Will 7-Eleven’s beer and wine on tap be a c-store game changer?
7-Eleven stores in Canada are applying for liquor licenses to serve beer and wine to customers inside their locations. The convenience store is seeking approval to serve the alcoholic beverages at 61 locations in the province of Ontario, including 14 in Toronto.
In a statement issued to the CBC, 7-Eleven Canada said the addition of on-premises alcohol would serve as a “complement” to the chain’s fresh and hot food offerings. “We are preparing for in-store service of a small selection of Ontario-made beer and wine products, offered during limited hours, and in designated consumption areas of our stores.”
The chain said that all associates working in the program would go through a training program certified by Ontario authorities covering the responsible distribution of alcoholic beverages.
The timing of 7-Eleven’s request for liquor licenses may seem unusual to some as Canada continues to deal with trying to get the spread of the novel coronavirus under control. It’s also not clear from the reporting if the addition of taps are tweaks of the existing store format or the creation of new concept locations altogether.
The convenience store chain introduced and began rolling out its new Evolution concept in the U.S. last year. Some of these locations, as proposed in Canada, included an area selling beer and wine on tap. The areas, branded as “The Cellar”, were just one of several new features at these locations.
Other Evolution elements included a Laredos Taco Company restaurant in-store (a brand acquired from Sunoco). The stores also featured made-to-order specialty drinks, novelty beverages, a cold snack bar, touch-screen brewed self-serve coffee, electronics for sale via kiosk, fresh baked goods and on-the-go beauty products.
- Why 7-Eleven’s plan to serve alcohol in Ontario sparks concern — and curiosity — in business community – CBC.ca
- 7-Eleven Canada preparing to serve beer and wine inside several Ontario stores – CBC.ca
- 7-Eleven’s new store concept is an ‘Evolution’ in convenience – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Could having alcoholic beverages on tap be a major customer traffic driver for 7-Eleven? Do you see this as a strategy that other convenience store operators will follow?