IRVING, Texas — 7-Eleven Inc. has opened two more convenience stores featuring its Evolution concept following the successful opening of a beta store in Dallas last March.
The Evolution stores serve as real-time experiential testing grounds where customers can try the retailer's latest innovations. Both stores include a Laredo Taco Company restaurant. 7-Eleven acquired the Laredo Taco Company Mexican foodservice brand along with the Stripes c-stores in south Texas as part of a 1,000-store acquisition from Sunoco in 2018.
The latest locations are in Washington, D.C., and San Diego. The Washington, D.C., store opened Feb. 21. The San Diego store will open in the coming months, the company said. 7-Eleven plans to open additional Evolution stores across the country in 2020.
"7-Eleven's mission is to give convenience customers what they want, when and where they want it," said 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. "Our Evolution stores bring outstanding innovation to life through new food and beverage platforms as well as through digital experiences."
The first Evolution store “exceeded … expectations, with enthusiastic reviews, crowds of customers and sales that continue to climb,” 7-Eleven said. The company refines new concepts that resonate with consumers before incorporating then into the next generation of current and new store standards, it said.
"These new stores are invaluable learning labs, where new concepts are tailored to meet the needs of the communities they will serve, from sunny southern California to the fast-paced world of the East Coast," said Chris Tanco, 7-Eleven executive vice president and chief operating officer. "We will continue to evolve based on customer feedback, and we look forward to creating the next generation of convenience together."
In addition to Laredo Taco Company, the 7-Eleven Evolution stores offer an assortment of exclusive products, services and features customized to the neighborhoods and their customers:
- Laredo Taco Company serves authentic tacos on handmade flour tortillas, made from scratch in stores every day, and it features a fresh salsa bar with a wide selection of salsas and pico de gallo. Tacos and meals include specialties not always seen in quick-service Mexican restaurants, such as barbacoa, chorizo, carne asada, carnitas and breakfast tacos.
- Made-to-order specialty drinks give customers the option to customize their drinks in a full-service beverage format, including custom hot coffee drinks such as flavored lattes and mochas, as well as custom cold drinks such as smoothies, aguas frescas and cold-brew coffee.
- Self-serve specialty coffee drinks come from touchscreen machines, including hot drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, espresso shots and more in seconds.
- Novelty beverages on tap include cold beverages such as tea, cold brew, kombucha, nitro cold brew, flavored drinks and more.
- Cold treats bar with multiple frozen yogurt and ice cream can be swirled to create new flavors with multiple toppings.
- Cookies, croissants and pastries are baked fresh in store daily.
- National brand electronics such as tablets and Bluetooth headphones are for sale from a secure, self-serve kiosk.
- On-the-go health and beauty items are available, such as expanded skin care, makeup and other products.
- The Cellar, an alcove dedicated to an expanded selection of wines and craft beers, also has a nearby growler station that features a rotating selection of local craft beer, cider and ales on tap. (The Washington, D.C., store does not include The Cellar.)
The stores also feature mobile checkout, allowing customers to skip the checkout and pay for their purchases through the 7-Eleven app and 7Rewards loyalty program. They also offer delivery through the 7Now delivery app.
7-Eleven is also testing a cashierless c-store in its Irving, Texas, headquarters that is open only to employees.
7‑Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 70,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America, with more than 9,300 U.S. locations. 7-Eleven is No. 1 on theTop 40 update to CSP’s2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets. CSP will release the complete 2020 list in June.