IRVING, Texas — In a pilot program, 7-Eleven is giving coffee shops in Long Island, N.Y., a run for their money with its newest innovation: touchscreen custom-brew coffee and beverage machines.
The company recently showcased these innovations at the 2020 7-Eleven Experience, its annual convention and trade show, in Las Vegas.
The new machines, which allow “customers to be their own barista,” brew hot beverages such as lattes, espressos, cappuccinos and Americanos, with the option to add a double espresso shot. Coffee options include dark espresso roast or medium espresso with whole or skim milk. Other options include cold-brew and nitro coffee, iced tea and lemonade.
Bean-to-cup brewers allow customers choose a fresh-brewed cup, hot or iced. Selections include the size of cup and either medium or bold intensity coffee beans.
7-Eleven has also debuted a condiment station alongside the machines, where patrons can customize their beverages with sprinkles, sweeteners and other toppings.
The cup size determines the final price of each beverage.
Coffee customization is essential in today’s convenience-store environment. Eighty-five percent of patrons said they would like c-stores to allow beverage customization, especially for coffee creamers and soft drinks, according to CSP’s sister research firm, Technomic. Beyond that, nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers said having the ability to customize their food would be somewhat or extremely important in prompting them to purchase foodservice items from a c-store. Females are driving this trend, with 68% reporting a desire for customization in c-stores, while 59% of males said the same.
7‑Eleven will continue offering its drip coffees but from new servers that use soft heat to maintain a constant temperature.
“We’re excited to bring these innovative new platforms to our Long Island customers,” said Dave Strachan, innovation implementation leader for 7‑Eleven. “The expanded beverage assortment, baked-in-store cookies and pastries, self-serve grill and hot food platforms give customers what they’re looking for with even more convenience.”
Beyond the beverages, 7-Eleven has also added new self-serve hot-food cases and roller grills in the stores. Also, hot and fresh bakery items such as cookies and croissants are baked in-store throughout the day, allowing the aroma to fill the location.
While the new coffee and fresh-food platforms are available only on Long Island, 7-Eleven plans to expand to other markets this year, with work already begun in Virginia, Florida and California.
7-Eleven also recently rolled out Kenya Single Estate Grown coffee as part of its Seven Reserve sustainable java portfolio. The new flavor is available in participating 7-Eleven stores chainwide while supplies last.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 66,000 stores in 17 countries, including more than 9,300 in the United States. The chain is No. 1 on the Top 40 update to CSP’s 2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets.