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DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. hosted approximately 2,600 of its operations and merchandising employees, franchisees and licensees yesterday at its University of 7-Eleven event at the Dallas Convention Center, the Dallas Business Journal reported. The event runs through tomorrow.
"It's taking a look at where we are headed and going in the future," 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto told the news outlet.
The event gives attendees the chance to sample new food products and attend sessions covering various aspects of the company, which hit a growth spurt in 2011.
Lately, the convenience chain’s focus has been on offering fresh foods at its stores. The company recently hired Kelly Buckley as vice president of fresh food innovation, and at the center of this year’s University of 7-Eleven exhibit, the company highlighted its new food options.
7-Eleven's focus on innovation through food and technology is part of a larger objective to align "with the trends of society," said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, the chain’s senior vice president of merchandising, marketing and logistics.
7-Eleven customers may soon see new fresh food products show up in stores, such as beef and chicken empanadas, fresh fruit, beef tacos and salads, according to the report.
While focusing on food is important for 7-Eleven, the company also is on an accelerated growth plan. In recent days, the retailer announced that it would move back into the Charlotte, N.C., market after 24 years by buying 55 Sam’s Mart stores. Senior Vice President of Development Sean Duffy told the newspaper that the number of 7-Eleven stores in that region will eventually reach 100 to 200.
“We had a gap from Virginia to Florida and we have to grow there,” Duffy said.
If yesterday’s event attendance is any indication of the response to 7-Eleven's plans, things are looking up for the chain -- the first day of this year's University of 7-Eleven event was reportedly the most well-attended.