7-Eleven in Coffee Program Revamp

Oct 08, 2003

By George Anderson

Competition is fierce and 7-Eleven management intends to stay number one in the US convenience store industry by, among other things, revamping its coffee program.

The chain announced earlier this week it was going upscale with store redesigns, including hot beverage stations selling gourmet coffee and teas.

According to a Forbes’ report, 7-Eleven’s hot beverage stations will offer consumers a minimum choice “of five varieties of coffee, four flavored syrups, seven different
tea bags, five toppings, creamers, sweeteners and all types of milk.”

The stations will be self-serve and priced well below gourmet coffee house rates at about a dollar a cup.

7-Eleven has its skeptics. Alex Fisenko, an independent coffee consultant with Espresso Business told Forbes, “This isn’t going to work.”

Mr. Fisenko believes the gourmet coffee business is more than just getting a cup of Joe to go. “Coffee is the admission price to do something else: read, meet a friend, do business,

Mark Husson, an analyst with Merrill Lynch has to believe that almost any change will be an improvement for the chain. He told Forbes, “Their coffee program hasn’t gone
anywhere in years. Look at the menu at Starbucks. 7-Eleven offers customers a choice between regular and decaf. They need coffee credibility.”

Moderator’s Comment: What will it take for 7-Eleven’s new gourmet coffee program to be successful?

Other convenience stores such as Wawa and Quick Chek have done a solid job in self-serve coffee and there’s no reason to doubt 7-Eleven will also. The question
with 7-Eleven because of its large franchise store base is whether the consistency of the program will hold up across the units.
Anderson – Moderator

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