You cannot discuss modern society without mentioning convenience stores, which in turn leads to an easy reference to 7-Eleven. A pioneer in convenience retailing, 7-Eleven has slowly evolved from a small community store selling ice in Dallas, Texas to a network of over 45,000 outlets scattered in 16 countries, offering a wide range of products 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As early as 1982, entrepreneurs Jose T. Pardo, Francisco R. Sibal and then- Senator Vicente T. Paterno saw the potential of this new business concept, and almost immediately brought it to the Philippines. Under Philippine Seven Corp. (PSC), which they started with P3 million in capital, the trio was able to achieve the profitability and customer value promised by the mother company. It took them almost two decades, however, before the brand was finally opened to franchising.
In a span of over 30 years, PSC was able to expand to over 700 stores and has been successful in pushing 7-Eleven as one of the top-of-the mind brands to franchise in the country. “In the Philippines where there are plenty of aspiring entrepreneurs looking for good investments, 7-Eleven becomes a primary choice due to our attractive franchise system that minimizes risk, encourages communication and provides an exceptional level of support,” says PSC president Jose Victor Paterno.
And this is not without basis: For the past two decades, 7-Eleven United States has stayed in the top 10 of Entrepreneur US’s Franchise 500 list. In 2008, it bagged the top spot for the first time. Needless to say, may it be in the US or other parts of the world, 7-Eleven has built a strongly trusted brand among varying cultures, geographical locations, and customer preferences.
Making daily life easier
Paterno acknowledges that a crucial part of the success of 7-Eleven in the Philippines is its network of over 400 franchisees, which has helped PSC achieve its mission to “make daily life easier by providing modern convenience.”
“We see our franchise operators as extensions of our goals to provide convenience, quality products and services, pleasant shopping environments and customer satisfaction,” says the PSC chief of their franchisees—around 15% of which own two or more stores.
This network built over the years consists of entrepreneurs from all walks of life, yet shares with 7-Eleven its company values and a level of business sense demanded from world-class franchise operators.
In the Philippines where there are “plenty of aspiring entrepreneurs looking for good investments,” Paterno says 7-Eleven becomes a primary choice “due to our attractive franchise system that minimizes risk, encourages communication and provides an exceptional level of support.”
“This evident commitment to our franchise operators has helped us build a trusted and mutually beneficial relationship, essential to any successful business,” he adds. This, along with 7-Eleven’s strong brand presence and international track record, “firmly establishes our franchise system’s credibility and appeal to potential investors.”
Top franchisee traits
What is a model 7-Eleven franchisee? According to Paterno, the franchisee “must be an ambitious, creative, entrepreneurial person, who is ready to put in hard work and time to oversee day-to- day store operations.”
“We require our franchisees to attend our comprehensive franchise-training program that covers customer service, store operations, store management, and in-store training,” he explains. “They must be willing to comply with the 7-Eleven System, which has proved profitable through the years.” To ensure that franchisees meet its standards, 7-Eleven requires them to undergo its standard application procedures.
All interested applicants are fully briefed about its franchise packages, and are offered possible store locations for their perusal. Applicants are also asked to prepare their business plans for their future business operations, and then undergo a series of interviews before being approved as certified franchise operators.
“We further ensure the quality of our franchisees by providing them with comprehensive training to give them what they need to thrive in the competitive and challenging industry,” Paterno adds. “Upon store turnover, we provide on-going support and services to uphold the quality and efficiency of their day-to-day operations.”
PSC has also focused its expansion strategy to cater to different potential franchisees. Paterno says: “In the past years, we have developed customized packages for our existing corporate managers, for existing franchisees who would want to attain new stores, and a discounted package for OFWs who would be interested in starting their own business.”
Untapped districts in Metro Manila and Luzon, plus key cities and towns in Visayas and Mindanao—following their expansion efforts in Cebu in the past—are still on the list of target areas for 7-Eleven’s expansion.
“Being the current leading retailer in convenience, we see ourselves continually serving the market and providing easier choices to our customers all around the country,” Paterno says. “One of our goals is to increase the ratio of our franchised stores, resulting in better performance.” To help it reach that end, Paterno says Philippine Seven “consistently conducts market development planning” to map out strategic locations and clusters to cater to.
“Our extensive review and evaluation of potential sites increases store performance and quality,” he adds. “We are also keeping our sights open to better opportunities in terms of partnerships, and formulating new franchise offerings to cater to the growing number of aspiring entrepreneurs.”