Foodservice

Slurpee Goes to the Movies

7-Eleven partners with Cinemark; also will hand out 5 million Slurpees on July 11 for 84th birthday
DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc. and Cinemark USA Inc. are partnering to bring Slurpee drinks to the movies, offering the convenience retailer's frozen beverage at 32 select Cinemark theatres in Dallas, Houston and Portland. 7-Eleven has stores in Dallas and Portland; it does not have locations in Houston. This marks the first time Slurpee beverages have been sold at outlets other than a 7-Eleven store with the exception of a test at a Dallas sports arena.

Starting this week, moviegoers at participating Cinemark theatres can pour themselves a Slurpee before taking their seats for [image-nocss] the show. The move by the two Dallas-based companies brings Slurpee drinks to the movie-viewing public. Cinemark theatres will have three Slurpee flavors provided by Coca-Cola in both crew-serve and self-serve settings.

Slurpee consumers can now participate in the Slurpee Rewards program when they buy the drink at either 7-Eleven stores or Cinemark and get points for buying a Slurpee, which they can redeem for special rewards on Slurpee.com, including movie passes from Cinemark.

For years, 7-Eleven has brought the movies, particularly major summer releases, into its stores via Slurpee and Big Gulp cups, movie action-figure straws, exclusive products and special offers and displays.

"Our research and past promotional successes show that movie fans love Slurpees, and Slurpee fans love movies," said Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven senior vice president of merchandising, logistics and marketing. "Our partnership with Cinemark gives us the opportunity to reach even more Slurpee fans by bringing the drink to them. The only thing better than watching the latest hit movie especially for Slurpee-lovers is watching it while sipping on a Slurpee drink."

Bob Shimmin, Cinemark's vice president of food and beverage, said, "At Cinemark, our main focus is to create the best moviegoing environment possible for our customers. We believe that offering the finest food and beverage options actually enhances the entertainment experience. By teaming up with 7-Eleven on this initiative, our customers can enjoy ice-cold Slurpee drinks while watching the hottest blockbuster movies in select Cinemark theatres this summer."

Delgado-Jenkins said he thinks the new venue will attract new customers to visit 7-Eleven stores. Offering Slurpee drinks in an area without 7-Eleven stores provides a taste of the retailer to people who would not be able to enjoy the drink otherwise.

Cinemark is a leading domestic and international motion picture exhibitor, operating 431 theatres with 4,941 screens in 39 U.S. states, Brazil, Mexico and 11 other Latin American countries

In other Slurpee news, to toast 84 years of offering convenience, participating 7-Eleven stores across the United States and Canada will serve up five million free 7.11-ounce Slurpees on July 11 while supplies last.

"Slurpee-brations" and 7-Eleven birthday parties will be held at select stores with music, entertainment, prizes and food sampling, and Slurpee-mobiles will provide free samples at select 7-Eleven stores across the country.

"7-Eleven Day and giving away free Slurpee beverages is our way of thanking customers for their patronage throughout the year and showing appreciation for their support," said Delgado-Jenkins. "Five million is the most Slurpee drinks we've ever given away in a day; just two years ago, we handed out three million."

He added, "We've been serving free Slurpees on July 11 since our 75th birthday in 2002, and it continues to be a hit with customers. People start asking about it in the Spring. Even without the five million free Slurpee drinks, July is the biggest month of the year for Slurpee sales."

July 11 marks the day that the world's No. 1 convenience retailer observes its birthday and other company milestones. 7-Eleven, considered the world's first convenience store, began its run in 1927 when a Southland Ice Co. employee started selling bread, milk and eggs on an ice dock in a Dallas suburb.

Also this summer, the retailer is again running Operation Chill, as the popular community program. To foster friendly relationships with local law enforcement and encourage good behavior, 7-Eleven is giving one million coupons for free Slurpees to police officers to "ticket" kids they "catch" doing something good. It has been a summer mainstay of 7-Eleven stores since 1975.

"Operation Chill has always been one of our most popular community projects," said Mark Stinde, 7-Eleven's senior asset protection director. "Kids love it because they love Slurpee drinks. Police officers love it because it gives them a reason to approach youngsters in a non-authoritative role and build positive relationships."

According to Stinde, police departments begin contacting 7-Eleven earlier each year to sign up for the annual program. Already participating in this year's program are law enforcement agencies from the greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Orlando, Tampa, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas areas.

7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 8,600 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 41,400 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $63 billion.

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