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    7-Eleven Expands Big Eats

    Daily fresh food program available at hundreds of Southern California convenience stores.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. yesterday expanded its proprietary foodservice program to 692 Southern California 7-Eleven stores.

    7-Eleven stores throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County and San Diego are now offering Big Eats Deli sandwiches, fresh-baked Big Eats Bakery goods, dairy products, along with regional favorites such as fresh salads, entrees, sushi, produce and fresh-squeezed juices.

    Big Eats Bakery items and Big Eats Deli sandwiches have become popular with 7-Eleven customers in other parts of the United States already served by the company's proprietary system of daily ordering, food preparation and delivery -- all taking place in less than 24 hours. Stores place their orders to the company by 10 a.m. Orders are filled, prepared and delivered back to the combined distribution center where they are sorted by store, loaded onto dual-temperature trucks, and delivered directly to the stores before 5 a.m.

    "The bakeries, commissary kitchens and distribution centers operate seven days a week, 365 days a year," said David Podeschi, senior vice president, Demand Chain for 7-Eleven, Inc. "Daily delivery means just that -- 7-Eleven stores can place orders and get fresh product every single day of the year."

    An essential component to the success of the 7-Eleven fresh foods program is the company's proprietary retail information system (RIS). The computerized ordering system allows each store to customize its orders to provide the exact items the customers in their neighborhood want. "One store might have a strong market for sushi and fruit salad, while another is a higher sandwich sales store. Who knows better than our store operators what customers in San Diego or Santa Monica buy day to day. The beauty of daily ordering and delivery is that each store can adjust immediately to meet changing consumer tastes and purchase patterns," Podeschi said.

    Fresh food is the newest trend in convenience, according to Des Hague, vice president of fresh foods 7-Eleven. "We've developed fresh portable fast food, food you can grab and go. Chefs work year-round for 7-Eleven to develop an ever-changing menu of high quality foods with lots of flavor and fresh ingredients," he said.

    "This is an important strategic move for us in Southern California," said Cynthia Davis, Southwest division vice president for 7-Eleven, Inc. "Fresh food is one of the key ways 7-Eleven sets itself apart from the competition. We'll have fresh donuts to go with our Cafe Select coffee in the morning, sandwiches to go with our signature Big Gulp and Slurpee beverages, and gourmet quality salads and entrees.

    "Launching daily delivery provides a huge opportunity to change the way people think about convenience stores and what they offer. Our ultimate goal is to make 7-Eleven a fresh food destination, not just an emergency stop."

    With the introduction of fresh foods in Southern California, 7-Eleven now offers fresh-made-daily and fresh-delivered-daily foods at approximately 85 percent of the 7-Eleven stores throughout the United States and Canada. The company operates 5,800 stores in North America.

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