It’s Time to Get Down to Business
BY NICK BHULLAR, NCASEF VICE CHAIRMAN
As we all get ready to go into the new year, I find that there could not be a better time to take a close look at the year we have had and to get inspiration for what we could do better in the new upcoming year. Needless to say that we have had quite a year with the lawsuit in California, minimum wage increases, and the huge shift in buying habits of our customers. For these reasons and many more, it’s crucial now, more than ever, to remain resolved and poised as businessmen so we can continue to deliver excellence through our stores.
In today’s competitive retail food industry, things are changing rapidly. From fresh food ordered via app and delivered to your home, to Amazon Go cashier-less stores, we have more competition than ever before. We need our resources and 7-Eleven’s resources to meet the competition and provide our stores with moneymaking strategies that can continue to compete in the marketplace. Moreover, we can’t dilute our focus on serving the customer as our goal.
At this point, I urge both the National Coalition and 7-Eleven to get back to the playing field for the sake of franchisees and the system. The problems we will face in the future require dedication to improvement.
It’s a fact that both parties have to work together to make this system work. Franchisees have to work with 7-Eleven and 7-Eleven has to work with franchisees. The money, energy and the resources we are spending to struggle with each other are what we should be spending to catch up with the market. Wawa is building 10,000 square foot stores. Amazon is bringing cashier-less stores. Japan 7-Elevens are experimenting with facial recognition. We need to do the same and focus our energy in remodeling our stores and bringing in more food.
As far as the new agreement goes, the majority of franchisees have already signed it, because it’s either sign or find a new business. 7-Eleven Corporate has changed their agreement nearly every year or two since 2004, and we will find out over the next year whether the new contract works. In the meanwhile, if we are working together, we can at least try to convince 7-Eleven to make changes to things that aren’t working. At least we can feel good about working the day-to-day business. Those of us in the system now are locked in. If we don’t have a good relationship with corporate, how are we going to sit down with them and discuss what needs to be changed?
7-Eleven is a huge part of my past and my future. And I want to protect my business just like the rest of my franchisee-family. However, we can only fix this estranged relationship by sitting down with 7-Eleven corporate and talking to them. We need to be proactive, at the local FOA level and at the National level, with our brand.