Brand Unity At Its Finest

By Sukhi Sandhu, NCASEF Chairman

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the 7-Eleven Experience came back bigger and better than ever before! Held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the event showcased the best of what 7-Eleven has to offer. It was amazing to see everyone—all the stakeholders and partners—coming together for two days to network, share new ideas, see great new products from exhibiting vendors, and to check out the latest innovations being rolled out by our franchisor.

The size and scale of the event were amazing, almost outgrowing the venue where it was held. Attendees included not only 7-Eleven franchisees and their guests, but folks from 7-Eleven Canada, Speedway, Stripes, Laredo Taco Company, 7Now, our vendor community, and of course, SEI. In all, there were over 13,400 attendees, with the largest franchisee attendance at over 5,400—including their guests. I heard that franchisee registration for this 7EE was at over 90 percent, which is truly impressive. The brand is growing, and it was great to see so many franchisees, corporate operators, and vendors expressing their excitement for being part of this large-scale event.

Attending the 7-Eleven Experience event this year allowed me to speak with hundreds of franchisees, vendor supply partners, and 7-Eleven staff. It provided an excellent opportunity to hear the challenges faced by franchisees and listen to their concerns. Several had even mentioned to me that this was their first time attending the 7EE and it exceeded their expectations. The networking opportunities were incredible, and it was exhilarating to see how franchisees could take advantage of the deals offered by vendors to maximize their profit margins.

The 7EE kicked off with a general session featuring a keynote speech by SEI President and CEO Joe DePinto, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which was filled to capacity. It had the vibe of a rock concert rather than a corporate gathering, and that vibe carried throughout the two-day event.

The trade show was sprawled across three separate, large areas of the MGM Grand Conference Center and was packed wall-to-wall with exhibiting vendors. It served as a great opportunity for vendors to showcase their products and offer deals that would maximize gross profits for franchisees. In fact, I was informed that pre-book orders at this 7EE set a new record, which I’m sure made vendors very happy.

The Learning Center was a great platform to discover all the innovation and simplification being developed by SEI to make our business model better. Areas within the Learning Center included Vault, Retailer Initiative, Marketing, Private Brand, Digital, 7Collection, Rewards, and much more. One of the highlights of the event was the announcement of the self-checkout system rollout, which is set to be launched later this year. It was evident that this new system would significantly reduce operating expenses and improve the speed of service.

The Accounting booth in the Store Support Expo section was a highlight of the event, and it was there to address any concerns or queries from franchisees. The Store Support Expo section was also well-attended, with many SEI departments having their own booths so franchisees could meet and speak directly with department heads and representatives.

Sprinkled throughout the 7EE were appearances by high-caliber celebrities—like baseball legend Roger Clemens, NBA star Dwyane Wade, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, former 7-Eleven-sponsored Indy Car driver Tony Kanaan, Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, and Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young, to name a few—who signed autographs and took photos with attendees. There was also a blow-out party at the famed Hakkasan Nightclub, and the final gala night, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, was tremendous fun.

It feels good to be part of a brand that is getting bigger and stronger, and it was great to hear that SEI’s commitment for 2023 is to be better and face the challenges with all stakeholders while focusing on the overall brand, including the franchise model.

On the while, the 7EE was an enriching experience. It was great to get together with so many people and stakeholders, and to witness the growth and success of the 7-Eleven brand. The record attendance of franchisees was impressive, and it serves as a wonderful example of how working together and having good communication can result in positive outcomes.

NCASEF plans to carry on this spirit of cooperation and camaraderie at our 47th Annual Convention and Trade Show, to be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from July 30 to August 2. Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us. Our Convention Committee is hard at work putting together an event filled with networking, social, and business-building opportunities that will satisfy all 7-Eleven partners. We’re encouraging vendors to bring exclusive convention-only deals, and we’re inviting SEI to send representatives and set up booths at our trade show to engage with franchisees. More details will be coming soon. I look forward to seeing you all there.