San Antonio / CA. (ncasef) Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, 7-Eleven franchisees are largely displeased with the financial and operational support they have received from the company, according to a survey of National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisee (NCASEF) members conducted in July and August. NCASEF is an elected, independent body representing the interests of more than 7,200 7-Eleven franchised locations in the U.S.
On the question, «How would you rate 7-Eleven’s financial support through the ongoing pandemic?» more than 83 percent answered «fair,» or «poor.» Less than 17 percent rated the support «good,» «very good,» or «excellent.»
On the question, «How would you rate 7-Eleven’s operational support through the ongoing pandemic?» less than 18 percent answered «excellent,» «very good,» or «good.» Over 82 percent answered either «fair,» or «poor.»
«Since the pandemic began, 7-Eleven has taken an even more authoritarian, top-down approach to dealing with its franchisees and with this democratically elected body,» said NCASEF Chairman Jay Singh. «We have repeatedly asked for more open dialogue to address the needs of the franchisee community, but we have been ignored.»
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, 7-Eleven has force-shipped items to franchised stores that operators didn’t want or need. The National Coalition survey asked, «As a result of forced distribution of COVID-19 essentials, have you received items you don’t need/can’t sell?» Ninety-one percent said yes. Three out of four said the «essential» products they had received during forced distribution were not up to brand standards.
«7-Eleven likes to tell people they are inclusive because they communicate to their hand-picked group of store operators. But 7-Eleven is not really listening to its franchisees,» said Singh. «When you look at how our members answered the survey questions, it clearly shows a disconnect between what they are talking about at the Dallas headquarters, and what is really happening at the store level. This is especially disappointing because franchisees and their employees have been front-line workers, risking their health and safety to support their stores and brand. This sacrifice has been unrecognized.»
One of the terms of SEI’s 2019 franchise agreement shifts to franchisees the cost of insurance for everything except fire and casualty loss to the store building and the equipment, neither of which franchisees own. At the time, NCASEF estimated the cost to franchisees would be approximately USD 230 per month. That was before coronavirus and a summer of urban unrest.
«The timing couldn’t have been worse for franchises, many of whom have been operating on the slimmest of margins because of the pandemic and the violence that has erupted in urban areas across the country. One-third of 7-Eleven franchisees responding to our survey said their stores had been affected by looting, rioting and/or forced closures stemming from unrest,» Singh said, adding, «We anticipate a steep increase in insurance costs next year because of the events of 2020. That will be like a one-two punch to our franchisees.»