- 7-Eleven launched a lab store in Dallas on March 22.
- The store features plenty of new additions, like in-store baked cookies and a craft beer station.
- “7-Eleven stays at the forefront by pushing the boundaries and being unafraid to try new things,” Chris Tanco, 7-Eleven’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Tacos, craft beer, and patio seating?
Yeah, this isn’t your typical 7-Eleven.
The convenience-store chain opened its first-ever US lab store in Dallas on March 22. The store represents a stark departure from what many 7-Eleven patrons may have come to expect, featuring a taco stand and even a selection of wine.
“Convenience retailing is light years away from the days of bread and milk being sold from ice docks in 1927, and the industry is changing at a faster rate than ever before,” 7-Eleven executive vice president and chief operating officer Chris Tanco said in a statement.
Indeed, with the rise of Amazon Go’s cashierless, grab-and-go stores, the time is ripe for convenience chains to differentiate themselves from the pack. And the lab store’s investment in treats like frozen yogurt, fresh-baked goods, and local craft beers likely reflects an interest in transforming 7-Eleven into more of a destination.
“7-Eleven stays at the forefront by pushing the boundaries and being unafraid to try new things,” Tanco said in the statement.
Take a glimpse inside 7-Eleven’s store of the future:
This isn’t 7-Eleven’s first rodeo in the Dallas area. The chain’s lab store is just about two miles from the former icehouse that became the first 7-Eleven.
“A lot has changed in retail and continues to change rapidly, especially the shopping experience,” Tanco said. “This lab store is customer-focused and will explore new ideas that weren’t even on the retail radar a few months ago.”
7-Eleven stores carry a range of coffee beverages today, but the lab store has a few customisable tricks up its sleeve.
Selections include kombucha, nitro cold brew, organic tea, cold-pressed juices, and even aguas frescas.
For customers looking to grab something to go with their drinks, the store also bakes its cookies and croissants fresh daily.
And the 7-Eleven Slurpee isn’t the only special treat available to patrons of the lab store, which also boasts frozen yogurt …
… and an enclave run by the Laredo Taco Company.
7-Eleven acquired the Laredo Taco Company in 2018. The restaurant sells barbacoa, carnitas, breakfast tacos, and freshly prepared guacamole.
And it’s not just a take-out location. Patrons of this Laredo Taco Company restaurant can kick back in a patio area to eat their Tex-Mex meals.
This 7-Eleven also introduces a new section called “The Cellar,” which features craft beers and wines.
The lab store even has a station where visitors can try out local craft beers on tap or even fill up a growler to go.
And the lab store doesn’t just feature new food options; it also employs new scan-and-pay technology. In a move that reflects the influence of Amazon Go, shoppers at this 7-Eleven can purchase products on their smartphones and skip the lines altogether.
“This new lab store will serve as a place to test, learn and iterate new platforms and products to see what really resonates with customers and how we can use those learnings to influence future store designs,” Tanco said in a statement.
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