“Give the customers what they want, when and where they want it.” That quote comes from 7-Eleven founder Joe C. Thompson, Jr., and for years, that frequently meant blue raspberry slurpees, a 50-ounce trough of soda for the road, and a wide range of fabricated burgers and burritos. But now such offerings extend to kombucha, organic coconut water, blueberry flavored coffee (it’s awesome, trust) and, at some locations, carnitas tacos. Fairly soon, the menu will also include electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
According to the company, the upcoming installation of EV charging stations is part of its long-term plan to become a more sustainable operation. Some of the changes in this journey have been routine: a switch to LED bulbs, efficient energy management systems, better packaging, investments in renewables and “collaboration” with other organizations.
Nitpicking aside, these aren’t the same 7-Eleven corner stores of your parents' or grandparents' day. At more and more locations, the product selections are better, the presentation is better, the food is better and, as retailers love to say, the guest experience is better.
So, about those EV charging stations: As of press time, the scenario at 7-Eleven is to install 500 or so of these fast-charging stations at locations across the U.S. and Canada, with completion set for sometime in 2022. Currently the count is 22 of them spread across 14 stores, but this planned boost is quite the investment if all goes to plan.
7- Eleven hasn’t disclosed anything about the costs involved or the locations set to receive charging stations, but as 3p’s Tina Casey has long espoused, the business benefits of investing in EV charging stations are there, only they will morph depending on where they are located. In the case of 7-Eleven, the payoff if obvious: To start, even with fast charging, while one is waiting he or she has time to score that taquito, followed by chips for the road, a kombucha, and then wash it all down with some Colombian coffee and a piña colada slurpee.
And in the long run for 7-Eleven, it’s a smart move for the company, franchisees and, of course, its brand.
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.