The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) is urging 7-Eleven to revise the 2019 Franchise Agreement it is pressuring store owners to sign. According to the coalition, the proposed agreement, which approximately 19 percent must sign by next March and the majority within the following five years, would not only reduce franchisee net income, it would also increase store-level operating costs and force owners to stay open on Christmas Day.
“Forcing stores to be open on Christmas is just another example of the lack of respect this company has for its franchisees,” said Jay Singh, NCASEF chairman.
On Aug. 8, the coalition sent a letter to CEO Joe DePinto formally requesting all deadlines to sign the agreement by Dec. 31 be removed, and for terms be revised to create “a more favorable outcome for all parties.”
NCASEF notes that tensions have been mounting between 7-Eleven and its store owners for years, and CEO Joe DePinto, who took over in 2005, has cut off communication with the independent, franchisee-run association. DePinto’s predecessor, Jim Keyes, recently addressed franchisees at the coalition’s national convention in Orlando to remind them how—even during tough times—he found value in direct engagement with the franchisee community.
“I learned so much from those franchisees in those few days we were together,” said Keyes. “I learned that it wasn’t personal. We had to find a way to make money at each individual store because the company was only going to be as successful as the success of each individual franchisee,” said Keyes, who also reminded the audience of the words inscribed on the wall at 7-Eleven’s company headquarters in Japan: “Respect your stakeholders. Respect your customers. Respect your franchisees.”
NCASEF has highlighted 45 areas of concern in the agreement, which it says would have negative impact on franchisee profitability, independent contractor status and legal recourse in the event an owner makes a claim against the company.
“We urge DePinto to order his executive team to meet in good faith with franchisees with the goal of making changes to this agreement and demonstrating their respect for the hard-working men and women who represent this brand,” said Singh.
Originally founded in 1973, NCASEF is comprised of 44 franchise association members who represent more than 4,600 7-Eleven owners in the U.S.