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    7-Eleven Finds Niche in Indonesia

    The c-store chain's franchises have become gathering places for the under-30 crowd, with free Wi-Fi and live bands.

    JAKARTA, Indonesia -- 7-Eleven stores are fast becoming the new hot spots in Indonesia, filling a void in an area with few outdoor recreation spaces and limited mobility.

    In addition to blending convenience store offerings with inexpensive ready-made food and seating, 7-Eleven stores have turned into nighttime gathering spots with live bands and Wi-Fi, according The New York Times.

    The stores have taken over as the spot for young people to gather, hang out and gossip. Ten years ago, the place to be were street-side food stalls called warung; however, rapid economic growth has come with social change, the newspaper added.

    "People still like to talk about their lives, they like to gossip," said Henri Honoris, president director of Modern Putra, 7-Eleven's Indonesian franchisee. "Now we give them an alternative. It's a warung with better quality."

    Sixty-five percent of the franchise's customers are younger than 30, and 7-Eleven has turned to social media to connect with them on a level they are familiar with. In one of the world's most plugged-in countries, 7-Eleven has 57,000 Twitter followers and more than 44,000 Facebook fans, the report added.

    And now that many Indonesians have more disposable income, they are looking for what Honoris calls "affordable luxury."

    Honoris told the newspaper that he saw the demand for a revamped 7-Eleven early on, but that it took two years to persuade the company to grant him the franchise. 7-Eleven opened its first 20 Indonesian stores in 2009, marking its first expansion into a new country in 16 years. It now has 69 stores in Indonesia -- all in Jakarta.

    However, the Dallas-based chain trails its competitors -- like McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts and KFC, which combined have more than 600 locations. 7-Eleven is working to catch up. It added 36 stores last year, the report added.

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