up 1 percent from continued on page 19


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low sweets for Halloween, Christmas or Valentine’s Day due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reported the Associated Press. The Pennsylvania-based company, however, is preparing to produce the holiday-shaped candies for next Easter. • Pizza Hut will close up to 300 locations as part of a deal between the Yum Brands chain and its largest U.S. franchisee, NPC International, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early July after struggling with its debt burden of roughly $1 billion, reported CNBC. NPC will also put its remaining 927 Pizza Hut locations up for sale. • Swisher International, Inc. recently announced that it will change its corporate identity to SWISHER, signifying the expansion of the company’s vision, offerings and focus on adult consumer lifestyle. The company is introducing a platform for trade partners called Success Simplified, which is about action, reliability and programs that deliver shared success. • A report on the public perception of self-driving vehicles in the United States by driverless technology company Motional found that 62 percent of people surveyed believe autonomous vehicles are the way of the future, and that enthusiasm for those vehicles has risen since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Tech Republic. • Grocery chain Safeway recently rolled out at-home COVID-19 test kits at its pharmacies in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C., reported Progressive Grocer. The kits can be picked up or delivered once patients fill out a questionnaire, with their saliva samples sent to a New York lab and results expected in about 72 hours. • Walmart recently ran a pilot project for delivery of grocery and household products through automated drones, in partnership with end-to-end delivery firm Flytrex, as the company looks to beef up its delivery business, reported CNBC. The test began in September 9 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with cloud-controlled drones picking up and dropping off select items. • Vinyl record sales have outpaced CD sales in the United States for the first time since the 1980s, reported CNN Business. Vinyl records accounted for continued on page 26

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Franchisee registration

2019 aer three weeks of declines; tobacco basket value is up 28 percent and units per basket is up 12 percent from last year; and smaller smokeless tobacco and cigarette companies are outperforming the category average in basket value and units per basket. C-stores continue to experience a decrease in trips with a corresponding increase in dollars per basket. However, sales have returned to growth on a yearover-year basis. While trips are down 16 percent, dollars per basket continues to hover near 20 percent.

Raffle Drawing with $10,000 Grand Prize!

Online Grocery Sales $250 Billion By 2025

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NCASEF was forced to reschedule our annual Noon to t: $2,500 convention and trade show. But now we are Booth Cos happy to announce that we have created a new Virtual Trade Show to allow our valued vendors to present their latest products and great deals to our franchisee community, and to give storeowners an avenue to get the hottest selling items into their stores.

E-commerce will account for 21.5 percent of total grocery sales, worth $250 billion, within five years, reported Grocery Dive, citing a new survey from Mercatus and research firm Incisiv. While COVID19 concerns and convenience largely accounted for the online grocery boom over the last six months—with 43 percent of shoppers using online grocery compared to 24 percent two years ago—the findings determined that, going forward, retailers should continue to focus on optimizing both online and in-store shopping. e findings also suggest that grocery retailers can attract the growing number of consumers ages 45 and older who have recently turned to new shopping strategies, with 35 percent trying online grocery orders for the first time and 46 percent opting for new fulfillment methods like curbside pickup. at population is likely to continue those recent shopping changes, the report notes.

Grocery Chains And New Tech e rapid shi to online ordering during the pandemic has ushered in the next continued on page 20

is FREE and open now!


l Tra NCASEF Virtua

de Show

0 2 0 2 , 8 1 7 1 r e b m Nove 8 p.m. CST

Live Cha!t available

The event is scheduled for November 17-18, from noon to 8 p.m. CST. Just visit the NCASEF website at NCASEF.com and follow the links on the homepage to register and to participate in the trade show. Vendors: The cost for a virtual booth is $2,500 and Live Chat is available. You will also be able to accept orders. Franchisees: Registration is FREE, so visit NCASEF.com for more information and to sign up. You will be able to place orders during the virtual trade show, so don’t hesitate to get what you want for your stores. We are also conducting an interactive Legal Seminar during the event that you will not want to miss! You can earn chances to win the Grand Prize drawing of $10,000! Please also note that we are in the process of planning a second Virtual Trade Show, tentatively scheduled for early February, 2021.

Visit NCASEF.com for more information and the latest updates! “Electric cars are becoming so mainstream that by 2025 it may be as cheap or cheaper to own a plug-in vehicle than one that burns fossil fuels, according to the New York Times.”

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phase of grocery shopping, but grocers are investing in technology meant for stores, as well, reported CNBC. ey’re launching innovative technology inside brick-andmortar locations, where the bulk of consumers still shop. Walmart’s new membership program, Walmart+, offers access to a techbased perk: a smartphone app that lets customers skip the line at stores. Grocery chain Giant Eagle turned one of its stores into a checkout-less shopping experience. A handful of Price Chopper stores in Missouri are offering shoppers access to an app that can scan items and tally up their order, allowing them to skip the checkout line. Wegmans piloted

a self-checkout app at three stores prior to the pandemic, but rolled it out to 80 of its 103 stores this spring as customers sought out contactless shopping. Before the pandemic, nearly 98 percent of U.S. grocery sales were in the stores, according to McKinsey & Company. Even with the gains in curbside pickup and home delivery, 85 percent of sales were still in stores at the peak of “According to AAA, COVID-19, the firm the national gas price found. As the coronavirus average at $2.18 is at pandemic continues, techthe cheapest start to based approaches that promote safety and speed the month of October

“Walmart’s new membership program, Walmart+, offers access to a tech-based perk: a smartphone app that lets customers skip the line at stores.”

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


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are becoming table stakes for grocers. Customers of all ages have been more willing than before to download apps, try out services like curbside pickup and seek out ways to avoid interactions with cashiers or other customers.

since 2016, and is nearly 50 cents cheaper than last year.”

Gas Prices Lowest Since 2016 At $2.18, the national gas price average is at the cheapest start to the month of Occontinued on page 52

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

Legislative Update Federal Judge Blocks Parts Of Joint Employer Rule A federal judge in New York recently declared the most consequential elements of the U.S. Labor Department’s joint employer regulation illegal, reported Bloomberg Law. e regulation, which took effect in March, narrows the scenarios in which multiple businesses can be held liable under the Fair Labor Standards Act for failing to pay minimum wages and overtime to workers. e judge ruled that the Labor Department regulation is “arbitrary and capricious” and inconsistent with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in setting aside the department’s new standard. e ruling vacates the agency’s new test for vertical employment, referring to when a worker enters an employment relationship with one company, such as at a staffing agency “CENTRAL TO THE or subcontractor, but is economically FINAL RULE IS THE dependent on another employer. LABOR DEPARTCentral to the final rule is the Labor MENT’S ADOPTION OF Department’s adoption of a four-part A FOUR-PART TEST TO test to assess whether one company is a joint employer of another company’s ASSESS WHETHER workers. e test, which considers all ONE COMPANY IS A factors collectively, probes whether the JOINT EMPLOYER OF potential joint employer hires or fires an ANOTHER COMPANY’S employee; supervises or controls work WORKERS.” schedules; sets pay rates; and maintains employment records. However, the judge stated that test is “impermissibly narrow.” He said requiring an employer to actually exercise one of the four factors in order to qualify as a joint employer—rather than merely reserving the right to do so—makes the standard inconsistent with the FLSA. A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia sued the administration in February over this regulation. Led by Pennsylvania and New York, the Democratic state attorneys general argued that the department’s more restrictive interpretation of joint employment “makes workers even more vulnerable to underpayment and wage the.”

California Bans Flavored Cigarettes And E-Cigs Starting January 1, it will be illegal to sell most flavored tobacco products in California, reported CBS News. Governor


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Gavin Newsom signed the flavored tobacco ban bill on August 28, hours aer the state Senate voted unanimously to give final approval to SB793. Under the new bill, retailers will not be criminally charged for selling flavored cigarettes or vaping cartridges, but could be fined up to $250 for doing so. e bill specifically targets sweet flavors, including fruit, chocolate, candy, and dessert, “Starting January 1, it will be illegal to sell most flavored as well as more traditional flavors tobacco products in California, such as menthol specifically sweet flavors and mint. including fruit, chocolate, Loose-leaf candy, and dessert, as tobacco and well as more traditional “premium flavors such as menthol cigars,” and mint.” which are handmade with a tobacco leaf wrapper without a filter, tip or mouthpiece and cost at least $12, are not included in the ban. e bill does not apply to online sales of tobacco products, which oen cross state lines, with sellers not headquartered in California. e measure also would not prohibit the personal possession of flavored tobacco.

Chicago Bans Flavored Vaping Products e Chicago City Council recently approved a watereddown ordinance banning the sale of flavored vaping products favored by teens, but exempting flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. Alderman Matt O’Shea (19th) originally championed a citywide ban on all flavored tobacco products, only to run into a buzz-saw of opposition from owners of gas stations, convenience and tobacco stores who accused O’Shea of kicking them continued next page


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Legislative Update when they’re down. He was forced to settle for the watered-down ban on “flavored liquid nicotine products,” according to the article.

Berkeley Bans Candy At Checkout Aisles

that the rule will encourage healthier food consumption choices. Under the ordinance, only food items with no more than five grams of added sugars or 250 milligrams of sodium per serving will be allowed at checkout aisles. is will eliminate the usual assortment of candies, chips, sodas and gum shoppers usually see while paying. e new rule goes into effect March 1, 2021, but enforcement will not begin until January 1, 2022.

e City Council of Berkeley, California recently passed an ordinance that bars grocery stores from selling candy and soda at checkout lines and instead encourages the sale of healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts and beverages with no NJ Lawmakers Ban added sugars, reported SFGate.com. e ordinance applies Single-Use Paper & Plastic to retailers with stores greater than 2,500 square feet and New Jersey lawmakers recently passed legwill impact chains “The City Council of Berkeley, California passed an islation banning single-use plastic and paper that operate in ordinance that bars grocery stores from selling Berkeley such as bags, as well as Styrofoam containers, reported candy and soda at checkout lines and instead Safeway and Trader NBC 10 Philadelphia. While some states imencourages the sale of healthy snacks such as Joe's. Proponents of pose a fee on paper bags, New Jersey lawmakfruit, nuts and beverages with no added sugars.” the ordinance state continued on page 42

Sign Up For The Dispatch Newsletter! Sign up today to receive Dispatch, the NCASEF’s email newsletter that keeps you up to date on the latest 7-Eleven news and announcements from national leadership. With all the changes and challenges happening within our system, the Dispatch newsletter serves as a direct line of communication between the National Coalition and the franchisee community. Receive urgent information, alerts, and reports directly from national leadership as it happens.

Head over to www.NCASEF.com and click on the Subscribe to Our Newsletter button on the upper right column of the homepage. Then fill out the form to be placed on the Dispatch email list. AVANTI S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0



These are tough times. The COVID-19 pandemic is testing our will, and the resilience of all the people around us. It is a very painful test that continues to take away precious lives and freedoms, and paralyze our world as we know it. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, the National Coalition has cancelled three board meetings and a convention, we have transitioned to Zoom Board meetings once per month, we are reevaluating our financial status, and we have started a Telegram app group that has blossomed to 906 franchisees representing some 3,500-4,000 stores. MEMBERSHIP Our members have had a very rough time throughout the pandemic, and our employees and our customers have also been deeply affected. Overall in Membership the NCASEF faired very well. We have added new franchisee members, but we have lost some members too as a result of our efforts to weed out and eliminate some 508 duplicate memberships on the National Coalition books caused by franchisees joining more than one FOA. (There are benefits to being in more than one FOA, like more social activities and access to other franchisees.) I would like to recognize the Delaware Valley FOA particularly for working on membership this year, and adding some 46 new members. In the state of Washington, two FOAs merged to form the Greater Northwest FOA, and overall, NCASEF has added approximately eight members in the Member-At-Large category, which is in our bylaws. We have this category, I believe, because our founding franchisees may have thought it would JAY SINGH take time to organize viable FOAs in difCAN BE REACHED AT 702-249-3301 OR ferent parts of the JAYS@NCASEF.COM country. The Mem-

“Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, the National Coalition has cancelled three board meetings and a convention, and we have transitioned to Zoom Board meetings once per month.” ber-At-Large category allows underrepresented areas to at least have representation nationally through NCASEF. Members-AtLarge have all the rights of members in local FOAs, except that they cannot vote. They can run for office and the National Coalition can represent them in any way we

can, but I think it was part of the vision of the founding franchisee officers of this great organization to provide representation for every franchisee, even if they cannot organize an FOA or if there are not enough stores in that region. Acquired stores from Marathon (approximately 3,900) and Sunoco (1,008

“Each meeting has had presentations from 5-6 vendors who want to get their message to franchisees.”

stores), will become NCASEF members when the time comes and they are franchised. Existing franchisees who purchase these stores should join the NCASEF as multiples. LAWSUIT The California misclassification lawsuit, Serge Haitayan, et al vs. 7-Eleven, Inc., filed by four franchisees in October 2017, being prepared by Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, has gone to the next stage. According our lawyer, mediation should be finished by December 28 of this year, with the case going to trial on March 22, 2020. The discovery phase is already in progress, and both parties have to agree to the mediation. It is possible SEI will not agree because the action is not binding. This is an incredibly important case for 7-Eleven franchisees as it affects our independent contractor status and potentially our Franchise Agreement. CONVENTION AND BOARD MEETINGS Due to COVID-19 health restrictions surrounding travel and the resulting hotel regulations, NCASEF had to cancel three Board meetings and a trade show and convention in 2020. Franchisees and our vendor partners, concerned for the safety of continued on page 26

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our families and our employees, have transitioned to Zoom meetings for the foreseeable future. Since July, all NCASEF Board meetings have been held virtually, once per month, for 5-6 hours at a time. Each meeting has had presentations from 5-6 vendors who want to get their message to franchisees. We are still planning our May 2021 meeting to be held in Long Island, New York. Our Zoom meetings have worked out well, with over 90 percent of our FOAs represented at each meeting. We are pleased to announce our 2020 Convention and Trade Show will be held via Zoom on November 17-18 from noon to 8pm CST. No one has to travel, franchisees will soon be able to register fro free, and vendors can still buy booths and take orders (see NCASEF.com for more information). We will still have a franchisee Legal Forum, and State Of The Coalition/Ask The Chairman Sessions. This arrangement only makes sense, since most companies do not permit their employees to travel at the current time. After cancelling our August convention and trade show at the National Harbor Gaylord Hotel in Washington, D.C., we have agreed to schedule our 2021 convention and trade show at the Gaylord in Orlando, Florida, virus permitting. We have not made any changes to our Affiliate Program for 2021.

“We are pleased to announce our 2020 Convention and Trade Show will be held via Zoom on November 17-18 from noon to 8pm CST.” 26

“It is in our best interests to postpone our election from this November to May 2021. The Board will discuss this and vote on it during our November meeting.” ELECTIONS FOR NCASEF OFFICERS According to our bylaws we must have elections for NCASEF vice chairman every two years, and there are no proxies allowed. In keeping with the strict secrecy rules we adopted for our elections last year, I think it is in our best interests to postpone our election from this November to May 2021. The Board will discuss this and vote on it during our November meeting. If health restrictions due to COVID-19 by some miracle are rolled back by the end of the year, we will plan to have a meeting and tabletop trade show in Dallas sometime in February 2021. Our next chance would be in Long Island in May, if the CDC eases restrictions on travel. We plan to poll the Board this month to see how they feel about travel for these meetings. TELEGRAM APP FOR FRANCHISEE COMMUNICATIONS I would like to give a special shout out to Neil Shaw, a franchisee from Boston, for suggesting we form discussion group on Telegram due to its unlimited number of participants. The day after his suggestion we put rules in place and formed a group that crossed the 300-person mark in two days. We now have over 906 franchisee members communicating. I took a personal interest in this because my main motive was that every franchisee should have access to participation. When I look at the posts on the group, I see discussions on topics like maintenance, accounting, and the cash register being stuck. It’s helping franchisees big time. I would like to thank every franchise who has joined. My eventual goal is to have 1,500

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franchisees representing 4,500 stores communicating with each other. For a franchisee to ask a question of the entire group it takes only a single post. For national officers to communicate with franchisees it is easy, it is 24/7, and it is restricted to business posts only. To join, send a message to your local FOA or to the NCASEF national office at nationaloffice@ncasef.com. You must be a franchisee and preferably a paying member of the National Coalition. These are trying times for everyone, but I believe we can be patient and work with each other. The National Coalition is committed to supporting franchisees as well as our vendor partners, whose support is crucial to us. Thank you for your sponsorship, you are helping us tremendously.

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$232.1 million of music sales in the first half of the year, compared to CDs, which brought in only $129.9 million, according to a report from the Recording Industry Association of America. • Lowe’s paid hourly employees a total of $100 million in its sixth round of pandemic-era employee bonuses in October, bringing the total additional pay this year to more than $675 million, reported CNBC. The new bonuses come as Lowe’s reports ongoing strong demand for appliances, DIY supplies and outdoor tools with consumers sticking close to home. • In response to the national coin shortage, Pennsylvania-based convenience chain Wawa recently held a chainwide sweepstakes where customers could enter to win “Shorti” sandwiches for a year by simply exchanging a minimum of $5 of rolled coins for dollar bills at any Wawa store. • Waze recently rolled out a new feature that allows U.S. drivers to link the navigation platform to fuel partner apps for contactless payments at participating Exxon, Mobil and continued on page 34

A Case For Changing The Way We Account For Promotions And Discounting BY MICHAEL JORGENSEN, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN, NCASEF

7-Eleven’s system of promos and discounts certainly needs some rethinking. While researching my most recent audit using the new Inventory Walk Report, I reviewed the nonalcoholic beverage category by item. Drilling down to the by-item report I noticed that there were an abundance of discounts and markdowns. On just the first 10 of 31 pages, the discounts equated to approximately $57,000, which based on the total purchases reflects that 18 percent of my inventory in this category alone is discounted. Now this being an audit, I thought about my inventory shortage and how we pay for shortage at full retail value multiplied by VIP (Variable Inventory Percent), not the full retail value minus discount. VIP is calculated using the previous 12 months’ purchases at cost divided by the previous 12 months’ purchases at retail. Special Items Purchases, consigned merchandise, writeoffs, and product markdowns are excluded from Purchases at cost as well as Purchases at retail. It seems that in this one category I’m paying 18 percent more on shortage due to the amount of discounting occurring at the POS register ONLY when items are sold. So I’m effectively bringing products into the store at a retail that is unrealized because of the amount of promotional activity and discounting we now have. When inventory is unaccounted for, whatever the reason, I’m effectively paying a higher cost for the missing inventory since the product is retailed in at a much higher retail than I will ever realize selling that product for in my store. For example, let’s say my VIP is 63 percent. I have a one-liter water with an actual cost of $0.71, a retail of $1.89, and a discount of $1.00, bringing the actual retail to the customer to $0.89. If one bottle is unaccounted for at the audit, the cost I will have to pay

“In the nonalcoholic beverage category on my Inventory Walk Report, discounts equated to approximately $57,000, which based on the total purchases reflects that 18 percent of my inventory in this category alone is discounted.” back for the missing bottle is $1.19 (retail price of inventory on floor by VIP). The difference in cost between the actual cost

93 percent of my pizza sales go out the door discounted, going out at 2 for $2 or as part of a discounted whole pie (an even larger discount). If one slice is unaccounted for as part of the audit, the cost I will pay for that slice shortage is $0.94, this is $0.41 cents more than the actual cost. This works for many products across the store, especially as promotional activity and discounting increase. Take apple fritters, for instance. An apple fritter costs $0.80, is invoiced at a retail of $1.89, and sells on promo at the POS register for only $1.00. The markdown is $0.89 for each fritter. It’s a great deal for our customer, but if there is a

“I’m effectively bringing products into the store at a retail that is unrealized because of the amount of promotional activity and discounting.” ($0.71) and the VIP cost is $0.48. I’m paying $1.19 per one-liter for any short at the time of my audit. Yet on promo (100 percent of these are sold on promo), the most I will sell that item for is $0.89. Let’s try another example, using a category that franchisees have been consistently asking to be changed to markup—the food category. The actual cost of a pizza slice is $0.53 and the retail when delivered is $1.49.

discrepancy upon my audit, I’m paying back $1.19 for shrinkage and at inventory, a difference of $0.39 between VIP cost and actual cost. This is especially illuminating when you consider that 100 percent of the water and fritters are sold on promo, as is 93 percent of the pizza slices. This accounting complication first occurred to me with the introduction of mini continued on page 30

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A Case For Changing...

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“If one slice is unaccounted for as part of the audit, the cost I will pay for that slice shortage is $0.94, $0.41 cents more than the actual cost.” tacos which originally were retailed at $0.50 each and sold at 4/$1. This made no sense as close to 100 percent were being sold as a bundle (you can’t go to McDonald’s and get just one chicken nugget). In this scenario if one mini taco was unaccounted for we are paying $0.50 on inventory variation when the most we will realistically realize is $0.25 as a sale. Cigarettes, which account for a large part of our sales and inventory, also need to be considered. Roughly thirty percent of my cigarette sales are cartons and a large percentage are also sold as 2 and 3 pack promotions, yet they are being added to my retail inventory at the higher pack price. If a pack of cigarettes is unaccounted for, I am paying the shortage back at the full pack price times VIP. The likelihood of realizing the full value of everything you bring into your store is minimized by the promotional activity and discounting. It appears that on inventory shortages we all pay back a higher cost because of this. The considerations extend beyond inventory variation as well, to the interest we are paying on inventory. The portion of interest we pay for our inventory is based on our retail inventory on hand times VIP. We are paying interest on that inventory based on the retail price that the inventory was brought into our stores. Over 7,300 franchised stores and hundreds of items being sold on promo or discounted, inventory variation and the difference in interest we are paying on our inventory adds up to a ginormous number. Promotional activity and discounting are crucial to our business and determine our ability to maintain or grow our customer counts and sales, but the accounting 30

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must be revisited. To get to the price to compete in the marketplace for customers, we are compelled to buy into the promotions and discounts. 7-Eleven uses it’s bargaining position to negotiate with vendors and the way they account for the discounts and funding compels franchisees to participate in the promos. Customers are happy, the vendors are happy, and 7-Eleven is happy, but franchisees end up paying more in inventory variation and more in interest on the inventory they carry than they should. In most other businesses, shrink is in the cost of sales. In our system it is not part of cost of sales, it is after the fact and the cost is borne by franchisees. It doesn’t matter if it is a paper shortage, something set up incorrectly in the ISP, or theft. With all the promotional activity and discounting and the accounting billbacks, and scanbacks, the more convoluted it gets for us to even be able to track down our proper credits. 7Eleven does not disclose inventory variation numbers because it is a franchisee expense. To finish where I started, based on our current accounting, if I have a retail inventory

shortage of $1,000 and my VIP is 63 percent I will pay back $630. But assuming my nonalcoholic beverages markdowns of 18 percent extends to all categories of inventory across the entire store the retail value of the

“Customers are happy, the vendors are happy, and 7-Eleven is happy, but franchisees end up paying more in inventory variation and more in interest on the inventory they carry than they should.”

“In most other businesses, shrink is in the cost of sales. In our system it is not part of cost of sales, it is after the fact and the cost is borne by franchisees.”

missing inventory will only be $820. Multiply this by VIP and it reduces the inventory variation at cost to $517 reducing what I must pay back on the shortage by $113. 7-Eleven needs to revisit the way promotional pricing and discounting are accounted for because times have changed. The way we are doing accounting might not work the way it used to. I realize that there are many benefits to our business to participate in promotions and discounting, from driving traffic and customer retention to signing customers up for 7-Rewards, but franchisees shouldn’t bear the burdens of higher interest costs or an inflated cost of inventory shortage based on SEIs accounting.



All In On Gasoline Chapter 3: Buyer Beware ERIC H. KARP, ESQ., GENERAL COUNSEL TO NCASEF

In Chapter 2, I explored the implications of the $21 billion acquisition of Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Speedway business. Among the issues we observed was that the interests and concerns of franchisees in regard to this transaction were invisible, not only to the parent company of your franchisor, but to Wall Street, as well. In addition, the built-in conflict of interest, where franchisees are paid a commission based on the number of gallons pumped but SEI has the right to set the retail price, continues to be exploited by SEI. SEI’s interest is clearly in maximizing its profit at the pump, which decreases the gasoline commissions to franchisees and also decreases the number of customer visits, and thus retail merchandise sales. The financial consequences of two blockbuster gasoline purchases by SEI’s parent signals an existential change in the strategic thinking of the company, which has deep implications for franchisee stakeholders. This is especially so because both the Sunoco and the Speedway acquired stores are much more dependent on gasoline sales than the typical 7-Eleven store. The extent to which 7-Eleven has become a gasoline business is further demonstrated by the fact that following the closing of the Speedway transaction, approximately 57 percent of the locations in the United States will have gasoline, but only 50 percent of the locations will be franchised. Consequently, SEI has made clear its intent to progressively convert these acquired stores to franchised locations. And as franchisees contemplate whether or not to make such an investment, they should be mindful of the ways in which SEI is exploiting its control over pricing at the pump. As if the news of the Speedway acquisition was not meaningful enough, the most recent disclosures by SEI’s parent company, which demonstrate how it is coping with

the COVID-19 impact on the business, should push franchisee concerns to as yet unheard of heights. The pandemic, as every franchisee knows, has had serious, material, and hopefully not permanent negative impact on both their top and bottom lines. According to 7Eleven’s parent, same-store sales were down 4.1 percent in March and 8.3 percent in April. Same-store sales were flat in May, but increased by 1.8 percent in June, 2.3 percent in July and 1.1 percent in August. For the six months ended June 30, 2020, same-store sales were down by one half of 1 percent. The following chart summarizes that data. E

“SEI found itself with a serious challenge based upon the impact of the pandemic on merchandise sales and gasoline sales.”

pump, resulting in a sharp and unprecedented increase in retail fuel margin or cents per gallon. For the six months ended June 30, 2020, SEI’s retail cents per gallon was 35.51, compared to 21.07 for the six months ended June 30, 2019. That’sMAY an increase MARCH APRIL JUNEof just under 14.5 cents per gallon, or 68 percent. This latest spike MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST can be put Existing Stores Merch. (4.1) (8.3) 1.8 2.3 1.1 in perspecTotal Stores Net Sales (16.6) (36.6) (25.6) (13.3) (11.5) (10.4) tive by Merch. (1.9) (7.6) 1.9 4.0 5.0 3.8 looking Gas Sales (30.3) (62.3) (50.5) (30.7) (27.7) (24.5) back at reBut that did not tell the whole story, with tail cents per gallon from 2015 to the present. franchisees facing persistent staffing issues, As can be seen from the chart below, there supply chain disruptions and deepening dis- was a steady increase from 2015 to 2019, and then what many will believe is a pandemic satisfaction with assistance from SEI. SEI found itself with a serious challenge related spike starting in 2020. The result is equivalent to pulling a rabbased upon the impact of the pandemic on merchandise sales and gasoline sales. For the bit out of a hat. For the six months ended six months ended June 30, 2020, merchan- June 30, 2020, while the average price dedise sales were down nearly 16 percent year- clined slightly, gasoline sales were down, over-year, but gasoline sales were down by and gallons pumped were down, all to the more than 30 percent. SEI’s revenues from continued on page 34 operations for the same period of time were down 23 G AS O L I N E R E TA I L C E N TS/G A L LO N percent. But for the same six- 40 month period, SEI posted operating income of $486.9 35 57.4% million, a 6.1 percent increase. 30 Short of magic, how did SEI 5 25 pull this off? The answer, of course, 20 was deeply opportunistic and 15 exploitive pricing at the 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Q1-2020 Q2-2020 2016




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All In On Gasoline—Chapter 3: Buyer Beware E

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detriment of franchisees, but once again SEI extracted enormous profits from its gasoline business. Here is a summary taken directly from publicly filed documents by SEI’s parent company:

cle was published on September 20, 2020 entitled “The Age of Electric Cars Is Dawning Ahead of Schedule.” The authors state, “Battery prices are dropping faster than expected. Analysts are moving up projections of when electric vehicles won’t need government incentives to be Six Months Six Months cheaper than a Change June 30, 2019 June 30, 2020 gasoline model.” Gas Sales $9.05B $6.4B (29.0 percent) According to this article, techGallons Sold 3.47M 2.89M (16.5 percent) nology has adGross Profit/Gallon 21.62 32.26 49.2 percent vanced to the Retail Fuel Margin 21.07 35.51 68.3 percent point of allowing This profit grab should not be viewed in higher density and thus longer life batteries isolation, but rather in the context of three at substantially lower cost. Market penetraother metrics which are essential to fran- tion for electric vehicles in Europe is much chisee interests and should be carefully higher than in the U.S. at present because of weighed by franchisees considering investing the subsidies available in Europe but not in in one of the almost 4,000 gasoline stores SEI the U.S. Those subsidies will become less and acquired from less important when the all-in cost of electric G Sunoco and Speedway. The first is that merchandise gross profit vehicles reaches equivalency. In fact, in the for all stores, both franchised and company U.S., a BMW 3 Series powered by gasoline owned, as a percentage of revenue fell from now costs approximately the same amount as 35 percent to 34 percent year-over-year 5 for a Tesla Model 3. And what is the plan of trathe six months ended June 30, 2020. This is ditional gas powered vehicle manufacturers? hardly surprising and represents the contin- It is to “avoid oblivion” by using “…their exuation of a trend that we’ve been seeing for pertise in supply chains and mass production many years. Seven & i sought to reassure in- to turn out economic electrical cars by the vestors by stating, “Negative growth in the millions.” Sunoco and Marathon Petroleum gross profit on product sales was outweighed Corporation were both quite keen to reduce 2016 2017 2018 2019 Q1-2020 Q2-2020 by an increase in the gross profit on gasoline their exposure to the domestic retail gasoline sales, leading to an overall rise in the gross market; one must wonder whether their moprofit margin.” Translation: SEI posted an in- tivation to do so relates to the fact that gasocrease in its corporate gross margin at the ex- line powered cars may well eventually be pense of franchisee gross margin. As we have consigned to the dustbin of history. stated before, reductions in merchandise Third and finally, franchisees should be gross margin and higher gross profit split to deeply troubled by the fact that SEI’s capital SEI translate to franchisees receiving a smaller investment in existing stores has stagnated piece of a shrinking pie. over the last several years. In real dollars (or The second concern is recent developments are changing the expectations of some analysts about when electric cars may come to dominate the market and thus depress the demand for gasoline. A New York Times arti-

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


“Franchisees should be deeply troubled by the fact that SEI’s capital investment in existing stores has stagnated over the last several years.”

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yen) the amount has not changed very much since 2017; the amount spent in the six months ended August 31, 2020 was the lowest amount since that year, amounting to just 18.6 percent of total capital expenditures. For the same six months in 2019, expenditures on existing stores were 39 percent of the total. Additionally, franchise stores starving for improvements must also be seen in the context of steady, and indeed remarkable, increases in revenue and profit at the SEI corporate level, which are in no measure matched by the performance of franchised stores. ________ The bottom line: The franchise model has undergone massive changes in the last several years, including the far-reaching changes reflected in the so-called 2019 franchise agreement. The strategic gas acquisitions, as well as the outsized emphasis on gasoline sales and profit, should encourage franchisees considering an investment in one of these gasoline stores to do their homework, to engage professionals to assist them, and do as much due diligence as possible.

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Shell gas stations, reported C/Net.com. The integration is designed to cut back on time and contact with screens and pin pads at the pump, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. • The Coca-Cola Company recently announced that Alfredo Rivera is now president of Coca-Cola North America. Rivera is a 23-year veteran of the company who has most recently served as president of the Latin America group. He replaces James L. “Jim” Dinkins, who has led CocaCola North America since 2018 and is retiring. Dinkins joined Coca-Cola in 1988 and went on to serve in a series of roles of increased responsibility. • Amazon Pay has teamed up with Fiserv and ExxonMobil to offer touchless payments using Alexa at more than 11,000 ExxonMobil stations nationwide, reported PYMNTS.com. The technology will enable customers with Alexa-enabled cars or smartphones to continued on page 42

7-ELEVEN FAILS TO RALLY FRANCHISEES AGAINST AB-5 By Jaspreet Dhillon, NCASEF Treasurer, President, FOA of Greater Los Angeles

Earlier this year, in Avanti’s March/ April 2020 issue, I talked about the status of California Bill AB-5, titled “Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors.” It is an incredibly important bill for 7-Eleven franchisees, because it directly affects the impending franchisee misclassification lawsuit filed by four franchisees against 7-Eleven, Inc. in 2017. California lawmakers passed the bill by overwhelming majorities in both houses in September 2019, and the Governor signed it into law the same month. AB-5 uses the ABC test to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor in the state of California. Under the ABC test, a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the hiring entity can prove that the worker: A. Is free from the control and direction of the company in performing work, both practically and in the contractual agreement between the parties; and B. Performs work that is outside the usual course of the company’s business; and C. Is customarily engaged in an independently established trade occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the company. Because AB-5 is such a far ranging bill that affects so many freelance, gig, marketplace and peer-to-peer businesses, many employers have to make the determination about whether to classify a worker as a contractor or an employee, and to accept the consequences or the potential liability for making the wrong decision. Exemptions to AB-5 are numerous, for many reasons. Specific identified occupations such as an insurance agent, lawyer, private investigator, accountant,

direct sales person, commercial fisherman and similar occupations are exempt, as are certain professional service providers, like specialists in marketing, HR, graphic design, photographers, barbers, cosmetologists, etc. Real estate licensees, people in business-to-business relationships, contractors and subcontractors in construction, referral agencies and service providers, and motor club services are exempt also. Unlike contractors, workers who are deemed employees are entitled to minimum wage and benefits including overtime, sick leave and expense reimbursement. For the last several months, SEI has made repeated attempts to persuade franchisees to come out in support of adding franchising to the exemption list. AB-5 is the major amend-


aspect of the day-to-day operation of the stores—our employees, our open account, our ordering, heck, even the thermostats in our stores. In short, they could continue treating us as glorified managers with no repercussions. Without the exemption, we are fighting in court to get a ruling that SEI has broken the law of the state by misclassifying all of the “For the last several months, SEI California franchisees as has made repeated attempts to independent contractors. persuade franchisees to come out If we win this case, SEI will be responsible for damin support of adding franchising ages and fines. As of this moment, the to the AB-5 exemption list.” California legislature is ment to the Labor Code that is going to out of session and will come back in Janaffect our case, and 7-Eleven wants to uary. AB-5 is now the law in the state of head off any changes to their current sys- California. The Supreme Court decision tem by working with anyone who will lis- in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Suten to add franchising to the list of perior Court of Los Angeles is in place. exempt workers. SEI tried to get franchising added to the If franchising is added to the list of list of exemptions using franchisee supexemptions, SEI can keep doing what port and failed. they are doing with franchisees, includOne baseless tactic that SEI used to ing making every contract more and apply leverage to franchisees is the threat more restrictive, and controlling every continued on page 38 AVANTI S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0




of stopping franchising 7-Eleven stores in “As of this moment, the California. I say threat because SEI made California legislature is out of the announcement, yet they are still selling franchised stores in the state. They session and will come back in are not selling corporate stores or BCPs, January. AB-5 is now the law a punitive move against franchisees, yet they are selling franchised stores that in the state of California.” carry a goodwill investment. In any case, it was a good threat to scare franchisees The court date to start the “trial” on our and grab media attention. They even created a misclassification case is March 22, 2021. The new division to run California corporate stores. attorney of record has filed for class action Could you imagine SEI being stuck running certification, and mediation has to be comhundreds of Marathon stores in California? If pleted by December 28, 2020. We are hoping they could be that successful without OPM for a win in the case that could result in (other people’s money), wouldn’t the entire sys- money paid back to all franchisees and a retem be corporate? Instead of spending money working of our on lobbyists trying to get franchisees to support relationship with JASPREET DHILLON CAN BE REACHED AT a change to the law, they need to change their SEI that is more jaspakam@gmail.com or relationship with us, and their agreement, if we fair to the fran(310) 892-2106 are to be true independent contractors. chisees.

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Legal Guest Column

WHAT NOT TO DO By Arnold J. Hauptman, Esq., General Counsel, UFOLINY

pay overtime at proper overtime rates, and To the best of my knowledge, 7-Eleven “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER has long since installed in every franchised (e) as a result of the above lapses, failure to employ a person— accurately pay federal and state payroll exstore a video system capable of viewing, penses such as social security, Medicare, 24/7, all operations of a store in either whether or not docuworkmen’s comp, etc. recorded or real time. In other words, exmented—who is not SEI would base these allegations on cept for your bathroom and office, there is accurately set forth on Paragraph 8(a) of the Store Agreement, an eye in the sky that can watch every which provides that you must “comply movement and every person in your store, your payroll register.” with all local, State and Federal laws, and without you knowing it. Think of the hour for any day in which he or she works statutes regulations, ordinances, and rules 1949 novel 1984 by George Orwell, in more than 10 hours. Upon request, the full of any applicable governmental entity with which he predicts a future society where one-week video is made available to the respect to the operation…of the Store.” “Big Brother” (the government) is confranchisee to confirm or disclaim any of The Breach Notices are supported by stantly spying on every inhabitant. SEI’s allegations. a video of your store taken over a full oneI can recall when SEI first announced While I represented only a few franweek period which has been reviewed by its plans to install the camera system. It chisees in these matters, which were ultihappened in or around 2012, when I was mately resolved, I am guessing that there the National Coalition counsel. are many more such cases throughout The Coalition members vehethe country Satisfying these alleged mently objected to such instalbreaches can be costly and time conlations as being an unwarranted suming, since the one-week viewing peand unnecessary invasion of pririod can be a year or more prior to the vacy, and inconsistent with the breach notices being issued. How SEI franchisee’s status as an independpicks and chooses which franchise store ent contractor. Mediation ensued, to record, I do not know. It could simply with litigation being avoided by be random, but more likely I am guessing SEI’s assurance that the system the selection came from would be used primarily “ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS pay every employee a tip from a field consultfor training purposes, and not as a “gotcha” for each and every hour worked, including overtime ant or market manager who suspects wrongdoprogram. pay, if applicable, and make sure that all required ing. If the breaches are So much for that Federal and State payroll deductions are taken.” not cured, termination assurance. I have been could come next, and involved in a few situanobody wants that. tions where a franchisee has been served SEI’s Asset Protection team to determine, So what is the takeaway from this aramong other things, whether or not all of with multiple Material Breach Notices alticle? NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (10 more your “employees” are listed on the payroll leging: a) failure to pay an employee for the Nevers) employ a person—whether or not register, if each employee is being paid for full amount of hours worked, b) having documented—who is not accurately set his or her hours worked and at minimum one or more persons working in the store forth on your payroll register. ALWAYS, wage, if each employee is paid for overtime who were not listed on the payroll register, ALWAYS, ALWAYS (10 more ALWAYS) at the proper rate and, at least in New York, c) failure to pay those employees’ and other pay every employee for each and every if any employee is paid for an additional employees’ minimum wage, d) failure to continued on page 42

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Legal Guest Column continued from page 41

hour worked, including over- “My best advice is to have each and time pay, if applicable, and every employee clock in and clock make sure that all required out on the register, and to make Federal and State payroll deductions are taken. Keep in absolutely certain that no emmind that, in most states, cerployee is actually working before tain employees that are manor after clocking in or out.” agers and meet a payroll level ness of an independent contractor, I cerwith supervisory duties are exempt from tainly cannot and do not condone any of overtime pay. In New York, for 2020, and the unlawful payroll practices described in except for New York City, that level is this article—and neither should any fran$50,700 per year. Check with your state’s chisee. Question: is this one more aspect of Department of Labor. SEI’s control which may add to the characMy best advice to avoid the above sitterization of franchisees as employees? Inuations is to have each and every employee teresting question. clock in and clock out on the register, and Stay out of trouble and let’s hope for a to make absolutely certain that no emgreat post pandemic recovery. ployee is actually working before or after clocking in or out. ARNOLD HAUPTMAN While I continue to believe that such CAN BE REACHED AT video “reviews” by SEI of store operations AJHAUPTMAN@AOL.COM OR (516) 541-7200 is an unwarranted intrusion on the busi-

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pay for gas by merely saying, “Alexa, pay for gas” as they roll into a participating station. • Best Buy will turn about 250 of its 1,000 stores into ship-from-store hubs that will handle high volumes of online orders, reported CNBC. The retailer recently reported a 242 percent surge in online sales in the second quarter as the pandemic shifted shopping trends. • Taco Bell recently announced its new restaurant concept—Taco Bell Go Mobile—which is specifically designed for guests to order ahead through the brand’s mobile app and enjoy a frictionless experience. The first Go Mobile restaurant will open in Q1 of 2021 and will feature dual drive-thrus with tablet ordering, curbside pick-up, and a smaller footprint. • New data from M Science shows the U.S. restaurant industry saw its fourth straight month of sales acceleration in August, continued on page 55

Legislative Update continued from page 23

ers said the state would be the first to ban paper bags. e ban doesn't apply to reusable carryout bags, defined in the measure as one made out of polypropylene, as well as those made out of nylon, cloth or hemp, or other washable fabrics. Bags with stitched handles are also exempt under the measure. e prohibition would go into effect in 18 months under the bill, which goes next to Governor Phil Murphy. Murphy has indicated he would sign a bill like the one lawmakers passed aer vetoing a measure that merely added a charge to plastic bags. e state Senate passed the measure earlier this year. Industry groups opposed it.

California Bans Sales Of New Gasoline Cars By 2035 California will phase out the sale of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 in a bid to lead the U.S. in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the state's drivers


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to switch to electric cars, reported NPR. Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order that amounts to the most aggressive clean-car policy in the United States. Although it bans the sale of new gas cars and trucks aer the 15-year deadline, it will still allow such vehicles to be owned and sold on the used-car market. In January 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order setting ambitious targets of 200 hydrogen fueling stations and 250,000 electric vehicle chargers to support 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles “CALIFORNIA WILL PHASE on California roads by 2025. e number of OUT THE SALE OF ALL zero-emission electric vehicles being sold in GASOLINE-POWERED the state has been on the upswing in recent VEHICLES BY 2035 IN A years, although they accounted for fewer than BID TO LEAD THE U.S. IN 8 percent of all new cars sold in California


last year.



The National Coalition’s Affiliate Member Program Twice a year manufacturer representatives in the National Coalition’s Affiliate Member Program have a chance to meet with the presidents and vice presidents of the Coalition’s 41 Franchise Owner’s Associations. Each of the FOAs represent between 15 and 400 franchised stores, and all are located in the 33 states in which 7-Eleven operates stores. The National Coalition’s Board of Directors meets four times per year, and two meetings include an extra day for an Affiliate Member meeting. Each meeting includes presentations from the franchise community, and/or industry executives, plus roundtable discussions, breakout sessions, and group social events that provide time for one-on-one networking.

Board Presentations Affiliate Members are invited to present at NCASEF Zoom Board meetings. Contact John Riggio at johnr@jrplanners.com or 262-275-3086.

Each FOA brings a president and a vice president to all Affiliate and Board meetings. Each Affiliate Member (and only Affiliate Members) has the opportunity to purchase presentation time at National Coalition Board Meetings to present their latest and greatest products to the Board. All Affiliate Members receive the National Coalition’s FOA list of Presidents and Vice Presidents throughout the country and contact information for these FOA leaders. Each Affiliate Member can have up to two representatives at the meetings. During breakout sessions and roundtable discussions vendor representatives can ask any question and bring up any topic before the group or among individual FOA leaders.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person Board meetings have been cancelled and replaced with monthly Zoom meetings. This will continue for the foreseeable future, until such time when social distancing rules are lifted. However, Affiliate members are invited to present during our Zoom meetings. For more information, please contact our Meeting and Trade Show Coordinator John Riggio at johnr@jrplanners.com or 262-275-3086.

2020 AFFILIATE MEMBERS Franchisees: Call or email the representatives below if you have questions for them or simply want to speak to a representative from their company. 4KEEPS ROSES Sidney Richlin 269 S. Beverly Dr. #1046 Beverly Hills CA 90212 424-702-1844 ext 201 310-864-9272 sidneyrichlin@gmail.com

ABBOTT NUTRITION Linnea Solbrook 5190 Shaw Lane Denton TX 76208 214-483-7012 214-843-7012 linnea.solbrook@abbott.com

5-HOUR ENERGY Brad Margheim 1021 Stoneway Drive Denton TX 76210 972-948-2481 bmargheim@fivehour.com

ACOSTA SALES & MKTG Beth Coldsmith 6106 Mesa Grande Austin TX 78749 512-301-9717 512-657-4317 bcoldsmith@acosta.com

ADVANTAGE SOLUTIONS Jennifer Hunter 4401 Westgate Blvd, Suite 200 Austin TX 78745 512-983-4468 jennifer.hunter@advantagesolution AJINOMOTO FOODS Steve Horine 4217 Chetham Drive Fort Wayne IN 46835 260-492-9797 260-413-1315 260-492-2188 steve.horine@ajinomotofoods.com AKR CORP Javid Sharifi 1169 Oak Point Ave Bronx NY 10474 718-542-4100 javid@mwnycorp.com

ALTRIA GROUP DISTRIBUTION James Duke 6601 W. Broad Street Richmond VA 23230 804-484-8151 407-375-0935 james.duke@altria.com ANHEUSER-BUSCH, INC. James Allred 13142 Terlingua Creek Drive Frisco TX 75033 601-209-5667 james.allred@anheuserbusch.com ARIZONA BEVERAGES Daniel Wells 1 Arizona Plaza, Suite 400 Woodbury NY 11797 830-515-0981 dwells@drinkarizaona.com

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BARBOT INSURANCE SERVICES John Barbot 9001 Grossmont Blvd #711 La Mesa CA 91941 619-337-0290 619-609-1882 619-337-2703 jcbarbot@barbotins.com BIG IDEAS MARKETING Marc Segal 10315 S Dolfield Rd Owing Mills MD 21117 888-908-8697 443-277-0223 410-654-8792 marc@bigideasmarketing.com

CAB ENTERPRISES ELECTROLIT Kaitlin Pierce 300 Great Oaks Blvd, Suite 325 Albany NY 12203 817-333-4196 kaitlinopierce@outlook.com

CHOBANI Aaron Steinbach 23902 Hartford Springs Trail Katy TX 77493 402-250-9985 402-250-9985 aaron.steinbach@chobani.com

DON CHELADA Robert Gonzales 4310 West Avenue San Antonio TX 78213 210-805-8931 210-837-3128 robert.gonzales@donchelada.com

CALIFIA FARMS Holly Harney 1321 Palmetto Street Los Angeles CA 90013 610-789-7364 484-832-2381 holly@califiafarms.com

COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA Melonie Dangerfield 5800 Granite Pkwy, Suite #900 Plano TX 75024 214-232-9320 214-232-9320 mdangerfield@coca-cola.com

DRI MARK PRODUCTS Michelle Knabbe 999 S. Oyster Bay Road, Suite 312 Bethpage NY 11714 516-484-6200 631-495-9418 michelle@drimark.com

CALYPSO LEMONADE Kim Hickey 851 W Grange Ave Milwaukee WI 53221 208-851-2626 khickey@drinkcalypso.com

CONAGRA BRANDS Chad Keener 3853 Ferndale Lane Frisco TX 75034 214-842-1473 chad.keener@conagra.com

ERLYBIRD INCUBATOR Charletta Louis 1900 Camden Ave San Jose CA 95124 408-273-2942 408646-5990 cjeanlouis4fb@gmail.com FERRARA CANDY Lauren Korowitz One Tower Lane Oakbrook Terrace IL 60181 404-583-3565 lauren.korowitz@ferrarausa.com FIJI WATER Robert Dunsworth 11444 W. Olympic Blvd. Suite 210 Los Angeles CA 90064 773-895-7866 robert.dunsworth@fijiwater.com

BON APPETIT Mike Kawas 4525 District Blvd Vernon CA 90058 913-708-5526 323-584-1075 m.kawas@bonappetitbakery.com

CAMPOFRIO Chris K. Perry 37 Belgrade Road Oakland ME 04963 407-921-2121 407-921-2121 chris.perry@campofriofg.com

CROSSMARK/ JOHNSON &JOHNSON Paul Maione 917 Westwind Drive North Palm Beach FL 33408 908-797-2154 paul.maione1@crossmark.com

BUG JUICE INTERNATIONAL Greg Meyerott 5973 Meridian Blvd Brighton MI 48116 314-209-0487 314-660-4907 gregm@bugjuice.com

CENTR BRANDS Stacey Rivas 300-2318 Oak St Vancouver BC V6H 4J1 510-529-1988 510-529-1988 srivas@centrcorp.com

DANONE NORTH AMERICA Greig DeBow 5909 Golden Bear Drive Overland Park KS 66223 913-991-3808 913-991-3808 greig.debow@danone.com


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GLANBIA/ OPTIMUM NUTRITION Jimmy Gutierrez 7692 Alderwood Ave Corona CA 92880 714-604-7039 331-452-3683 jimmygutierrez@glanbia.com HEINEKEN USA Jeff Rodriguez 360 Hamilton Ave, Suite 1103 White Plains NY 10601 909-614-3428 jrodriguez@heinekenusa.com

2020 AFFILIATE MEMBERS HOSTESS BRANDS Jackie Lawing 9030 County Road 2432 Terrell TX 75160 972-65-7523 940-368-4413 972-638-7523 jlawing@hostessbrands.com JACK LINK'S Jason Link 1 Snack Food Lane Minong WI 54859 608-213-3361 jason.link@jacklinks.com JUUL LABS Cole Garab 560 20th Street San Francisco CA 94123 706-570-0206 coleg@juul.com KELLOGG'S Ryan Herrin 3029 Le Manns Street Midlothian TX 76065 863-838-5883 863-583-0942 ryan.herrin@kellogg.com KEURIG DR PEPPER Tom Nawa 5301 Legacy Drive Plano TX 75024 214-212-1232 214-212-1232 972-673-3766 tom.nawa@kdrp.com

LAZLO 326 Michael Pinkus 5755 North Point Parkway Alpharetta GA 30022 678-662-1861 mike@lazlo326.com LIQUID DEATH Rachel Ridenour 3898 Van Ness Lane Dallas TX 75220 214-558-2482 Rachel@liquiddeath.com MAD TASTY Daniel Kelly 20 Music SQ W Ste 200 Nashville TN 37203 941-527-5749 941-527-5749 dankelly@madtasty.com MCLANE COMPANY INC. Anthony Woodward 4747 McLane Parkway Temple TX 76504 480-349-2066 480-349-2066 254-771-7097 anthony.woodward@mclaneco.com MEGAMEX FOODS/HORMEL-DON Miguel Todd Ginley 333 S Anita Drive, Suite 1000 Orange CA 92868 714-385-4500 972-670-8875 twginley@mmxfoods.com

MILLER (MOLSON) COORS Keith Johnson 7800 North Dallas Parkway, Ste 400 Plano TX 75024 512-636-0579 512-636-0579 312-496-2700 accts payable keith.johnson@millercoors.com MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL Kimberly Ross 4217 Wichita Drive Carrollton TX 75010 281-804-7933 972-449-1256 kimberly.ross@mdlz.com MONSTER ENERGY COMPANY Frank Gambina 1 Monster Way Corona CA 92879 949-291-1731 949-291-1731 frank.gambina@monsterenergy.co MORINAGA AMERICA Jacob Heller 4 Park Plaza, Suite 750 Irvine CA 92614 949-732-1155 x116 915-504-9502 949-732-1158 jheller@morinaga-america.com MOTHER PARKERS TEA & COFFEE Peter Doyle 7800 Will Rogers Blvd Fort Worth TX 76140 713-682-8250 832-725-1749 713-682-0530 pdoyle@mother-parkers.com MSIG Julio Medina 15 Independence Blvd. Warren NJ 07059 201-325-1786 201-325-1786 jmedina@msigusa.com


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NESTLE PROFESSIONAL Susan Davis 3916 Vintage Place Flower Mound TX 75028 972-355-6477 214-695-8389 susan.davis@us.nestle.com NESTLE USA Chip Vineyard 1202 Lakewood Drive McKinney TX 75072 214-534-5721 214-534-5721 480-379-4010 chip.vineyard@us.nestle.com NESTLE WATERS NORTH AMERICA Tyler Rohr 1322 Crestside Drive Suite 100 Coppell TX 75019 281-642-1412 tyler.rohr@waters.nestle.com NIAGARA BOTTLING Stephanie Corral 1440 Bridgegate Drive Diamond Bar CA 91765 909-225-9575 scorral@niagarawater.com NJOY Justin Finn 9977 N 90th Street, Suite 160 Scottsdale AZ 85258 609-903-3678 jfinn@njoy.com PABST BREWING CO. Alex Brandt 9933 Vistadale Drive Dallas TX 75238 913-530-4978 abrandt@pabst.com PATHWATER Jaswinder Singh 3133 Osgood Ct Fremont CA 94539 916-430-6771 916-430-6771 jassi@drinkpath.com

2020 AFFILIATE MEMBERS PAYALITY Chet Reilly 1600 Draper Street Kingsburg CA 93631 559-634-1001 559-269-2984 888-677-7160 chet@payality.com PEPSICO, INC. Kent Montgomery 1800 Preston Park Blvd. # 225 Plano TX 75093 972-334-2050 kent.montgomery@pepsico.com PERFETTI VAN MELLE USA Trevor Miles 2041 Clubview Drive Carrollton TX 75006 859-445-1137 859-445-1137 trevor.miles@perfettivanmelle.com POP ZERO POPCORN David Andrus PO Box 131 Addison TX 75001 208-602-3438 208-602-3438 aandrus@popzeropopcorn.com

RIPPLE FOODS Kyle Watts 2601 Blake St. Suite 300 Denver CO 80205 269-271-4980 kyle@ripplefoods.com SHAMROCK FARMS Amanda Remski 2228 N Black Canyon Hwy Phoenix AZ 85009 310-663-7888 310-663-7888 amanda_remski@shamrockfoods.c SIMPLISAFE Phil Mark 294 Washington St Boston MA 02108 781-382-5441 phil.mark@simplisafe.com SRP COMPANIES Jack Claiborne 215 N. 1800 West Lindon UT 84042 407-412-8563 407-412-8563 jack.claiborne@srpcompanies.com

SUGAR FOODS CORPORATION Swedish Match North America Aaron H Choate 403 Wellington Court Southlake TX 76092 817-312-2017 817-312-2017 877-860-7481 aaron.choate@swedishmatch.com SWISHER INTERNATIONAL Ken Ramirez 459 E 16th St Jacksonville FL 32206 904-312-1725 kramirez@swisher.com VALUE MAX PRODUCTS Ken Patel 400 Jay Street Coldwater MI 49036 517-736-3533 269-929-0633 ken@valuemaxproducts.com

VIXXO CORPORATION Regina Coleman 11333 N. Scottsdale Rd, Suite 260 Scottsdale AZ 85254 925-756-7075 916-217-5130 regina.coleman@vixxo.com VPX / REDLINE / BANG Frank Guagenti 1600 North Park Dr Weston FL 33326 954-649-8015 954-3891538 frank.guagenti@vpxsports.com WONDERFUL PISTACHIOS & ALMONDS Holly Hines 1063 Enchanted Rock Drive Allen TX 75013 469-795-6548 214-701-5282 holly.hines@wonderful.com

VITA COCO Tom Puntoompoti 250 Park Ave South 7th Floor, at 20th St New York NY 10003 718-614-8592 tpuntoompoti@vitacoco.com

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NCASEF said Michael Jorgensen, Executive Vice Chairman of NCASEF. Recently IFA public affairs VP Matt Haller was quoted as saying there are “opportunities to improve” the Franchise Rule “to “IFA public affairs give the FTC more teeth to VP Matt Haller was go after bad actors.” In its quoted as saying there are mission statement, the IFA ‘opportunities to improve’ the says the association “proFranchise Rule ‘to give the tects, enhances, and promotes franchising.” FTC more teeth to go after

bad actors.’”

“Inherent in that statement is protecting franchisees— as well as the franchisors whose financial support keeps the association healthy,” said Jorgensen, adding, “IFA has remained silent about SEI’s unfair practices even after they were high-


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HIGHLIGHTS lighted in the U.S. media as well as in a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation in Australia and a Japanese FTC probe.” “We want to know whether IFA will truly support leveling the playing field for franchisees,” Singh said. “Or if those ‘opportunities’ they mentioned are only a mirage.”

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

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tober since 2016, according to AAA. at average is four cents cheaper than the start of this past September and nearly 50 cents cheaper than last year. e national average held on the week as demand was mostly stable at 8.5 million b/d despite gasoline stocks increasing by 700,000 bbl. During the first week of October, 41 state gas price averages fluctuated by no more than two cents. Of those, 38 states only saw a penny increase or decrease. A handful of states saw more substantial gas price increases including Florida (+9 cents), Delaware (+6 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), Washington, D.C. (+5 cents), West Virginia (+4 cents) and Maryland (+3 cents).

The COVID Consumer Economy An analysis of a varied basket of goods shows how the COVID-19 crisis has upturned a decades-old consumer model for everything from clothing to food, reported Reuters. is has given some companies surprising power to raise prices or withdraw discounts. Many of the new trends can be attributed to one factor, according to retail specialists:

working from home. Almost overnight, a consumer-driven economy with clearly delineated work and home spending, changed profoundly. Rising demand for certain items, as well as global supplychain disruptions, has driven up prices. Americans are now paying significantly more than last year for coffee, eggs, sliced ham, ketchup and cheese, for example, according to the Reuters analysis of the latest pricing data from Nielsen Co, the Brewers Association and StyleSage Co. Shoppers paid roughly 8 percent more on average for JM Smucker’s instant coffees, including Folger’s and Dunkin’, at bricks-and-mortar stores in the four weeks to August 8 versus a year before, according to Nielsen data. ey paid nearly 10 percent more for Kra Heinz

sauces and about 5 percent extra for Tyson Foods’ sliced hams. Such inflation might make commercial sense, given the bump in demand for home staples. But some consumer experts complain retailers and big brands are cutting back on promotions and using their power to shore up profits during a health crisis that has led to millions losing their livelihoods. Other industry experts point out that companies have had to grapple with costly production shis to adapt to the new landscape.

Pandemic Business Closures Permanent

Yelp’s latest Economic Impact Report reveals that business closures across the U.S. are increasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic toll, reported CNBC. As of August 31, 163,735 businesses have indicated on Yelp that they “Americans are now paying significantly have closed. at’s down more than last year for coffee, eggs, from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginsliced ham, ketchup and cheese.” continued on page 55

Want to talk to other franchisees? To find the FOA closest to you. Visit www.NCASEF.com to contact any one of the 41 local Franchise Owner’s Associations nationwide. Want to talk to someone at the national level? Call the NCASEF Vice Chairman in your area: The National Coalition has Franchise Owner’s Association member organizations in all 33 states in which 7-Eleven operates. 52

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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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with sales up 3.7 percent, as major grocery chains saw their sales drop 7 percent from July, reported Grocery Dive. This indicates that Americans are starting to spend more of their income allocated for meals in restaurants rather than at grocery stores. • The CocaCola Co. is restructuring from 17 business units to nine as it pursues its Beverages for Life strategy with a portfolio of drinks positioned to capture growth in a fast-changing marketplace, reported Restaurant Business. • Dunkin’ announced that about 250 of its restaurants in select markets throughout the U.S. have recently begun testing a new biodegradable straw. The straws are made with PHA, a material created by the fermentation of canola oil, and have the same look and feel as traditional plastic. However, the PHA material is both marine and soil biodegradable. • Several national grocery retailers are in talks with a Tampa, Florida inventor about his automated grocery cart sanitizer system, which uses chemicals approved by the EPA to kill the coronavirus and other germs without the need for one-timeuse wipes, reported WFLA-TV. • Fast food chain KFC has ditched its “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan for the first time in 64 years amid the coronavirus pandemic, reported the Huffington Post. KFC has insisted the slogan will be back “when the time is right,” adding that it is “pressing pause on using it in advertising, for a little while.” • C-store chain Kum & Go recently announced two hours of paid voting time and free in-store meals for all of its store associates on Election Day, November 3, to help ensure they are all able to exercise their right to vote. • Gasoline prices this Labor Day were the lowest since 2004, according to GasBuddy. The company said the national average was $2.19 per gallon, down nearly 37 cents from last year and the lowest priced Labor Day since 2004’s $1.82 per gallon average. • Coresight Research estimates 25 percent of America’s roughly 1,000 malls will close over the next three to five years, with the coronavirus pandemic accelerating a demise that was already underway, reported CNBC. The malls most at risk of going dark are classified as so-called B-, C- and D-rated malls, meaning they bring in fewer sales per square foot than continued on page 56

roughout the past ning of the pandemic. six months, restauHowever, it actually “As of August 31, rants, bars and shows a 23 percent in163,735 businesses nightlife venues have crease in the number of have indicated on been hit the hardest closures since mid-July. by the restrictions In addition to monitorYelp that they have brought by the paning closed businesses, closed, down from demic: 32,109 restauYelp also takes into acthe 180,000 that rants have closed, as count the businesses of August 31. e whose closures have beclosed at the very number of restaurants come permanent. at beginning of the forced to permanumber has steadily inpandemic.” nently close is slightly creased throughout the above Yelp’s total averpast six months, now age, at 61 percent. Yelp has also noted that reaching 97,966, representing 60 percent businesses already well suited for takeof closed businesses that won’t be reopenout—such as pizza places, coffee shops ing. Yelp’s September report marks six and delis—are treading water better than months since March 1, the date that the company considers to be the beginning of continued on page 56 the business crisis.

Oregon Franchisee Recognized For Food Donations During Pandemic Greater Oregon FOA Vice President Bill Huffman was recently recognized by SEI for providing free kids’ meals during the pandemic to children in the communities his stores serve. In a “7Eleven Heroes” blog post, Zone Vice President Michelle Merrell wrote that Bill was aware kids who qualified for the National School Lunch Program had suddenly lost access to their midday meal when local schools closed in response to “In response to the the growing COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Bill creCOVID-19 pandemic, ated a special kids’ “Meal Deal” lunch—a FREE slice of pizza, a banana and a Big Gulp drink—and invited kids Bill created a special to stop by his stores in Coos Bay and North Bend bekids’ ‘Meal Deal’ tween 11 a.m. and noon to grab one. In six weeks, Bill lunch—a free slice and his stores donated more than 3,800 meals to kids, of pizza, a banana and the value of those lunches topped $14,000.

and a Big Gulp drink.”

“Bill figured out a way to give back to those customers who shop in his stores every day,” said North Pacific Market Manager Jason Mollet. “He has been a beacon of light in this dark environment, and it is kindness like Bill’s that helps keep our brand at the top of the customer’s list.” SEI Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Tanco mentioned the blog post on his Linked-in page, and wrote, “Amazing work by #7ElevenFranchisee and #7ElevenHero Bill Huffman for donating more than 3,800 meals to kids who did not have access to free lunch through school due to COVID-19. Thank you, Bill! #7Eleven” AVANTI S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0


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other restaurants. e types of restaurants with the highest closures include breakfast and brunch places, sandwich shops, and Mexican restaurants. Ultimately, Yelp’s data shows that Main Street is still feeling the economic impact of the pandemic, and many states and areas of business may not see a recovery soon.

The Gas-Buying Landscape Changed As the pandemic forced Americans to work and study from home, cancelled international travel and overall upended routines, it also created a new gas-buying landscape, reveals a new GasBuddy report. According to the study, the pandemic-led shi to telework changed the times in which drivers frequented the gas station year-over-year, with more drivers filling up during typical “work hours.” ere is a 12 percent increase in gas-purchases during late-morning hours from 9am-12pm, and a 27 percent decline in evening hours from

6pm-12am. e early-morning commute was also affected, with a 12 percent decline in fuel purchases between 4am and 7am. Gas prices during the months of June through August were as much as 40-80 cents/gallon lower than the same months in 2019, likely the reason for consumers to purchase more expensive, higher-grade fuels including midgrade (+19 percent) and premium (+8 percent). Overall regular grade fuel purchases decreased by 3 percent. In addition to higher-grade fuel purchases, there was a notable increase of 6 percent in retail diesel fuel purchases, likely caused by the surge of RV travel during the summer.

Americans Are Driving Less

e early days of the COVID pandemic brought an unprecedented decline in driving in the U.S., with vehicle miles traveled down 41 percent from February to April on a seasonally adjusted basis, reported Bloomberg. By July, the most recent month for which “Gasoline demand is currently about the Federal Highway Administra15 percent lower than usual, with more

drivers filling up during typical ‘work hours.’”

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Questions For The CEO? Got a question you want to ask the CEO of 7-Eleven? Submit it via email to nationalcoalition@NCASEF.com. Include the phrase, “Question for the CEO.” We’ll print your question here next issue. All questions are anonymous. The changing environment franchisees face over the next year is bound to raise many issues we have not faced before. We have all signed a new contract that we have yet to test in practice. So, got a question? Let us know: nationalcoaltion2@ncasef.com 56

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an A mall. • New York’s city council recently approved a measure that allows restaurants to tack on a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” of up to 10 percent on diners’ bills, reported Business Insider. The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the restaurant industry, and the surcharge aims to help dining establishments stay afloat. • Oil prices tumbled to their lowest level since mid-June on September 8, amid growing demand concerns as COVID-19 continued to spread, reported CNBC. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. oil benchmark, slipped $3.01, or 7.6 percent, to settle at $36.76 per barrel. • Amazon may be looking to bring the cashierless tech found at its Go convenience stores to Whole Foods supermarkets as early as next year, reported The Verge. The implementation may begin sometime during the second quarter of 2021. • Walmart and Target recently reported huge e-commerce gains in their second quarter financials, reported Yahoo Finance. Walmart reported a 97 percent surge in online sales, while Target said its Q2 online sales increased 195 percent. • PepsiCo is launching a new drink called Driftwell that is meant to help consumers relax and unwind before bed, reported CNBC. The enhanced water drink, which contains 200 grams of L-theanine and 10 percent of the daily value of magnesium, will be available nationwide starting in December. • Facing an aging population and an acute labor shortage, Japan cstore chains Lawson and FamilyMart have recently tested a robot named Model-T, developed by Japanese startup Telexistence, to stock shelves, reported CNN Business. Lawson has already deployed the robot in one of its Tokyo stores, and FamilyMart plans to have them working in 20 of its stores by 2022. • Convenience chain Sheetz recently announced that it has partnered with Penn State University to provide education benefits to the company’s employees, which include a 5 percent tuition reduction on undergraduate and graduate degree programs, webinars designed for Sheetz employees, and access to admissions and student servcontinued on page 61

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DEALING WITH EMPLOYEES WHO TEST POSITIVE FOR OR HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 By Rob Bernstein, Esq., Partner, and Elizabeth Rice, Associate, Laner Muchin, Ltd. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the United States is higher now than ever before. Therefore, it is very important for our franchisees to know what action to take when employees test positive for or have symptoms of COVID-19. We have received a lot of questions from our franchisees regarding these issues, and therefore, thought it would be helpful to summarize the applicable Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance at this time.

What should you do if an employee tests positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19? • Send the employee home and/or tell the employee to stay home from work. Inform the employee that he/she must stay home while sick. • Urge the employee to get tested for COVID-19 if he/she has not done so already. • Employees who have had close, prolonged contact (been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or greater) with the sick employee may have been exposed, and you should urge these employees to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Inform employees that may have been exposed that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms. Do not use the sick employee’s name or other information that could identify him/her. • Potentially exposed employees who have COVID-19 symptoms should stay home from work and be tested for COVID-19. Potentially exposed employees who do not have COVID-19 symptoms should isolate at home for 14 days following the possible exposure before returning to work. • Clean and sanitize all locations where the sick employee worked according to CDC guidelines.

What does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) require you to do, as the employer? • The FFCRA requires you to offer Emergency Paid Sick Leave for employees who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking medical diagnosis (or who have already tested positive). • These employees must be given up to two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at their regular rate, assuming they are a full-time employee. • The Department of Labor “Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers” page offers guidance on calculating the regular rate for part-time employees and employees who work irregular schedules. (See https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions).

When can employees return to work? • According to CDC guidance, employees who tested positive for or have COVID-19 symptoms may return to work when: at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms; AND at least 24 hours have passed since the employee’s temperature returned to normal without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND other symptoms have improved. Employees who tested positive for COVID-19 but never have symptoms may return to work 10 days after the date of their first positive COVID-19 test. • Note that some employees who have severe illness may still be contagious after 10 days, and those employees should remain home longer. Please note that CDC guidance changes from time to time, and it is therefore important for our franchisees to consult CDC guidance on a regular basis. (See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html). Franchisees with questions about COVID-19 or labor issues, contact NCASEF’s labor and employment counsel, Rob Bernstein (Partner, Laner Muchin, Ltd., rbernstein@lanermuchin.com) and Liz Rice (Associate, Laner Muchin, Ltd., erice@lanermuchin.com) Rob and Liz may also be reached at (312) 467-9800.

tion has released data, vehicle miles were still down 13 percent (seasonally adjusted) from February. While driving will likely creep closer to its pre-pandemic level as Americans return to their offices this year and next, the article states it may never quite get there. A study this summer by accounting and consulting firm KPMG forecast that vehicle miles traveled will settle at about 90 percent of pre-2020 levels in coming years. On a per capita basis, miles were down 5 percent from their all-time high in the mid-2000s even before the pandemic. e reasons for this decline are straightforward—more and more people have been doing their jobs from home, and getting their entertainment and buying things there as well. ese trends, which began with the arrival of widespread broadband internet access in the early 2000s, had been gaining strength in recent years and the pandemic has accelerated them.

Electric Cars To Dominate Roadways As electric cars become more mainstream, the automobile industry is rapidly approaching the tipping point when, even without government subsidies, it will be as cheap and maybe cheaper to own a plug-in vehicle than one that burns fossil fuels, reported the New York Times. e carmaker that reaches price parity first may be positioned to dominate the segment, according to the article. A few years ago, industry experts expected 2025 would be the turning point. But technology is advancing faster than expected, and could be poised for a quantum leap once a carmaker, electronics company or start-up succeeds in squeezing the most power per pound into a battery— what’s known as energy density—because a battery with high energy density is inherently cheaper since it requires fewer raw continued on page 61


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ices. • According to a survey conducted by BlackFriday.com, half of consumers say they’ll use curbside pickup more this holiday season than last year. Most (84 percent) shoppers said that COVID19 will directly impact at least one aspect of their holiday shopping behavior, and 56 percent of respondents said they plan to primarily shop online during the holidays. • Short wait times and other factors drive retail, grocery and restaurant customer satisfaction when it comes to picking up goods ordered online, reported Chain Store Age. According to the Rakuten Ready 2020 Time Study, reducing customer wait times for online order pickup continues to be a key factor for producing long-term customer loyalty. • Amazon recently opened its first Fresh supermarket location in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills, reported Reuters. The store features the debut of Dash Cart, which tracks items customers put in their carts and allows them to skip the checkout line, and built-in Echo Show devices that let customers ask Alexa where certain items can be found. • Shortly after rolling out its employer-focused COVIDCare Plus self-testing option, Kroger announced an expansion of COVID-19 testing at more than 220 of its Little Clinic sites in nine states, reported Progressive Grocer. The new tests, offered by appointment, will also be selfadministered under the guidance of a health professional. • Baltimore-base convenience store chain High’s has partnered with Trout’s Supreme Seafood to add Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake at 41 of its 49 stores, reported Convenience Store News. The crab cakes are available as a standalone sandwich or as a platter meal. • Kwik Chek announced it is now offering fresh, nutritious menu items and snacks that accommodate gluten-free and keto diets. The new fresh items include steamed broccoli medley, chicken rice pilaf, smoked pork ribs, street corn, strawberry blueberry cups, and spring mix side salad. • Mastercard has moved into the cashierless commerce space by partnering continued on page 62

materials and less weight to deliver the same range.

States Increasing Gasoline Tax Several states have increased gas taxes in recent months to make up for sudden shortfalls in revenue devoted to road repairs, reported USA Today. As Americans drive less during the pandemic due partly to social distancing and remote work arrangements, gasoline demand has fallen. Gasoline demand is currently about 15 percent lower than usual, according to oil analysts. at's one key factor triggering the tax increases as lawmakers seek to limit the impact of lower revenue on road repair budgets. New Jersey drivers are the latest to spend more at the pump because of higher taxes. In late September, the state's fuel tax increased from 30.9 cents to 40.2 cents for gasoline and from 34.9 cents to 44.2 cents for diesel fuel, to generate enough money to support the state's Transportation Trust Fund. Other recent increases include Virginia (5 cents), Nebraska (3.9 cents), California (3.2 cents), South Carolina (2 cents), Illinois (0.7 cents), and Alabama (2 cents). An Oil Price Information Service analyst predicted that more hikes will follow since gasoline demand will remain around 85 percent of normal demand for the foreseeable future.

Amazon Hand-Scanning Payment Tech Amazon recently introduced Amazon One, which connects your palm print to a stored credit card so you can place your hand above a sensor to enter and buy items at checkout-free Amazon Go stores, reported CNN Business. Initially, the feature

“Initially, the feature will be available at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, and the company plans in upcoming months to add it to more Amazon Go stores.” will be available at two Amazon Go stores in Seattle, and the company plans in upcoming months to add it to more Amazon Go stores, which are spread across Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. Amazon also plans to bring it to other retailers—and perhaps places like offices and stadiums—in the future. e company said Amazon One had been in the works since long before the pandemic, but the timing could be a positive for Amazon as customers may find such contact-free entry and payment technology convenient, and businesses may also find it appealing.

Fresh Groceries In More Dollar General Stores Dollar General is doubling down on fresh grocery options as part of its bid to become one of the top retailers in the U.S., reported Business Insider. For Dollar General, grocery is the key to continuing its ongoing expansion—by attracting more consumers to its stores. Fresh food also positions the retailer to go toe-to-toe with massive rivals like Walmart and Whole Foods, according to the article. continued on page 62

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Since January 2019, Dollar General has rolled out grocery capabilities across its fleet of stores through its DG Fresh initiative. On August 5, for instance, Dollar General announced that it would build three new cold storage distribution facilities. e warehouses will each house products like frozen goods, milk, cheese, deli meats, and support a network of 1,500 stores. Currently, Dollar General delivers grocery products to more than 9,000 of its total 16,500 locations.

investing in their specific, skilled positions in Supercenters. e minimum wage for hourly associates in the deli and bakery, for example, will increase from $11 an hour to $15 or higher. Walmart said the pay increases will start in October, taking the place of the usual annual increase that comes in February or April.

Grocery Stores Prepare

Grocers are looking to beef up their inventory ahead of the upcoming holiday shopping season and in preparation for a potential second wave of COVID-19, reported Fox Business. One chain, AssociWalmart is giving approximately ated Food Stores, has recently started 165,000 hourly workers a raise, as the building “pandemic pallets” to ensure company seeks to introduce new leadercleaning and sanitizing products are readship roles and “cross-training opportuniily available in its warehouses to prepare ties,” reported Fox News. e retail giant for high demand through the end of the also said it will be implementing a “teamyear. Hy-Vee is also stockpiling additional based operating model” in Supercenters sanitizing, cleaning, and paper products that includes new roles and skills training when possible, though full variety hasn't to encourage career and pay growth for returned. Also building up associates. their inventory ahead of the e new wage “Walmart’s miniholidays is Ahold Delhaize, ranges for the mum wage for owner of the Giant and Food hourly team lead hourly associates in Lion chains, which is said to roles fall between be storing 10 percent to 15 $18 and $21 an the deli and bakery percent more inventory than hour, and can go will increase from it did before the pandemic to up to $30 an hour $11 an hour to ensure it won’t run out of fastfor Supercenter $15 or higher.” selling items. employees. Walcontinued on page 64 mart will also be

Walmart Raises Wages

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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with Accel Robotics on a new technology platform that enables convenience stores, QSRs and other retailers to offer their customers a frictionless grab-and-go experience in the store or drive-thru, reported NACS Daily News. • More than half of shoppers (55 percent) are eating at home more often since the pandemic began, according to the report “COVID-19: Reinventing How America Eats” from Acosta. • Whole Foods Market has chosen Brooklyn, New York as the site of its first online-only grocery store with a deliveryonly retail model to service more customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Fox Business. Amazon said this store had been planned even before the outbreak started, and could lead to other locations. • Panera Bread customers can now place curbside pickup and contactless delivery orders via Google Assistant, as well as Google search and maps, reported Nation’s Restaurant News. Customers can use either voice commands or search “Panera near me” to start the ordering process, which works through Google’s partnership with ordering platform Olo. • Unilever is spending $1.2 billion to end the use of fossil fuels in the production of its cleaning and laundry brands, reported CNN Business. The consumer products company said that by the end of the decade, household products such as Omo, Sunlight, Cif and Domestos will be made using only renewable or recycled carbon. • Drive-thru restaurant visits increased by 26 percent in the April, May, and June quarter and represented 42 percent of all restaurant visits, according to a new study by The NPD Group. In July when more restaurants were reopened after the pandemic-mandated dine-in closures, drive-thru visits still increased by 13 percent. • Starbucks has finally abandoned straws and launched its long-awaited “sippy cup” lids for iced beverages, reported CNN Business. The lids contain roughly 9 percent less plastic than Starbucks’ previous flat lid and straw combination, and are made of polypropylene—a commonly accepted recyclable plastic. The coffee chain announced in July 2018 that it would begin phasing out plastic straws from all its continued on page 64


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“Couche-Tard, which received 71 percent of its revenue and 46 percent of its gross profit from fuel sales, is revving up its installation of electric car charging stations at stores in Canada and the U.S. over the next year.”

percent of Americans would be happy to avoid traditional in-store shopping, reported Business Insider. Nearly three-quarters of the people polled said they are more likely to shop at stores that offer contactless, curbside pickup than places without these services. In-store sales are also becoming increasingly transactional, and customers are now less likely to browse. Retailers are already responding to these changes in consumer behavior by investing in new technology and creating jobs to meet online sales demand.

Couche-Tard Revs Up Charging Station Plans

Sheetz Plans 50 New Stores In Central Ohio

Circle K owner Alimentation CoucheTard plans to roll out electric car charging stations at stores in Canada and the U.S. over the next year, reported Bloomberg News. e company, which has 14,350 stores worldwide, has been experimenting with chargers and stations for years in Norway, where subsidies for electric cars helped speed up their adoption. Couche-Tard said it would add charging stations at locations on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, and in its home province of Quebec. Longer term, the company wants to expand into athome vehicle charging in North America, as it’s doing in Norway. e potential growth of electric vehicles in North America, Couche-Tard’s biggest market, offers the company a new revenue stream at a time when gasoline demand may have peaked, according to the article. Couche-Tard received 71 percent of its revenue and 46 percent of its gross profit from fuel sales in the fiscal year that ended April 26.

Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain Sheetz is planning to open 50 stores in central Ohio by the end of 2025, reported e Columbus Dispatch. e company has already broken ground on stores in Obetz and Delaware, the first of more than a dozen in central Ohio that Sheetz is scheduled to open by the end of 2021. Beginning in 2022, Sheetz plans to open about a dozen stores a year through 2025. Eventually, the retailer said it will have about 1,500 employees in central Ohio, or 30 per store. e typical store will be about 6,000 square feet. Currently, Sheetz has 43 stores in Ohio, primarily in the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown areas. Overall, the company has 608 stores across Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Stores planned for central Ohio figure to be located along interstates and major state routes.

Some Americans Happy To Avoid In-Store Shopping A new survey conducted by market research firm Harris Insights reveals that 35 64

Wawa Testing New Dinner Items Wawa recently announced the official test and pilot of several new dinner menu items designed to provide freshly

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stores by 2020. • The morning coffee-anddoughnuts rush at Dunkin’ has shifted to mid-day as workers skip their commutes to work from home, reported Business Insider. Before the pandemic, consumers lined up for coffee on their way to work between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. every morning. Now, people show up more between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Dunkin’s CFO said. • A new policy brief from the United Nations projects the pandemic will cost the tourism industry approximately $1 trillion in losses and threaten more than 100 million jobs worldwide, underlining how the ongoing global crisis has devastated one of the world’s largest industries, reported Forbes. • Uber recently announced that every vehicle on its global ride-hailing platform will be electric by 2040, and it vowed to contribute $800 million through 2025 to help drivers switch to battery-powered vehicles, including discounts for vehicles bought or leased from partner automakers, reported Reuters. Uber said it has formed partnerships with General Motors and the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance. • Walmart recently debuted its annual subscriptionbased membership called Walmart+, which gives members access to unlimited free delivery, fuel discounts of up to 5 cents per gallon at Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express gas stations, and access to the Scan & Go feature in the Walmart App among other perks, reported Yahoo Finance. • A survey administered by the CDC reveals that 19.6 percent of high school students (3 million) reported using an e-cigarette at least once, down sharply from 27.5 percent (4.1 million) in 2019, reported the New York Times. Use of e-cigarettes also decreased among middle school students, to 550,000 users from 1.24 million. • Amazon is set to open a supermarket inside a Kohl’s store in La Verne, California, using about 37,000 of the total 88,000 square feet inside the building and expanding a relationship that started in 2019 when the retailer began accepting Amazon returns, reported the Milwaukee Business Journal. • A group of Pennsylvania continued on page 77

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angus, lighter bun, cheese and fries; enprepared, satisfying options that are aftrée platters including braised chicken, fordable and convenient for any lifestyle. pork roast or pot roast with two sides; roMenu items, with the exception of the tisserie-style chicken and Mac & Cheese; Heat and Eat Meals, become available and penne or fettucine pasta with alaer 4 p.m. on the touch screen ordering fredo, marinara or Bolognese available system, offering customers the ability to with roasted veggies, broccoli, roasted select their preferred ingredients and chicken, meatballs and Asiago cheese. customize meals to their liking, the company said in a press release. Currently available at select “Wawa is testing an expansion stores, Wawa said the new dinof its dinner menu, adding ner menu items will be tested over the upcoming months, items that become available with plans in place for further aer 4 p.m. on the touch expansion before the end of screen ordering system.” 2020. Menu options include a burger featuring all-natural

Hotels May Lay Off More Employees As devastated industries wait for Congress to pass another round of COVID-19 recovery legislation, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the hotel industry remains on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic. Results show 68 percent of hotels have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time, and without further governmental assistance, 74 percent of respondents said they would be forced to lay off additional employees. Half continued on page 66

Join The NCASEF Telegram App Forum And Connect With Franchisees Nationwide


The NCASEF invites all franchisees to join our Telegram app forum—Franchisees Are The Brand. It’s simple to join, just follow these instructions:

1. Load the Telegram app on your smart phone and create your profile (use your full names please, so fellow franchisees know who you are). 2. Enter the URL below into your browser to join: https://t.me/joinchat/QR1k9Efl4QmXqtIFtpaCkQ There are just a few basic rules:

4. If your full name is not displayed, you will be removed.

1. You must be a franchisee and paying member of an FOA affiliated with the National Coalition to join the forum.

5. Posts should be strictly business related.

2. Not a member of an FOA? Join one ASAP or become a National Coalition Member at Large. 3. Display your full name and area on your profile so issues can be related to that area.

6. Pro SEI? No problem—we all are, that is why we are franchisees. FOA/National Coalition haters, please stay away. 7. Encourage your fellow franchisees to join. 8. STAY UNITED.

For those of you interested, you can view the YouTube video made by Eric Karp about AB-5 entitled “National Coalition Rebuttal Request for a Franchise Exemption to AB-5” here: https://youtu.be/cqK26ZhOJRk You can also download the video from the NCASEF Dropbox account by typing in this URL: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7cy7t9ps87uhgu6/AAA2ncRFX5uGh4rsUtDyJO7ia?dl=0 We thank you for your continued support and look forward to chatting with you on our Telegram app forum about all matters 7-Eleven.

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of hotel owners said they are in danger of foreclosure by their commercial real estate debt lenders due to COVID-19, and more than 2/3 of hotels (67 percent) report they will only be able to last six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels absent any further relief.

Small Businesses Fear Closure About one-in-five (21 percent) small business owners say they will have to close their doors if current economic conditions do not improve over the next six months, reveals a new study by the NFIB Research Center on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses. Most small business owners do not expect business


offer a higher wage to encourage a worker to come back to “About one-in-five small business their job, and 4 percent reowners say they will have to close ported having an employee their doors if current economic agree to continue working but only with reduced hours in conditions do not improve over order to also receive the $600 the next six months.” per week benefit. ● Most PPP borrowers (84 percent) have now used their conditions to improve to normal levels entire loan, up from 71 percent in July. until next year at the earliest. Other key ● Almost half of PPP loan borrowers (47 findings from the study include: percent) anticipate needing additional fi● About one-third (32 percent) of small nancial support over the next 12 months. business owners reported that the extra ● About one-in-five (21 percent) of small $600 per week of supplemental unememployers have had an employee take ployment insurance benefits has hurt COVID-19 related paid sick leave or their business by making it harder to family leave as mandated and offered hire or re-hire workers. through FFCRA. ● ree percent of owners said they had to

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for Laotian shoppers. Laos will be the 20th country where 7-Eleven stores operate or will operate soon.

7-ELEVEN STORES GO ON A HIRING SPREE In March, SEI announced in the press a call to employ 20,000 new store employees. The company recently announced that since then, it estimates the organization and independent 7-Eleven franchise owners have hired more than twice that many—over 50,000— and they're recruiting 20,000 more to work in its 9,000+ U.S. stores to meet continued demand for 7-Eleven products and services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. SEI said the store employee position will also help meet the surge in mobile orders through its 7NOW delivery app. Classified as an essential retailer, 7-Eleven and franchisees kept the doors open all year long, adding enhanced cleaning procedures and extra safety protocols such as acrylic shields at checkout, floor distance markers, sanitizing stations and offering employees masks and gloves. Additionally, the company gives customers the opportunity to utilize disposable tissues and gloves as they shop. Also during the COVID-19 pandemic, 7-Eleven has scaled frictionless mobile checkout technology to new markets, expanded delivery from 400 to 1,300 cities, added in-store pick-up through its 7NOW delivery app and increased its U.S. store base by more than 300 stores this year.

7-ELEVEN/INSTACART PARTNER ON SAME-DAY DELIVERY Instacart and 7-Eleven recently launched a partnership to offer same-day delivery to cus-


tomers on thousands of convenience, alcohol (where available), grocery and select prepared foods items, reported Winsight Grocery Busi- 3RD ANNUAL ness. The multiphase launch is now live in more 'BRANDS WITH HEART' than 750 stores in Dallas, Miami, Baltimore and EXPO ANNOUNCED the greater Washington, D.C., area, with plans SEI recently made an open call for applito expand nationally to more than cations to its third annual Brands with 7,000 7-Eleven stores across Heart event, which allows emergthe U.S. The collaboration ing brands to make their case “Instacart marks a first for San for why they deserve a spot same-day delivery of Francisco-based Inon 7-Eleven store shelves. 7-Eleven items is now live stacart, as 7-Eleven is The event provides a in Dallas, Miami, Baltimore its first national conunique opportunity for and the greater Washington, venience partner. rising brands to enter a D.C., area, with plans to exWhile Slurpees won’t new retail channel and pand nationally to more be among the initial introduce their products than 7,000 stores offerings, the companies and brand story to 7across the U.S.” said they plan to expand Eleven's 8 million daily U.S. the 7-Eleven catalog on the customers, the company stated in Instacart marketplace in the coma press release. SEI said its goal with ing months. Brands with Heart is to diversify its product offering beyond the traditional c-store assortment and put delicious sips and snacks in the hands 7-ELEVEN ENTERS LAOS SEI recently announced that it has signed of the on-the-go customer. With the pandemic ongoing, SEI said the a master franchise agreement with CP ALL LAOS CO., LTD, a company under CP ALL Public third annual product expo will be virtual, but Company Limited, to develop and operate 7- participants will still be able to attend online Eleven stores in The Lao People's Democratic workshops and panels with 7-Eleven merRepublic. The first 7-Eleven-branded conven- chandising and ience store in Laos is expected to be open in operations lead- “SEI said the goal Vientiane, the capital city. With the addition of ership. The two- of Brands with Laos, CP ALL now holds licensing agreements day experience Heart is to diverto operate 7-Eleven stores in two adjacent will close with an sify its product netAsian countries. CP ALL has had a 7-Eleven li- informal offering beyond censing agreement in its home country of Thai- working session the traditional land for more than 30 years and signed a where entrepremaster franchise agreement for Cambodia ear- neurs will have c-store assortlier this year. SEI said CP ALL plans to construct access to the 7- ment and put stores, modernizing the small-retail environ- Eleven merchan- delicious sips and ment and bringing greater convenience to dising team to snacks in the shoppers. Internationally popular products, bev- exchange ideas hands of the onerages, snacks and immediately consumable and pitch their the-go customer.” fresh foods with recipes developed for regional products. tastes will be part of the convenience offerings continued next page

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More than 750 companies applied to present their brand at last year's Brands with Heart event, and 65 made the cut to participate in the two-day “listen and learn,” “show and taste” sessions. From the contenders, 25 brands were chosen to participate in a realworld, in-store test—Sips & Snacks—giving small businesses the chance to test their products in stores. Approximately one-third of the companies selected for this year's in-store test are either owned by women, minorities or military veterans.


ued demand sparked by the COVID-19 outbreak, reported Retail News Asia. The company has partnered with Seino Group to handle logistics. The service will begin this year with 100 Tokyo stores initially, to be expanded to 1,000 next year. The service will compete with other e-commerce operators in the territory by offering a 30-minute target delivery time and by accepting late-night ordering. Tests of the service are already being conducted at 39 stores in the Tokyo area within a limited delivery radius. Analysts say a full rollout of the service may depend on Seven-Eleven’s ability to secure the necessary workforce at a time of labor shortage in the market.

7-Eleven has signed on to a new service that allows Current customers to make cash deposits into their bank accounts. Current, a U.S. challenger bank serving Americans over- 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF looked by traditional banks, has teamed with OPERATION CHILL payments technology company InComm to For a quarter-century, Operation Chill, develop the service. The ability to SEI's longest-running community make cash deposits was the service program, gives local most-requested product fealaw enforcement an oppor“Current bank ture in a recent survey contunity to make a positive customers can scan ducted with Current’s 1.4 connection with kids a barcode delivered million members. This new through free Slurpee drink by the Current app, and coupons. Each year, 7feature will enable Current instantly deposit cash members to deposit cash to Eleven donates thousands to their accounts.” their accounts at some of the of free Slurpee drink coupons most recognized retail chains to local law enforcement deacross the country, including 7partments to reward children for Eleven. This cash deposit solution is powobserving safety rules, participating in posiered by InComm’s VanillaDirect platform, tive activities, or performing good deeds or acts which delivers a barcode via the Current mo- of kindness. bile app that users scan at the register of parThis year, 7-Eleven said it will issue approxticipating VanillaDirect retailers to instantly imately 1.5 million Slurpee drink coupons to more deposit cash to their accounts.

SEVEN-ELEVEN JAPAN LAUNCHES HOME DELIVERY Seven-Eleven Japan is launching a home delivery service from its stores to meet contin-

than 1,100 law enforcement agencies that will, in turn, be distributed to the community's kids. Each coupon can be redeemed for one Slurpee drink at participating 7-Eleven stores. Big-city departments and small-town forces alike use the Slurpee drink coupons to enhance relationships with the young people of their cities.

TRITON ENERGY ADDED TO PRIVATE LABEL LINE SEI recently introduced Triton, a new energy drink with L-Theanine, created to meet customers' desire for a sugar-free energy option. Designed for anyone who wants to boost energy levels, Triton is described as “An Energy Drink for the Mind and Body,” and contains caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, both sourced from green tea leaves. The Triton energy drink also has B vitamins, ginseng, taurine, guarana and amino acids. For a limited time at participating 7-Eleven stores, thirsty customers can take advantage of a buy oneget one deal on the new energy drink. 7-Eleven's newest energy drink comes in three refreshing flavors: • Original—This fruity combination features a powerful citrus burst of lemon, grapefruit and orange flavors. • Strawberry Kiwi—The juicy, candy-like strawberry flavor is light and balanced with sweet, tart and tangy kiwi flavor. continued on page 70

“7-Eleven will distribute some 1.5 million Slurpee drink coupons to more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies to in turn distribute to their community's kids.”

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• Blood Orange Yuzu—The distinctive blood orange flavor combined with the exotic tart yuzu flavor creates a unique citrus taste experience.



7-Eleven recently launched four Snoopy 7-Eleven stores in participating markets concept stores in Hong Kong and Macau to recently offered a free whole pizza when or- create an exciting destination for Snoopy fans dered through the 7NOW delivery app to help to visit, reported Retail News Asia. To coincide loyal sports fans cheer on their teams and prop- with Snoopy’s 70th birthday, 7-Eleven chose erly “homegate.” The one-day-only free pizza to collaborate with Peanuts, the iconic cartoon offer went live in the 7NOW app on Sunday, strip featuring Snoopy and his friends. “HapOctober 4, and was available for delivery or piness Is….” was selected as the overarching pickup. Available in cheese, pepperoni and explatform for the campaign; a famous catchtreme meat, the oven-baked pizzas could be phrase from the Peanuts cartoons that encourpurchased with cut fruit, fresh-made green salages people to appreciate the little ads, and bone-in and boneless wings. things in life. For this program, 7In participating markets, cusEleven also partnered up “7NOW tomers over the age of 21 Japanese lifestyle fashion were also able to pair their now reaches 60 brand Niko to launch a sepie with beer or wine. million households ries of eight colorful, stylish Now offered in apin 1,300 cities, giving eco-bags featuring Snoopy proximately 1,300 cities, the them access to thouand the gang. 7NOW delivery app gives sands of products The four stores were decmore than 60 million housefor delivery.” holds in the United States access orated from top to bottom with to thousands of items they may special Snoopy touches, including need or crave during the pandemic, SEI said the shopfront, category signage, chiller and in a press release. Products include fresh and freezer doors, walls, and, in some stores, even hot foods, household items, groceries, pantry the ceiling. Shelving was transformed to look needs, over-the-counter medicine, snacks, sweet like Snoopy’s iconic red doghouse, and a custreats and more. 7NOW orders are delivered in tom-made gondola end display featured a about 30 minutes, and customers can specify jumbo Snoopy figure driving a bright yellow “contactless delivery” when ordering. school bus. Team members at the Snoopy concept stores also joined in on the fun by wearing an exclusive t-shirt featuring the iconic Charlie Brown chevron stripe designed for them to wear within the stores.


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PUMPKIN SPICE RETURNS EARLY Participating 7-Eleven stores are now serving up Pumpkin Spice Latte and fresh-brewed pumpkin-flavored coffee, as well as pumpkin-flavored snacks, pastries, and candies, SEI announced. The company said it started offering these seasonal favorites earlier this year, on September 2. The falltime goodies include pumpkin spice sandwich cookies, cream cheese filled pumpkin spice muffins, take-home pumpkin coffee to brew at home, 7-Select pumpkin cheesecake snack pies, Gummi pumpkin candies, and a decadent Halloween chocolate bar with red caramel, dark chocolate brownie and pumpkin spice.

7-ELEVEN AUSTRALIA STORES GET NEW DIGITAL SIGNAGE 7-Eleven Australia has partnered with outdoor media company QMS Media to launch its revitalized advertising portfolio “Impulse” and help drive immediate action and create increased awareness for brands nationally, reported B&T Magazine. Since securing the exclusive sales and marketing rights for 7Eleven’s advertising portfolio six months ago, QMS has undertaken significant investment to reinvigorate the small format digital network to the premium quality standards QMS is renowned for, according to the article. The network now provides 100 percent full motion digital screens with dynamic ad serving capabilities, strategically placed to maximize audience delivery.

Monster Energy introduces three new products designed to give your energy drink sales a boost: Monster Energy Ultra Watermelon: From the #1 Diet Energy brand, Monster Ultra gives the gift of a never-ending summer. Ultra Watermelon brings the sweetness of an all-American favorite that will light up the long days and hot nights with explosive flavor and the promise of zero sugar. Juice Monster Papillon and Khaotic: From the brand family known for revolutionary flavor innovation Give energy drink sales a jolt with new Monster Energy Ultra Watermelon and Juice Monster in the Energy category, Papillon and Khaotic. Monster Energy brings consumers the latest from Juice Monster: Papillon and Khaotic. These two exciting new flavors are bound to be a hit with loyal and emerging Energy consumers. Papillon brings a smooth Peach-Nectarine offering to the Juice Monster family, while Khaotic is the newest evolution of Juice's electric Orange flavor.

New Glaceau vitaminwater Slurpee Zero Flavors SEI recently launched two limited-time new flavors that promise to be big players with those thirsty for sugar-free Slurpee drink options. While named Rise and Shine, the two Glaceau vitaminwater zero sugar flavors can be enjoyed morning, noon and night. The Rise flavor is a citrusy orange, and Shine is a refreshing strawberry lemonade. Both exclusive new Slurpee flavors include vitamins B3, B6 and B12, and contain no sugar. A 20ounce serving has just 50 calories. Glaceau vitaminwater at 7-Eleven stores with two new Slurpee flavors.

The first sugar-free Glaceau vitaminwater Slurpee flavors— Fire and Chill—were immediate success stories when introduced in 2019, winning with customers for taste and awards for innovation. Chill, an on-trend blueberry lavender flavor, was the bestselling sugar-free Slurpee drink in more than two years. Fire and Chill also were cited by Convenience Store News as one of the reasons for selecting 7-Eleven for its Cold Beverage Innovator of the Year award in 2019. While beverage flavor trends may come and go, citrus is a forever favorite. For consumers who prefer better-for-you options, citrus remains the top flavor preference, especially for non-alcoholic beverages, according to a recent study referenced in Beverage Industry magazine.

King Size Cookies Gaming Promo To celebrate the upcoming release of the new Xbox game Halo Infinite, Nabisco announced a new King Size gaming promotion featuring special pack graphics, in-store promotions, and an incredible sweeps opportunity for customers. Five fan-favorite packs will get all-new, exclusive Halo Infinite pack graphics with exclusive Halo Infinite content on every pack: Oreo Original and Double Stuf Halo Infinite King Size, Chips Ahoy! Original and Chunky Halo Infinite King Size, and Nutter Butter Halo Infinite King Size. In addition, on-the-go gamer customers will get to take part in a custom 7Rack up sales points with Nabisco’s King Size Cookies gaming promotion. Eleven Digital Game and Sweepstakes. Some of the prizes customers can win include a $500 gift card or a brand-new Xbox Series X Console. To rack up even more sales points, every pack of King Size Oreo Cookies will be 2 for $2.50, and a special 7Rewards offer of 200 Bonus Points when you buy 3 packages of Oreo Cookies will keep gamers coming back to your store to feed their need for gaming snacks. continued on page 74

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New products and services for 7-Eleven Franchisees

Monster Energy New Flavors

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Swisher Sweets Green Cigarillos Camouflage

Swisher Sweets limited edition Green Cigarillos feature a new camouflage design.

Swisher Sweets recently announced that Swisher Sweets Green cigarillos have a new camo look on pouches for a limited time. These distinct pouches will be sure to catch the eye of customers with a design bound to make a statement. The in-demand blend featuring a distinctive green wrapper has a new look for fall that is right on-trend and a mellow taste that will keep

adult consumers coming back all season. This seasonal limited time offer is destined to be in high-demand, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to stock this hot design. The timeless taste and camo pouches will provide a reason for adult consumers to enjoy Swisher Sweets Green this fall. Swisher Sweets Green camo pouches are available in a variety of market-driven price points and is shipping nationwide now, but only while supplies last. For more information, contact your Swisher representative at 1-800874-9720 or visit Swisher.com.

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes kill 99.99 percent of germs, while wiping away dirt and messes. Plus, thanks to their hypoallergenic formula, they won't irritate your skin. Wet Ones Travel Packs continued on page 76

DANONE’S TOP-SELLING COFFEE CREAMERS & COLD BREW DRINKS Stock up on these popular Danone coffee creamers and cold brew coffees and watch your sales soar!

• SToK Cold Brew Coffee: Ignite your sales with the #1 Cold Brew brand in grocery. SToK Cold Brew is deliciously smooth, brewed low and slow for at least ten hours to deliver a bold, one-of-a-kind SToKness. With 145 milligrams of caffeine per serving, SToK Cold-Brew is available in on-the-go 13.7 ounce bottles and four delicious flavors: Mocha, Vanilla, Not Too Sweet, and Unsweet.

• Silk Plant-Based Creamers: Silk creamers are made with plants, meaning they’re naturally dairy-free, lactose-free, and casein-free. The entire Silk lineup is enrolled in the NonGMO Project Verification Program. Silk Vanilla Dairy Free Creamer adds a hint of vanilla flavor, a touch of sweetness and signature Silk smoothness, all blissfully dairyfree.


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The plant-based lifestyle is becoming more and more mainstream. In fact, health and taste are the two main motivators to enter into plantbased. Forty-six percent of U.S. households purchase plant-based across the store today, and 75 percent of Millennials are considering or are already on a plant-based diet. Don’t fall behind on the latest trend—offer your customers a plant based creamer option today.

• New International Delight Flavor Blast: International Delight coffee creamers come in over twenty different delicious flavors, including fat- and sugar-free varieties. This creamer is both gluten- and lactose-free.

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are ideal for school, diaper bags/purses, and wherever soap and water are not available. Since they're not liquid, Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes are the ideal carry-on when you fly. Available in 20-count packs, Wet Ones (SLIN 222261) retail for $2.49 at a cost of $1.12 for a 55 percent gross profit. First come, first served!

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes generate 55 percent gross profit.

Dri Mark Counterfeit Detection Dri Mark’s newest counterfeit detection product, the Flash Test, is changing the way thousands of retail stores across the country approach fraud protection. The tiny Flash Test, no larger than a mobile

phone, fits right next to the register, and detects counterfeit money in less than a second. This revolutionary patented device uses ink, watermark and UV detection technologies to defeat “bleached bills” and even the most authentic looking counterfeits. It’s easy to use, easy to train, maintenance free, and very affordable. The Flash Test was invented by 7-Eleven franchisee Robert Phillipa and has been deployed in over a thousand 7-Eleven stores. Order inquiries can be sent to Dri Mark’s head of sales, Mark Dobbs, at Mark@DriMark.com. Depending on the order size, the order can be delivered as soon as two business days.

Grow Sales With Coors Seltzer 7-Eleven hard seltzer sales have increased 224 percent year-over-year, and The Flash Test was invented by a 7-Eleven franchisee and you can further inhas been deployed in over a thousand 7-Eleven stores.

SOYLENT NUTRITION REFINED BEVERAGE LINE Soylent Nutrition, Inc.—the makers of Soylent complete nutrition beverages, powders and bars—rolled out improved, better-tasting versions of their famous drinks recently. This is the latest display of how the seven-year-old food tech start-up is shaking things up for the better under its new leadership. This ready-to-drink product optimization comes on the heels of a number of other accomplishments in recent months for the company. The renewed focus on its core products and consumers has allowed the company to return to its mission while simultaneously restoring a sustainable business model. As far as flavor goes, the company spent significant effort updating, tweaking and testing new, all-natural flavors that could beat their competition, and they have finally done it. Building on their commitment to innovation and science-based nutrition, they are improving taste and lowering sugar content. Now, in blind taste tests, Soylent’s new Creamy Chocolate flavor beats the dairy-based competition, while delivering complete plant-based nutrition that is also good for the planet. In addition to removing artificial flavors and using the latest flavor technology for a better taste experience, Soylent has also reduced added sugar per bottle from 9g in the previous version to only 1g in this new version. This is in part thanks to a change to allulose—a carbohydrate found in nature that works to maintain the low glycemic index of Soylent beverages.


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crease those sales with Coors Increase Seltzer. With booming hard only 90 calories seltzer sales with and 4.5 percent Coors Seltzer. ABV, Coors Seltzer is available in 24 ounce cans and 12 pack variety with flavors: Black Cherry, Mango, Lemon Lime, and Grapefruit. The first “seltzer with a mission,” Coors Seltzer has partnered with Change the Course to restore 1 billion gallons of river water in a year—500 gallons for every 12-pack sold. continued next page

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Enjoy High Margins With FBO BreathIQ

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BreathIQ is a glow stick breathalyzer keychain that contains a single use disposable alcohol breathalyzer that is 99.9 percent accurate. This is the only patented, made in the USA, federally approved, and FDA cleared device on the market. BreathIQ has reduced the buy-in cost for 7-Eleven franchisees to half. Instead of paying the regular cost of 7-Eleven franchisees get a reduced buy $245.00, 7-Eleven franchisees get it for $122.50. This FBO in cost of 50 percent on BreathIQ. special gives you a 50 percent margin with super high return at the register of $5.00 minimum per keychain. 7-Eleven will be the first c-store retailer to carry this product (FBO). The display box has a small 4”x4” footprint for such a large GP.

Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bar Introducing the Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bar, a new and exciting flavor from the Snickers Ice Cream brand for your customers to enjoy. The Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Snickers Peanut Cream Bar is launching alongside the Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bar has scored Brownie Bar in chocolate, which includes a robust, above average in consumer testing. $20M+ 360 marketing plan. The Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bar is brownie flavored ice cream with brownie bits, topped with signature Snickers peanuts and caramel, and covered in milk chocolatey coating. Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bars are sure to be a consumer favorite with scoring above average in consumer testing and truly an indulgent treat, with about 70 percent of consumers claiming this Peanut Brownie is more indulgent than a typical frozen novelty item. The Snickers Peanut Brownie Ice Cream Bar will be available in 2021. Place your order today with your frozen novelty distributor. In 1991, the Snickers Ice Cream Bar was introduced, bringing the iconic Snickers Chocolate Bar to ice cream. The Snickers Ice Cream Bar continues to be the #1 ice cream novelty in convenience, outselling the competition.

lawmakers recently introduced legislation in the State House and Senate that would ban hair discrimination in the commonwealth. • Seven states have already enacted Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act legislation and adopted protections for people who could be discriminated against for wearing natural hair in the workplace, schools, and beyond. • Pennsylvania-based convenience

chain Sheetz recently announced plans to hire 3,000 employees company-wide in several departments including food service, distribution, corporate departments, and maintenance. The company said it wants to provide jobs for people who may have lost employment during the pandemic. • The Coca-Cola Company

plans to retire Tab diet soda and other “underperforming products” by the end of the year, reported Fox Business. Tab was Coke’s first diet soda when it was released in 1963, using saccharine as an alternative sweetener. • CVS

plans to immediately hire 15,000 employees to prepare for an expected rise in COVID-19 and flu cases this fall and winter, reported CNBC. More than 10,000 of those will be full-time and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians who can help dispense medications and administer COVID-19 tests. • New York recently

unveiled its first electric vehicle fastcharging hub located in the Mid-Hudson Valley, a New York Power Authority initiative to aggressively accelerate adoption of electric vehicles.

Advertiser’s Index

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

AKR Corp...........................71

Danone .............................13

Kellogg's ...........................24

Monster .........................3,18

Smuckers ..........................60


Diageo Guinness...............17

Living Essentials................35

Nestle Waters....................43


Anheuser Busch..................6

Glanbia .............................54

Mars Ice Cream .................21

Old World Industries.........72

Swedish Match .................49

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


Maruchan .........................36

Path Water ........................31

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

Blue Bunny/Wells.............11


McLane .............................28

Pepsi Quaker.....................38

Tell Industries....................44

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

JJ Martin ...........................57


Perfetti Van Mele..............51


Cookies United..................39

JUUL ..........................cover 3


Simply Orange............5,9,47

Windsor ............................27

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foa events Midwest FOA/ Alliance Of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Virtual Trade Show December 2-5, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Columbia Pacific FOA Holiday Party (Venue TBD) December 6, 2020 Phone: 503-998-5941

Central Florida FOA Christmas Party (Venue TBD) ONED December 12, 2020 POSTP Phones: 207-415-0924

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


Board meetings National Coalition virtual Board meetings are being scheduled one per month. Vendors interested in sponsoring to appear virtually at these meetings should contact John Riggio, JR Planners, at 262-275-3086 or jrpinc@charter.net.

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



November 17-18, Noon to 8 pm CST


National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting

Vendor and Franchisee Registration Now Open at www.NCASEF.com Free Registration for Franchisees!

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Hawaii November 2-4, 2020



Page 19

FOA Board Meeting Dates CENTRAL FLORIDA FOA November 10, 2020

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOA Phone: 818-357-5985 ONED November 18, 2020 POSTP



Phone: 619-726-9016

Phone: 702-561-0311

November 17, 2020

November 12, 2020—Board Meeting November 19, 2020—General Meeting & Elections December 10, 2020—Board Meeting

Phone: 207-415-0924

MIDWEST FOA Phone: 847-971-9457

November 19, 2020—Board Meeting

Phone: 702-249-3301

SAN DIEGO FOA Phone: 619-713-2411

November 19,P 2020 OST


South Texas FOA


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November 11, 2020—Board Meeting November 18, 2020—General Meeting December 2, 2020—Board Meeting

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