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DALLAS -- Fusion Energy Coffee, one of 7-Eleven's hot coffee beverages made with ingredients found in energy drinks, caused coffee sales at the chain to jump nearly 9 percent in the first half of April, after tests of the product began in February, CNNMoney.com reported.
The drinks are doing so well, plans are in place to make the product a fixture in 7-Eleven stores:
"Fusion Energy Coffee has become so popular -- almost one of every 10 coffee purchases is Fusion Energy -- that we plan to keep it available for stores to continue to offer, rather than being a specialty item that is not available for a long period," spokeswoman Margaret Chabris told CSNews Online. "Fusion is a platform for us -- coffees that have herbal enhancements."
As the flu and cold season approaches, customers can expect to see a Fusion Defense coffee added to the mix at the chain's coffee bars, Chabris explained.
Hot beverages make up 12 percent of the company's profits, according to the report. Fusion Energy, a blend of imported arabica beans and the herbal ingredients found in energy drinks (ginseng, guarana and yerba maté), is a fresh-brewed, to-go coffee available nationally at participating 7-Eleven stores, CSNews Online reported in February.
The Fusion Energy concept was born at a 7-Eleven coffee roasters summit in Vancouver, during which 7-Eleven beverage executives met with its coffee suppliers from the United States and Canada. 7-Eleven coffee category manager Donald Driver asked the experts around the table if it was possible to develop a functional hot beverage. Tested in Canadian 7-Eleven stores last summer with resounding success, Fusion Energy coffee was given the green light to launch nationally in the U.S.
Fusion Energy Coffee retails for the same price as any hot beverage at 7-Eleven.
In other company news, 7-Eleven opened its plan up to the public to convert about 100 of its company operated c-stores in South Florida to franchise operations, the South Florida Business Journal reported.
Stores in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Indian River and St. Lucie counties will be available for franchises, according to the report. Existing 7-Eleven store managers were invited to apply for a franchise before the company made the plan public.
The move allows the company to transfer more decision-making to the stores, according to Sid Brockman, 7-Eleven vice president for Florida operations.
"Franchisees truly have a vested interest in knowing their customers and communities," he said in a statement. "We believe they are in the best position to understand and respond to their local retail needs, which, in turn, builds customer loyalty and sales."
While 7-Eleven provides the land, building, equipment and a turnkey operation, the franchisees need on average an upfront, total investment of about $180,000. However, that number can vary by location and the store's sales history, the report stated.
Approximately 3,650 of 7-Eleven's nearly 5,400 U.S. stores are now franchised.