7-Eleven Franchisees React to Franchisor Silent Treatment, Skip Convention

7-ElevenAs Vice Chairman Rehan Hashmi of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) tells it, Irving, Texas-based franchisor 7-Eleven Inc. (SEI) cut off its regular channels of communication after franchisees in California filed a federal lawsuit against SEI last month.

SEI's parent company, Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Tokyo.

The communication cut-off by SEI led the presidents of all 43 of 7-Eleven’s Franchise Owners Associations (FOAs), which represent more than 4,700 7-Eleven owners and nearly 7,000 franchised locations in the U.S., to protest by voting unanimously to skip the franchisor’s annual convention and trade show.

The vote took place during a recent board meeting of the NCASEF, an independent franchisee organization originally founded in 1973.

Explaining the vote, Hashmi said, “The relationship between SEI and its franchisees is no longer evenhanded and that is hurting our members and their livelihood.”

The huge SEI convention and trade show, called the 7-Eleven Experience, reportedly delivers millions to the company’s bottom line by putting hundreds of vendors in front of its franchisee community. The franchisor says that the 7-Eleven Experience is a “chance to recognize and celebrate our franchisees.”

But Coalition VP Hashimi said that “If SEI truly wants to recognize and celebrate its franchisees as the marketers of the 7-Eleven Experience claim, it shouldn’t cut off communications. Franchise owners have invested their lives in this brand and we want to prosper, but we can’t if our relationship with SEI remains one-sided.”

He expounded, “Our FOA representatives spoke loud and clear and the Coalition listened. They voted to urge members stay away from the 7-Eleven Experience and now the Coalition wants to deliver that message to all.”

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