Tacos, lattés, kombucha, and makeup: 7-Eleven expands ‘Evolution Store’ concept to new locales

February 27, 2020

Most people don’t associate 7-Eleven with much more than Slurpees, snacks, lottery tickets, and travel accessories—as well as the added convenience of around-the-clock shopping service. But now the Dallas-based chain, founded in 1927, is offering some of today’s trendiest menu items and cosmetics in a new store concept that is being tested at several locations nationwide.

Indeed, 7-Eleven, Inc. is scaling up its Evolution Store concept following the successful opening of its beta store in Dallas last March. These Evolution Stores serve as real-time experiential testing grounds where customers can try the retailer’s latest innovations.

Both stores include a Laredo Taco Company restaurant, a brand that 7-Eleven acquired from Sunoco in 2018. The eatery is famous for its authentic tacos—served on handmade flour tortillas that are made from scratch in stores every day—and fresh salsa bar, with a wide selection of salsas and pico de gallo.  Tacos and meals include specialties not always seen in quick-serve Mexican restaurants, such as authentic barbacoa, chorizo, carne asada, carnitas, and breakfast tacos made with fresh-cracked eggs.

“7-Eleven’s mission is to give convenience customers what they want, when and where they want it,” said 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto in an official company statement. “Our evolution stores bring outstanding innovation to life through new food and beverage platforms as well as through digital experiences.”

The first Evolution Store exceeded the retailer’s expectations with enthusiastic reviews, crowds of customers, and sales that continue to climb. Concepts that resonate with consumers are refined before being incorporated into the next generation of current and new store standards.

“These new stores are invaluable learning labs, where new concepts are tailored to meet the needs of the communities they will serve from sunny southern California to the fast-paced world of the East Coast,” said 7-Eleven EVP and COO Chris Tanco. “We will continue to evolve based on customer feedback and we look forward to creating the next generation of convenience together.”

In addition to Laredo Taco Company, the 7-Eleven Evolution Stores will offer an assortment of exclusive products, services, and featurescustomized to the neighborhoods and customers they serve—among them:

  • Made-to-order specialty drinks that give customers the option to customize their drinks in a full-service beverage format including custom hot coffee drinks like flavored lattés, mochas and more; as well as custom cold drinks like smoothies, agua frescas, and cold brew coffee.
  • Self-serve specialty coffee drinks with the addition of touch-screen machines that brew custom hot coffee drinks like lattés, cappuccinos, espresso shots, and more in just seconds.
  • Novelty beverages on tap that dispense cold beverages, such as tea, cold brew, kombucha, nitro cold brew, flavored drinks, and more.
  • A cold treats bar with multiple frozen yogurt and ice cream flavors that can be swirled together with multiple toppings.
  • Cookies, croissants, and pastries baked fresh in-store daily.
  • A mobile checkout at which customers can pay for their purchases via the 7-Eleven app and accompanying 7Rewards loyalty program.
  • 7NOW Delivery App, which is 7-Eleven’s on-demand delivery app , enabling items like fresh food, beverages, snacks, groceries, and household products delivered straight to the customer’s door.
  • National-brand electronics, such as tablets and Bluetooth headphones—available for sale from a secure, self-serve kiosk.
  • On-the-go beauty with expanded skin care, makeup; and other health and beauty items.
  • “The Cellar,” an alcove dedicated to an expanded selection of wines and craft beers, with a nearby growler station that features a rotating selection of local craft beer, cider and ales on tap (except in Washington, D.C.).

The Washington D.C. store is now open at 504 K St., and the San Diego store at 3504 El Cajon Blvd. will open in the coming months. 7-Eleven plans to continue to expand Evolution Stores nationwide during 2020.

Research contact: @7eleven

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