November 17-18, 2020

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7-Eleven Putting 30-Year Owner Out of Business

Franchisee Calls the Move “Retaliatory”

San Antonio, TX – October 26, 2020 – 7-Eleven franchise owner Serge Haitayan received two noteworthy pieces of mail from 7-Eleven’s Dallas headquarters last month. One recognized him for his 30 years as a franchisee in Fresno, California.  The other informed him that his days as a franchise owner were coming to an abrupt end. The corporation has refused to negotiate in good faith to extend or renew the lease on the store. On December 2, his 7-Eleven business will be shut down–ending his three-decade tenure.

Haitayan is among a group of franchisees who spearheaded a 2017 lawsuit against 7-Eleven for misclassifying him and other California operators as independent contractors. The case is scheduled for trial early next year.

“This is nothing but retaliation for my role in calling them out for unfair business practices. They’re willing to close a profitable store for 7-Eleven, with an established customer base store and a beer and wine license – even though there are no others available here – just to get me out,” Haitayan said.

Under the franchise agreement, if 7-Eleven does not exercise the options on a lease, the franchise owner must be offered another location. In Haitayan’s case, the stores he was offered were not leased locations, meaning he would have to pay out of pocket to buy one. Haitayan says 7-Eleven violated California law regarding market withdrawal because he was not given six months’ notice that the company would not be exercising the option on his lease.

“I received a letter stating that 7-Eleven lost the lease on my store, which simply isn’t true,” Haitayan said. “The property owner was approached just once last year about renegotiating or extending the lease, but then heard nothing over the last 10 months. This is just another example of how 7-Eleven abuses power and mistreats franchise owners who question their tactics.”

According to Jay Singh, chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), “Haitayan’s leadership roles in his local franchise owners association (FOA) and with the National Coalition were also the target of 7-Eleven’s mission to get him out of the system.” California law protects the rights of franchisees to join independent associations of franchisees, but Singh said, “By making an example of Haitayan, 7-Eleven can intimidate other franchisees from actively participating in their FOAs and speaking out to defend franchisee rights.”

Last year, Haitayan signed a 15-year franchise agreement with 7-Eleven. He still has 14 years left on that contract. “I’m the one who started this whole movement against 7-Eleven, insisting franchisees be treated fairly. Now they think they can get rid of me. I am not a store manager, employed on an at-will basis. I have worked hard as a franchisee to support the 7-Eleven brand and I’m going to fight until they give me a comparable store.”


Dear Avanti Reader,
Your digital edition of Avanti’s September/October issue is available online now at, or through the National Coalition website, this issue Chairman Jay Singh provides a status of the Coalition, covering everything from membership to elections for NCASEF officers, our Zoom Board meetings, and the upcoming NCASEF Virtual Trade Show. Executive Vice Chairman Michael Jorgensen makes the case for changing the way we account for promotions and discounts, and General Counsel Eric Karp provides a look at Chapter 3 of 7-Eleven’s conversion to a gas store chain with the purchase of 3,900 Marathon stores. NCASEF Treasurer and PAC Chairman Jaspreet Dhillon provides an update on California’s AB-5, which in practice questions the status of all 7-Eleven franchisees, and Attorneys Rob Bernstein and Elizabeth Rice address how to deal with employees who test positive for COVID-19.Vendors can register now for the National Coalition’s Virtual Trade Show at, and franchisees will be able to register soon.Vendors, it’s a good time to be advertising in Avanti! Get a start on the recovery while it’s happening with Avanti’s November/December issue (deadline November 28). It reaches franchisees in early January. Please call or email me, or download our rate card for more information.Enjoy the issue! Sincerely yours,

Sheldon Smith
Avanti Magazine
National Coalition Of Associations Of 7-Eleven Franchisees
116 N. Bellevue Avenue, Suite 304
Langhorne, PA 19047
215 750-0178