SAN FRANCISCO -- Veteran 7-Eleven franchisee Joe Galea sees his new role as a continuation of the work he's been doing all along.
"My whole tenure as president [of the San Francisco Monterey Bay 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association] has always been about enhancing and creating a working relationship with our business partner, which is 7-Eleven," he said. "It's always been my priority."
In an exclusive interview with CSP Daily News, Galea, who becomes chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) Jan. 1, said that his main goal is to offer 7-Eleven franchisees support and to help them build a bond with the corporation.
When asked about the franchisees' relationship with 7-Eleven, Galea said, "It may be a little distant, but it's not the fault of either one of us. Our business model and our goals have changed. The franchise system has changed. We're going into our new business model, with hot foods and fresh foods.
"There's a lot more for franchisees to grasp," he continued. "We need to bridge that relationship to where we understand each other and work together."
Galea sees great promise in 7-Eleven's food offering, saying it lets the brand compete with QSRs such as McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell, at a good price. Anecdotal information he's heard from franchisees already offering hot and fresh foods has been positive, he said, with the new offer bringing "new faces" into the stores.
"When it's rolled out through the country, it'll enhance the 7-Eleven trademark," he said. "The return on investment is there." Galea does not have the program in his Santa Cruz, Calif., store now but believes he will by early next year.
As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash earlier this week, Galea, who previously served as NCASEF executive vice chairman, defeated two-term chairman Bruce Maples for the chairmanship. Galea ran unsuccessfully for chairman two years ago.
As for the legal issues surrounding some franchisees over the past six months, Galea merely said, "I believe it's a matter that's between them and [7-Eleven corporate]."
As for what most excites him about his new role, Galea said, "I've been a franchisee for 40 years. I've had an excellent relationship with the company. What I'm trying to bring is that the 7-Eleven trademark is a great thing, and I want everyone to be able to enjoy the system as I have for my 40-plus years."