7-Eleven Bets On Post-Pandemic Fast-Food Appetite, Plans 150 Quick-Service Restaurants
Convenience store giant 7-Eleven says it will open 150 quick-service restaurants this year attached to its convenience stores. The new restaurants will be patterned after eight Evolution Store locations the company has already opened.
The Evolution Store locations offer standard convenience store fare along with attached QSR brands created by 7-Eleven. It is an old idea employed by some gas stations or truck stop complexes that feature attached restaurants.
The company didn't specify which of its restaurants would go in the 150 new locations it is planning, but its existing sites typically offer one restaurant option. In Washington, D.C., 7-Eleven operates an Evolution Store with a Laredo Taco Co. location, a brand that it owns.
At its newest Evolution Store in Manassas, Virginia, 7-Eleven has opened a Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits restaurant, another of its brands that opened its first location a year ago in Manhattan. The chicken place will be joined at the Manassas store shortly by Parlor Pizza, a pizzeria with made-to-order pizzas. The two on-site restaurants will be located side by side inside the store, with separate ordering counters but shared indoor and outdoor seating, according to 7-Eleven.
"Today's opportunity is in the QSR space, and we are responding by aggressively rolling out our restaurants across the country — both in Evolution Stores and beyond," 7-Eleven Chief Operating Officer Chris Tanco said in a statement.
Among QSRs, the fast-food end of the spectrum did the best during the coronavirus pandemic, as the concepts were able to pivot to drive-thrus and other forms of contactless food offerings.
For the 12 months ending in March, fast-food chains took in 70.2% of dollars spent eating out, according to data from The NPD Group, as reported by Reuters. Fast-food restaurants represented 82.9% of all restaurant traffic last year.
During the year ending in March, U.S. consumers spent nearly $281.6B on fast food, representing a gain of 7.1% in market share. For the most part, they took that business from the full-service restaurant sector, NPD reported.
Irving, Texas-based 7‑Eleven operates and licenses more than 73,000 stores in 17 countries, including 12,000 in North America. Though its foray into QSRs is relatively new, the chain has long offered certain kinds of food, such as sandwiches, side dishes, cut fruit, pizza, mini beef tacos and Slurpees, going as far as trademarking the word "brainfreeze."