IRVING, Texas — Convenience store giant 7-Eleven Inc. has been named the country’s top franchisor in Entrepreneur magazine’s 38th annual Franchise ranking.
The Irving-based c-store retailer has nearly 7,000 franchised and licensed stores among its U.S.-leading total of more than 8,000 stores.
7-Eleven achieved the No. 1 spot for the first time in nearly decade for implementing key tactics, including its retailer initiative program and co-prosperity model, according to the magazine.
"As a franchisor, being recognized as the No. 1 business opportunity by Entrepreneur magazine is a tremendous honor," said 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. "In turn, we recognize that our franchise owners are the key to this iconic brand's success and share this award with them. Together, we have created a winning franchise system and work every day to provide new opportunities to entrepreneurs."
The key factors that go into Entrepreneur’s evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. All franchises are given a cumulative score based on more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order.
"Entrepreneurs in every industry must constantly improve and adapt, and our Franchise 500 list is full of success stories," said Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief, Entrepreneur. "No matter what their concept is, these companies — from booming newcomers to established industry dominators — tell us a lot about what it takes to keep up with current trends in the business world."
7-Eleven created the c-store concept 90 years ago when a Dallas ice dock operator decided to offer milk, eggs, and bread in response to his customers' needs. The company's first expansion outside of Texas was in Florida. The retailer entered the franchising arena in 1964 with the acquisition of Speedee Mart, a chain of franchised c-stores in California.
Today, 7-Eleven is the largest c-store chain in the world. It operates, franchises or licenses more than 61,000 stores in 18 countries. Nearly 11,000 of those are in North America, with plans to increase its U.S. presence significantly in the coming years, the company stated. Currently, 90 percent of 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. are franchised.
According to 7-Eleven, its growth strategy attracts a high-quality, diverse mix of individuals to franchise new and existing stores, and encourages current franchisees to acquire additional stores. The convenience retailer features franchising programs for military veterans along with opportunities for independent c-store owners to convert and operate their stores under the 7-Eleven brand.
"We have aggressive growth goals," DePinto said. "This is an exciting time for entrepreneurial business owners to join an iconic brand and franchise network."
To streamline the franchising process, 7-Eleven has developed an online application, and franchise candidates can be approved and trained to operate their stores in as little as three to six months. Candidates can visit http://franchise.7-eleven.com to apply.
"7-Eleven is always looking for new franchisees to serve their communities, including diverse candidates and retired veterans looking for a second career," said Larry Hughes, 7-Eleven vice president of Franchise Systems. "As we have expanded our fresh and hot food program, entrepreneurs with restaurant and foodservice experience have begun to seek us out.
"We welcome enthusiastic entrepreneurs who meet our qualifications to see for themselves why 7-Eleven is the best franchise opportunity," he added.
7-Eleven was followed in rankings by McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and The UPS Store in second, third and fourth place, respectively.
Click here to view the full Entrepreneur franchise ranking.