CHICAGO-- Larger footprints, a wider selection of fresh foods and drinks, and dedicated seating areas for guests to sit and relax. These are some of the common themes we’re seeing from convenience-store retailers overseas as they debut and expand new store concepts and prototypes. Whether they’re doing business in South Korea, South Africa or Singapore, operators appear to be responding in similar fashion to consumers’ evolving needs.
Click through for a quick recap of some of the latest c-store concepts to debut on the international stage …
1. 7-Eleven South Korea
Opened in Seoul’s Namdaemun Market in November, this latest new concept store from 7-Eleven South Korea is designed not as a typical get-in-and-get-out c-store, but a place where guests can do their convenience shopping and then take a seat and relax for a while.
Dubbed Seven Cafe, the new shop has two floors. The first featuring all of the chain’s traditional retail, food and beverage items, with an added emphasis on coffee available in a designated Cafe Zone. On the second floor, guests will find a cafe-style atmosphere intended to be a space where they can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy their food and drinks.
Design elements of the cafe space include exposed concrete, brick walls, wood tile floors and ceiling lighting that incorporates 7-Eleven’s tricolor stripe. Varied seating options include a 23-seat wood communal table, armchairs and sofas, and individual seating areas with adjustable lights for guests who want to read or study.
7-Eleven Korea is operated by Korea Seven Co., a unit of Lotte.
2. FreshStop South Africa
The FreshStop South Africa chain of about 235 units, owned by Fruit & Veg City, recently debuted a flagship store at a Caltex station on the N2 commuter highway in Caledon, in the Western Cape. At roughly 4,300 square feet, the flagship store also marks FreshStop’s largest unit in South Africa to date.
The store is intended to be a showcase of all FreshStop’s foodservice offerings, and features such proprietary food and beverage platforms as Crispy Chicken, Pitstop Cafe, Grill to Go, Angelberry (frozen yogurt), Seattle Coffee and Doughnut Delite. The store emphasizes healthy selections as well, including a Biltong Bar (South African dried meats), Juice Bar, Panini Bar and a "We Love Health" grocery display.
The flagship site also houses the chain’s inaugural FreshStop Diner—a dining area modeled after a contemporary American diner with amenities such as free Wi-Fi and charging stations. It also features an adjoining outdoor kid’s playground and exercise and pet area.
FreshStop views the diner as a new strategic direction for the chain and plans to launch additional units featuring the concept at high fueling locations in the future.
Rounding out the flagship’s offerings are an expanded range of on-the-go medical and health products, as well as household essentials.
3. 7-Eleven Singapore
For 7-Eleven Singapore, the c-store giant unveiled new store plans that call for a larger footprint; new chilled, heat-and-serve meals; and added services and amenities to better serve its guests, reports The Business Times.
Under its latest concept, 7-Eleven Singapore’s new stores will be about 800 square feet—roughly 30% larger than current units—with many featuring seating areas for guests to dine on premises.
Along with the added seating areas, an updated foodservice program will be centered on a new range of fresh-chilled meals delivered to each store daily, replacing the chain’s current line of frozen meals. Some 40 fresh-chilled meals will eventually be available. Current options include braised duck rice, butter chicken biryani and premium Japanese pasta.
Other added and enhanced amenities and services will include contactless payment, ATMs, lifestyle and tech products, pickup lockers and bill-payment kiosks.
7-Eleven Singapore is part of Dairy Farm Group.
4. Cheers/FairPrice Xpress Singapore
The Cheers/FairPrice Express Singapore c-store chains, both part of NTUC FairPrice, are revamping their gas station c-stores to focus more on fresh foods from local brands in an effort to better serve time-pressed consumers who want convenient meal solutions, according to The Straits Times.
Cheers and FairPrice Xpress, which has about 62 units located at Esso gas stations, is teaming with the Common Good Co. to bring in packaged, ready-to-eat dishes from local brands such as The Soup Spoon, PastaMania and Udders (ice cream). Revamped units also will begin carrying a new range of Japanese snacks.
Some of the new prepared meal selections include Sriracha Fish Burger, Creamy Portobello Mushroom Fusilli, Corn Chowder with Cheesy Sausage, Thai Basil Chicken and Chicken Rendang with Biryani Rice.
Cheers parent NTUC FairPrice expects to have the new format established in all gas-station locations within the next two years.