7-Eleven Capitalizing on D.C.'s Desire for Convenience

Washingtonians give vote of confidence to chain's hot foods

7-Eleven (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

WASHINGTON -- 7-Eleven Inc. is moving aggressively into the Washington, D.C., area, adding more than a store a month, sometimes within blocks of existing ones, reported The Washington Post.

The reasons: Washington is growing, and 7-Eleven follows people. And Washingtonians like the food at 7-Eleven. Washington is the No.1 market in the country for the convenience-store chain when it comes to hot foods, officials at the Dallas-based, company said recently. And the more locals who dine at 7-Eleven--on nachos, taquitos and chicken wings--the more 7-Eleven gobbles up available storefronts.

Among the top sellers: pizza (both whole and sliced), chicken wings, mini tacos, sandwiches and the chain's trademarked Big Bite hot dogs, said the report. Other grab-and-go foods like bakery items (mostly doughnuts and muffins) along with soft drinks and coffee are also bigger sellers in Washington compared with other urban areas.

The top-selling market worldwide for Slurpee, however, is Winnipeg, Canada, while the top U.S. market for the frozen drink is Detroit. The top U.S. market for coffee is Long Island.

Company officials said the hot food sales are an indicator of large number of singles, young people and people who are busy and don't always have time to cook. The chain has 433 stores open or under construction in the area, including 45 in D.C. proper, and it added 16 in the area last year alone.

As people keep ordering those mini tacos and hot dogs, "we'll continue to be on that pace of about 15 to 20 stores for the next three to five years," 7-Eleven spokesperson Margaret Chabris told the newspaper.

Many of the new stores are in areas where new apartment buildings are going up and thousands of new residents have moved in recent years, the report said.

At local stores, signs outside promote Big Bite hot dogs or "melt" sandwiches, in varieties including Italian and chicken bacon ranch. ​​A number of local stores also reserved their most valuable display space--on the counter right beside a register--for their hot foods display.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses nearly 10,500 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 55,100 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2013, 7-Eleven stores generated total worldwide sales close to $84.5 billion.

Click here to view the full Post report.

Part of CSP's 2015 Convenience Top 101 retailers