SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--This week, as 7-Eleven, Inc. (SEI) celebrates at its annual trade show in Las Vegas, many of the system’s franchise owners are struggling to make sense of a financial picture that has them working more, taking home less, and fighting for recognition as independent contractors—a term specified in their franchise agreements.
SEI says its trade show is a “chance to recognize and celebrate our franchisees,” but this year, franchisee leaders made the difficult decision to stay home. The presidents of all 44 Franchise Owners Associations (FOAs) voted unanimously to skip the trade show. FOAs represent the interests of nearly 7,000 franchised locations. These presidents comprise the leadership of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), an independent organization which speaks for the individual franchisee associations.
“Our FOA representatives spoke and the Coalition listened, voting to urge members stay away from the 7-Eleven Experience,” says Michael Jorgensen, Executive Vice Chairman of the National Coalition. “The relationship between SEI and its franchisees is no longer evenhanded and that is hurting the livelihood of those we represent.”
The numbers tell the story of a relationship tilted against the franchisees. SEI is spending millions to celebrate while claiming franchisee income is up. Yet, income is now being distributed across an increasing number of franchisees. 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto talks about “co-prosperity,” where franchisees prosper and everybody wins, yet SEI has unveiled the makings of a new franchise agreement that imposes an even more regressive royalty, penalizing franchisees for increasing sales.
Byron Bennett, a franchisee of 32 years in Montebello, California says the decision to skip the 7-Eleven Experience was difficult, but necessary. “We are the face of this brand and we respect that role, but we’ve invested our lives in 7-Eleven, and it’s impossible to prosper if our relationship with SEI remains so controlling and unfair.”
“In order to keep in the spirit of celebrating franchisees, as SEI advertises in the brochures for the 7-Eleven Experience, they must recognize our concerns and work with the elected franchisee representatives to construct the framework for a future all franchisees can celebrate,” says Jorgensen. “Many franchisees, after seeing their January financial statements, don’t have much cause to celebrate.”