Integrating Acquisition Stores with Branded Gasoline Into SEI’s System
BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF
Of the three different types of 7-Eleven stores—traditional, acquisition, and Business Conversion Program (BCP)—acquisition stores that come with brand name gasoline like Exxon or Chevron seem the most troublesome to operate. The reason being that these stores are not fully integrated into 7-Eleven’s electronic system and the franchisee often ends up having to use two different cash registers: one for gas and the other for in-store sales.
These acquisition stores usually have either Chevron or Exxon branded gasoline because SEI decided at the time of purchase to keep the gas brand name. Therefore, our employees have to ring the gas on the 7-Eleven register then go to the gas register provided by those companies. If the customer does not use the full amount of gas they requested, then our employees have to refund them on both registers. Same thing with the car wash, too. There is also a different credit card machine provided by Exxon or Chevron to process their gas-branded credit cards. So you have two transactions—one on the 7-Eleven cash register and one on the gas register, and it’s a big job of balancing both registers.
Recently, the company has taken a step toward integrating the two systems, but only for the gas summary. Since they are not fully integrated, we still have the gas registers called Passport for Exxon or Nucleus for Chevron. The really difficult part comes when the gas register goes down, because then the franchisee has to call the Exxon or Chevron help desk, which leads to a long hold on the phone and gas sales suffer.
Lately, there has been another problem when the gas register goes down: the total sales for the day does not populate on our ISP. Even though the cash summary is integrated, island sales and car wash sales do not populate. As a result, the franchisee has to go to the gas register to print everything for all three shifts and do everything manually, even for car wash sales.
Then comes the second part, where the franchisee has to call the help desk to get the cash summary completed. Sometimes the Exxon credit cards do not populate, too—it shows big variations. So the franchisee has to call the help desk for assistance. These are timeconsuming tasks, whether you have to call the gas company help desk or the 7-Eleven help desk. It takes a lot of time and effort to match everything. An added disadvantage to all of this is that it is easy for employees to steal without being discovered. The shortage will be shown, but it is easy for them to get away with it because it is a big job for franchisees to match up sales and catch dishonest employees.
In some cases when you call the gas company help desk, they cannot dial in and a technician has to come on-site. If the tech guy has to update the software on the gas registers, it could take anywhere from 6 to 24 hours, and that is a big loss in sales even though franchisees get only 1.5 cents commission. The gas summary sometimes can only be completed two to three days later when the gas register is fixed. In other cases, if a maintenance guy for the gas pumps comes and is not fully trained, you can lose the saved data. It is hard for the help desk to retrieve that data. Again, the help desk is needed to complete the cash summary correctly.
Throughout this process the franchisee is the victim because he has to pay for gas shortages, cash shortages, and variances created by the system. The wrong reports generated by gas registers create big shortages for franchisees ranging from $100 to $500, and franchisees are obligated to pay for that.
We need to have the branded gas registers integrated into the 7-Eleven system so gas and car wash sales can automatically be populated in the ISP. This is SEI’s responsibility because the major portion of gas sales income goes to corporate and franchisees only make 1.5 cents. Although keeping the brand names like Exxon and Chevron helps get their customers and branded credit card holders to pump more gas at our stores, there should be a better solution. Those acquired stores should be fully integrated into the 7-Eleven system so franchisees do not have to go through all these problems.