7-Eleven's Hot-Food Bonanza

As pilot program rolls out, pizza sales are surpassing cigarette sales

Abbie Westra, Director, Editorial, CSP

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven's expanded foodservice program has received positive results at the store level—particularly for its in-store prepared pizza, which is now the third-fastest moving SKU in participating stores, according to a report in Supermarket News. The pies are outselling cigarettes and some types of coffee, according to the magazine.

The results were revealed Tuesday by 7-Eleven vice president of fresh foods Dennis Phelps during the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Merchandising, Sales& Marketing Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. Phelps was speaking on "Winning Consumers [image-nocss] in the On the Go Moment."

As CSP Daily News reported in August, 7-Eleven started testing its new hot foods menu—which includes chicken wings and tenders, Jamaican beef patties, cinnamon churros and pepperoni pizza—at 100 outlets. With the success of the pilot program, the company plans to roll out the program in another 600 stores by the end of the year, and another 2,000 stores will be converted by 2010, Phelps told the magazine.

Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven spokesperson, attributed the success of the prepared pizzas, which are 14 inches in diameter and sold by the slice or whole, to a "quality product, good execution by our stores, plus fast and convenient preparation." Other new food items are also doing "quite well and [at] some stores phenomenally well," Chabris told CSP Daily News.

To execute the new program, 7-Eleven installed high-speed TurboChef ovens, which offer rapid cook times with combined radiant heat, microwave and airspeed technology. A whole pizza cooks in 90 seconds, a plate of chicken wings in three minutes and a sandwich is toasted in 45 seconds.

"We know our customers want food that is fast, fresh, portable and available 24 hours a day," Phil Oftedahl, fresh foods manager for 7-Eleven's 1,000-store Chesapeake Division, said earlier this year. "7-Eleven now has a system that can deliver it hot and fresh, day or night."

Abbie Westra, CSP/Winsight By Abbie Westra, Director, Editorial, CSP
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