7-Eleven Franchise Guide

A sign for the popular convenience store chain 7 Eleven on the corner of the awning above gas pumps appears with a clear blue sky and power lines in the background.
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7-Eleven is an international chain of over 58,000 convenience stores operating in 17 countries worldwide. 7-Eleven was the first 24/7 convenience store ever, has been a convenience retailer for over 80 years, and has been a leader in the franchise industry for more than 40 years. Beginning as the Southland Ice Company in 1927, this Dallas-based company is now the world’s largest convenience store retailer, even though it prefers to market itself as a “neighborhood business” in keeping with those 1927 roots.

It is even argued that the Southland Ice Company started the very first convenience store. As more and more customers kept coming in to buy ice, enterprising employee John Jefferson Green began also selling milk, bread, and eggs after hours, figuring that would reduce the need for customers to travel long distances for basic items. Supply soon met demand, and an industry was born.

Joe Thompson, one of the founding directors of Southland Ice Company, is credited with developing a training program that emphasized the importance of each customer receiving the same quality of service in every store. It could be argued that these were some of the first Brand Standards ever employed in franchising.

The first stores went by the name Tote’m, since customers “toted” away their packages. However, in 1946 the stores' hours were extended, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m., which was unprecedented at the time, and so the stores were given a new name to reflect that.

Over time, most 7-Eleven locations have become fully 24-hour stores, though they are still called 7-Eleven. The name has stuck, and it has helped developed one of the most well-known brands in the world.

Background and Benefits

7-Eleven’s first-rate branding and commitment to the Franchisee is unprecedented in this category.

7-Eleven helps Franchisees tailor their businesses “to the individuality of their selected market bases and customer needs,” and that means happier customers that come back. Services include obtaining and bearing the ongoing cost of the land, building and store equipment, record keeping, bill paying, and payroll services for store operations fees, and financing for all normal store operating expenses. 7-Eleven’s corporate office even pays for the franchisee's water, sewer, gas and electric utilities. Where else can you get turnkey provisions in your own existing business?

How Much Does a 7-Eleven Franchise Cost?

The initial investment to own and operate a 7-Eleven franchise location ranges from $37,550 to $1,200,000. This comes with a net worth requirement between $100,000 and $250,000 and a Liquidity requirement of $50,000 to $150,000. The one-time initial franchise fee is “based on the individual store's gross profit” and therefore can be anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. There is also a gasoline fee (if you offer fuel) and the “initial inventory-supplies-permits-bonds, and cash register fund fee.” That may seem like an overwhelming amount of funds required, but with corporate paying for everything else, how bad could it be?

What We Like

We love that you can upgrade your existing business to this kind of blockbuster branding. 7-Eleven takes an active role in the franchisee’s business because they know their success is based on yours. They could be accused of being too “hands-on,” which has the potential to lead to charges of joint employment and vicarious liability, so strong safeguards and manual language must be included in the 7-Eleven system.

Pros

  • Ranking – Ranked No. 7 in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 in 2016
  • Name Recognition – The Company will lend its name to your existing store for a nominal fee.

Cons

  • None – The varying fees promise to be reasonable and with all the other benefits it just all seems too good to be true.

7-Eleven Franchise Fast Facts

  • Business Established: 1927
  • Franchising Since: 1964
  • Start-up Cost: Varies
  • Total Investment: $37,550 to $1,200,000
  • Net Worth: $100,000 to $250,000
  • Liquidity: $50,000 to $150,000
  • Franchise Free: $10,000 to $1,000,000