7-Eleven has doubled-down on customer-centric approaches by launching a store based on a new concept in Dallas, Texas. The “lab” store, as it is called, uses experiential testing to improve the customer experience. It offers made-to-order smoothies, agua frescas, street tacos on handmade tortillas, a growler refill station pouring local craft beers, baked-in-store cookies, croissants, and other amenities.
The lab store will also be the first 7-Eleven location to incorporate the Laredo Taco Company taqueria, and the first Laredo Taco Company location in Dallas. 7-Eleven acquired the taqueria along with Stripes convenience stores in South Texas as part of a 1,000-store acquisition from Sunoco in 2018. The Laredo Taco Company is famous in South Texas for its handmade tortillas and its salsa bar, which features daily prepared salsas, guacamole, and pico de gallo.
“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,” says Chris Tanco, 7-Eleven Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “7-Eleven stays at the forefront by pushing the boundaries and being unafraid to try new things. 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.”
Some of the innovative ideas customers will see at the new 7-Eleven lab store include:

  • Made-to-order coffee drinks, cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and agua frescas that give customers the option to customize their drinks in a full-service beverage format. Additionally, it carries novelty beverages on tap such as nitro cold brew, kombucha, and organic teas.
  • “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. At the growler station, customers can enjoy a draft of their favorite beverage with their meal onsite or fill a growler to take home.
  • A cold treats bar with frozen yogurt, ice cream, and multiple toppings complemented by daily baked-in-store cookies, croissants
  • Digital initiatives that enhance the shopping experience. Scan-and-pay technology that enables customers to skip the checkout line and pay for their (non-age-restricted) purchases on their smartphones.
  • Indoor and patio restaurant-style seating in the Laredo Taco Company portion of the store as well as bar-seating across the front windows in the retail space.
“A lot has changed in retail and continues to change rapidly, especially the shopping experience,” Tanco says. “This lab store is customer-focused and will explore new ideas that weren’t even on the retail radar a few months ago.”
We are excited by the changes that 7-Eleven is making.  They are driving change in the C-store market and providing a new and unique customer experience.

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