7-11, America’s leading convenience store franchise, announced a serious overhaul of its corporate network.
- The Dallas-based franchise will be consolidating much of its corporate set-up in an effort to cut costs and streamline its franchisor network. It’s unclear exactly how this change will trickle down to affect franchisees, but it could be a sign of things to come across the convenience store franchise industry. According to CSPnet, some of the changes on their way include:
- Shutting down all eight regional divisions, replacing them with 14 geographic zones to be fielded mostly by home offices.
- Overhauling its merchandising and marketing command structure
- Eliminating as well a number of positions at corporate headquarters
- Establishing a new zone merchandiser role and customer segments merchandisers within the company's corporate merchandise team.
- Standardizing and centralizing merchandising policies.
The purpose of all of these decisions seems to be to make the corporate end of the franchise system smaller and more efficient. Interestingly, the CSPnet story quotes one franchisee who’s nervous about the move.
“As a franchise leader, anytime a company consolidates you get nervous, because you feel you're going to lose some service. My concerns are like who will be helping me resolve my problems with a supplier or a vendor. A big position is merchandising and support. Now, they want all the merchandising to be done in Dallas, and they want to make sure there's only one message to get out--and that's from corporate headquarters," said Tariq Khan, a franchisee in Long Island.
7-11 is such a huge franchise organization that the need for corporate efficiency seems inevitable. It will be interesting to see if other franchises in the industry follow suit. For the time being, hopefully franchisees will maintain the same level of business efficiency.