Uniting The Franchisee Community
We’ve said it many times before in the 37-year history of the National Coalition: “Franchisees working together can accomplish more than any number of franchisees working independently.” Bringing franchisees together through the work of the National Coalition and local FOAs is my number one goal for 2012. It’s time that we reemphasize franchisees working together, and apply this way of thinking to our FOA organizations in 2012.
When we look back on the last several years, and look forward to 2012, we can celebrate our accomplishments, but we also have to acknowledge that franchisees we will continue to face challenges—from the economy, from competition and from changes to our own 7-Eleven system. I have always thought that the most important role a franchisee organization can play is to “represent the interests of its members.” Franchisee organizations have always existed for this purpose, and no matter how large the group gets, this is our most important mission.
In 2006, the National Coalition consisted of 24 Franchise Owner’s Associations (FOAs) representing approximately 60 percent of 7-Eleven stores, and we have grown to 39 FOAs, representing 86 percent of 7-Eleven stores, in 2011. 7-Eleven currently has around 5,267 franchised stores, added 641 in 2011, and expects to add an additional 750 stores through acquisitions, the Business Conversion Program (BCP) and organic growth in 2012.
Over the past two years, while representing franchisees as Chairman of the National Coalition, I have learned that the franchisee organization has a different mission in regard to the company: “to provide honest, open feedback from the franchisee community in order that the company can adjust and improve the system.”
Over the past two years, by “working with our franchisor to solve problems,” we have:
• seen two new franchise agreements that have not had significant changes;
• eliminated the CDC flat fee so we can see “real” cost of goods;
• made significant changes to the CDC model to get franchisees more involved in the vendor and product selection process;
• made changes to the BT model that helped form the hybrid-model now being deployed in Texas and Florida; and
• increased our legislative activities on national and local levels.
Growth of the National Coalition and the 7-Eleven system is something we can all celebrate, because it offers opportunities to franchisees who want to grow in the system. It also brings with it the problems of growth. Encroachment, Business Transformation, CDCs, low volume stores, gasoline policy changes and franchisee profitability are all issues that we need to continue to address with 7-Eleven in 2012. An economy that continues to face challenges, rising gasoline prices, product merchandising, and competition from outside our channel are all issues we need to address together.
As our system grows, so does the need for local FOAs and franchisees across pokies online games the country to unite, support each other and contribute to the feedback on both national and local levels. Obtaining profitable growth for franchisees is a commitment and an obligation that the National Coalition and each local FOA shares, but it is only by working together and sharing information that we can remove obstacles, spread the word on opportunities, and make a difference. We have a tremendous amount of work to do, but when franchisees make decisions together for the good of the system, those decisions become much easier to make.
I believe the National Coalition is in a better position today to deal with the challenges ahead. While progress on some issues is not where we would like it to be (renewal fee, gas commission, credit card fees, low volume stores), I urge all franchisees to get involved by bringing your issues and your ideas to your local FOA. I urge FOA leaders to work together and be active in representing the franchisees in your area. Meet with local SEI management to help franchisees with problems, stay abreast of the issues in your area, and most importantly, communicate with your members on a regular basis.
The 7-Eleven system is growing, becoming more powerful, harder to manage, and it is changing faster than ever before. We need to stay united, voice our concerns, and share our knowledge to get the most out of the franchise business system.