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Cracks Showing in 7-Eleven Franchisee Stance

Several association leaders ask NCASEF to pull back on rhetoric and actions
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CHICAGO -- A day after the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) announced a “no confidence” vote in 7-Eleven Inc., several leaders of the coalition’s member groups have asked the alliance to ease off its rhetoric and actions.

On Nov. 19, as previously reported in CSP Daily News, the coalition announced its board had taken a vote of "no confidence" in the management of 7-Eleven Inc. (SEI) and urged its members to boycott 7-Eleven Inc.’s 2019 7-Eleven Experience (SEE) trade show. The NCASEF’s press release said the action was taken based on agreement by “an overwhelming majority of NCASEF’s board of directors.”

A day later, a letter addressed to the chairman and executive officers of NCASEF “expressed concerns” regarding the actions. The letter is signed by 24 Franchise Owners’ Association leaders representing about one-quarter of the coalition's 39 associations.

“We would like to fully understand the executive team’s stance on these items and express our concerns about the direction these actions may take the coalition in the future if acted upon,” the letter states. “Additionally, if the intent is to act on both of these items by not attending the SEE and sending the letter to SEI, we wholeheartedly reject this and would ask that you reconsider.”

The NCASEF action comes on the heels of a tense disagreement over a pending new agreement between 7-Eleven Inc. and its franchisees, as well as recent reports about the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s recent crackdown on hiring practices for undocumented workers.

“We are at an absolute low point in the history of 7-Eleven in the United States,” said Jay Singh, NCASEF chairman, in a statement.

The retailers who signed the latest letter, however, said they’d like to see relations smoothed rather than bulldozed.

“[The] National Coalition has been cut off from conversations with SEI, and franchisees feel they have no recourse to have the coalition step in on their behalf with SEI,” they said. “We are forced to handle these issues locally utilizing the contacts we have retained. We need to get back to the table and start worrying about eroding customer counts and franchisee income and goodwill.”

In its response to the vote of “no confidence,” 7-Eleven Inc. said its annual trade show is intended to do exactly the things these franchise leaders hope to achieve.

“Franchisees tell us that the 7-Eleven Experience helps them grow their businesses. That’s why we invest millions of dollars each year to host the event. Last year, more than 280 vendors offered franchisees more than 850 preordering opportunities,” the company said. "We continually work hard to make resources available to franchisees to help them increase their gross profits. We know that we succeed when franchisees succeed, and the 7-Eleven Experience is all about celebrating that relationship."

With more than 9,000 U.S. convenience stores, Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. ranked No. 1 on CSP's2018 Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the country.

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